At APeopleBusiness we know from experience that our work with organisations generates positive transformation for them and their people. High performing organisations do not hide or run away from issues, they confront them and learn how to improve. Positive reputation comes from being innovative and caring.
We recently took the opportunity to ask people for their off-the-record feedback. What we learnt was that they had genuine concerns, and sometimes felt uncomfortable within the structure of their organisation articulating them.
The same themes kept coming up again and again, so we decided to address them. So here are our 10 unspoken reasons why organisations don’t prioritise employee wellness:
1. Is wellbeing critical enough to be at or near the top of the agenda in the boardroom ?
The immediate priorities an organisation faces shouldn’t be used as an excuse to ignore or downplay employee wellness issues.
Successful companies embrace the challenges that face their employees. They create a culture that addresses the issues facing their staff to nurture and realise the full potential of their people.
At the end of the day it’s the people within an organisation who make it successful. Competent board level members know that they don’t just have a duty to help their employee’s wellbeing. They know that wellbeing is a critical component in driving long-term business success.
2. Does leadership view it as an HR problem, who in turn want to spend money helping people?
Top level board members are captains of their own ship; they have a clear overview of the bigger picture and know where to steer the ship to achieve the goals of continuous growth, gaining market share and satisfying shareholders.
Larger organisations rely on good, fit for purpose, organisational structure and specialists to operate effectively and efficiently, with the task of ensuring employee welfare often falling within the remit of HR.
Unfortunately this can lead to compartmentalisation and different factions competing for limited resources and poses a dilemma for boardroom members.
The question, “Should we spend the budget on buying new equipment for the plant, or do we give money to HR to expand their reach?” is one that should never be asked. It is always an unwise decision for boardroom leaders to create such a binary view of their operations.
3. Organisations are worried about creating too much work for themselves by digging too deeply and uncovering extra issues that they’ll have to deal with.
It would be nice for board members to just pretend wellbeing issues don’t exist within their organisation and ignore them. This tactic might work for a while, but these issues will only grow the longer they are ignored. It’s far better to find out what difficulties exist before they become major problems.
It’s a bit like going to the dentist; no one likes going to the dentist. But everyone recognises the fact that it’s better to have a check-up at the first signs of discomfort and get a minor filling than leave it and risk having a root canal or losing a tooth when its too far gone to save. What if all your divisions – all your people – were operating as effectively as your most successful division? Would you not want to know what obstacles stop your whole organisation from being as productive?”
The APeopleBusiness proprietary heat map technology identifies hotspots that need to be dealt with as a priority before they become a real issue. Once these are addressed we will then help develop long-term plans that resolves all the issues we identify, at a pace that everyone in an organisation is happy with.
4. Organisations are worried about creating unnecessary risk i.e. ‘If I establish that we have issues will they be used against us if we don’t attend to them all?’
Ignoring an issue doesn’t make it go away; these issues will still exist regardless. It’s far better to be proactive and identify potential problems before they arise and cause irreparable damage to lives and company reputations.
The long-term actions that are put into place when working with APB allows companies to mitigate risk. This will save money in the future by potentially avoiding expensive legal proceedings and costs associated with loss of reputation. Finally it is important to note that pre-emptive action can avoid personal liability for the executives in charge.
5. Organisations are worried that the people at the top might be identified as the problem, thereby putting their own career at risk.
People at the top of organisations are in charge because they have a proven track record; they know how to deal with issues and get results. However, like the rest of us, they are only human and it’s not realistic to expect them to be perfect at everything.
So effective leaders take responsibility for their actions rather than worrying about losing their job. If areas are identified as needing improvement, they will take on these suggestions. Successful companies always help their people achieve their maximum potential by offering pathways to improve employee effectiveness, through ongoing training, counselling or one-to-one mentoring.
6. It could show that we have a problem which might cause reputational damage.
Surely demonstrating or even leading the way will enhance your reputation in today’s world? High performing organisations do not hide or run away from issues, they confront them and learn how to improve. Positive reputation comes from being innovative and caring.
In today’s business environment, investors are looking for organisations that take Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues and opportunities seriously and, those that do, carry an investment premium – we are part of the Social in that equation.
7. We are in a consortium and can’t be shown to be weak.
The reports APB creates, the recommendations we generate and the results we forge with companies are strictly confidential. No one else ever needs to know that you are working with APeopleBusiness.
But this question is actually part of a larger issue; internal audits and employee wellbeing programmes are a necessary part of the process of becoming a stronger, better organisation. There is nothing to be ashamed of, or hide, by admitting there are issues that need to be addressed, and that you are actively doing so. Indeed it is should be seen as a positive step, to be credited and admired.
8. We think that we know the issues and half of them are of the staff’s own doing, so let’s give them an app to self-fix … end of problem.
If only it was as simple as this – applying a quick fix technological band aid!
Apps have a role to play, and in certain circumstances are very effective. But they should only be used once the underlying root causes are identified, and a plan put into place to remedy these issues. Often work place stressors are the failings of leadership, and giving an app to employees will do nothing to fix this.
9. Don’t they know how hard it is to get to the top? They should expect it to be stressful and be able to cope!
This is something we hear a lot. But it’s based on a false assumption that you need to have stress to harden yourself. Research repeatedly shows that stress is negative to business efficiency and harms both employees and their relationship with their employers.
There is a fundamental difference between Stress and Pressure. Stress is putting a person in a situation where they feel they are unable to cope, whereas pressure is putting an employee in a challenging situation with the tools and prerequisite training to allow them to overcome the challenges they face as part of their job description.
One leads to a sense of achievement and awareness that they can overcome obstacles, the other to a sense of hopelessness and inadequacy.
10. You can’t measure the benefits of wellbeing.
This is not what APB clients say after they’ve worked with us! Our proprietary StressFactor technology was developed specifically to identify workplace problems and show the benefits of implementing our wellbeing analysis.
We have consistently shown time & time again the tangible benefits enjoyed by organisations who improve employee wellbeing. It’s a quantifiable measure that ensures you will see ROI through marked and measurable increases in productivity.
We have talked about some of the underlying issues that often arise during our initial discussions with potential clients. However, you are probably reading this because you understand there are issues that need to be addressed within your organisation.
APB is here to help; our expertise and technology is a result of our genuine aim to help as many people as possible and improve the quality of lives for people working within large companies, from the top echelons to the shop floor. Any discussions you have with us are in the strictest confidence and we will answer any questions you have discreetly. It’s only by building a mutual understanding and rapport through dialogue that progress can be made.