Julie Brewster, HR Consultant and Mental Health First Aider, shares seven recommendations to help you protect the wellbeing of your team, especially for clients and friends of Clear Vision Accountancy.
I recently came across this infographic by @BlessingManifesting and thought it too good not to share with you:
It struck me as a powerful reminder that everyone has their own story going on that isn’t always immediately apparent.
It isn’t always easy to talk about our mental health. The pandemic brought a huge increase in media attention and mental health advocates, but I think it’s fair to say that this is still a work in progress for most people.
This can make leading a team more challenging for a business owner.
Here are seven recommendations which stem from my own training, experiences and working with my clients. I hope they will be helpful to you in protecting the mental and physical wellbeing of your team.
1 Set the right foundations
Implementing the appropriate wellbeing-related policies, helps create an environment in which employees feel safe and able to express any difficulties they are experiencing.
Policies such as a general Wellbeing Policy, Maternity and Family Friendly Policy, Flexible Working Policy and Menopause Policy illustrate your commitment to the wellbeing of your team.
Make sure these policies:
- Are readily accessible
- Encourage employees to come forward with any issues they may have
- Stress duties of confidentiality should they do so.
2 Recognise that life doesn’t stand still
Life changes and along the way, people get married (and sometimes divorced), have families, take on mortgages, grow older, and so on.
It’s important to note when your team members experience such changes and consider how their wellbeing may be affected as a result.
3 Maintain an open-door policy
Employee appraisals are a very useful tool to maintain two-way feedback with your team members.
However, I recommend you also use other, less formal ‘check ins’ with your team members to ensure wellbeing becomes a normal, ongoing part of conversation.
This helps your team members recognise that they can approach you and that your door is open for discussions on wellbeing issues.
4 Be flexible and enable the appropriate adjustments
Accept that, as a result of wellbeing issues and life changes, adjustments may need to be made to a person’s role, working environment or working day at times.
I witness many business owners benefiting from maintaining a flexible approach in these areas, including having a higher team retention rate.
5 Ask the right questions
You should respect the privacy of your team members, of course. If they don’t want to discuss their issues, don’t try to make them.
This is where asking open questions can be useful. When you ask them how they are in general terms, they can decide whether or not to discuss any challenges they are experiencing.
6 Support your team to set boundaries
This is something I talk about regularly.
In today’s highly connected world, encourage your employees to set boundaries that work for them.
For some team members that may be not checking work emails at weekends, for others it may be only checking on a Sunday. Agree the boundaries that are right for their role and their life. If someone is on call for an alarm, then turning their phone off won’t be an option.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ but make sure you have the conversation.
7 Get the right training (or work with someone with the right training!)
As you read the above points, it’s quite possible that you find the prospect of being the ‘Wellbeing Lead’ in your business overwhelming.
After all, business owners aren’t typically trained and prepared for this role. It’s doesn’t tend to be uppermost in your considerations around becoming a business owner. This is why it’s important to get the right training or work with someone who has already had it.
Many organisations now offer Mental Health First Aid training. Just take a look online if you are considering going down this route. I found this training hugely engaging and enlightening. Chances are you will, too.
If I can help with any of this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: Julie@hrsupport4u.com
Julie Brewster Chartered MCIPD
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