Welcome to Wellness: Out with the Old School
It’s 2018 and extended health benefits are no longer a routine teeth cleaning and some pharmaceutical coverage. With the way we work changing fast and the future of work, well, on it’s way the relationship between employee and employer is in upheaval. Employees want total rewards packages that satisfy more than just their basic needs otherwise frankly, they may as well start their own business.
Extended medical and paramedical such as massage therapy, naturopath, counselling, and chiropractor benefits are now considered the bare minimum and with that comes down to how much coverage is offered. They want to know that their employer is looking out for their well being. What does that mean for you though as their employer?
It means that you need to provide your employees with culturally enriching activities that not only drive their level of inclusion and foster a sense of community. An employee that feels like they are part of the collective whole have increased job satisfaction and tend to stay with a company longer, which is key when times are leaner or not as favourable. 60% of those surveyed said that “benefits, overall” were very important in terms of job satisfaction coming in third behind compensation and respect. Those with higher job satisfaction said that they were very unlikely (29%) or unlikely (32%) to search for a new job within the next three months. (Source: Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement)
Work / Life Balance
As one of the current largest working demographics, Millennials, grow up work/life balance becomes more and more important. The general perception of Millennials is that we don’t work hard or hustle, however, that general perception is wrong. I am a hardworking, hustling Millennial and there are many of us. We worked hard and hustled to get to where we are and through that, the hours of 9 to 5 blurred and work life spilled into our personal lives. Technology allows us to be reachable all of the time and the expectation to be available all of the time is now the norm.
We NEED to reverse this to avoid burnout.
It’s commonplace to see in job ads or to hear in interviews that the company the job seeker is considering working for values work-life balance but it takes more than that as companies need to actively practice what they preach.
How should your company avoid falling into this pit?
1. Have a hard stop on times emails are sent and/or read.
Having a time of day that emails aren’t sent or at the very least aren’t expected to be read or answered is an easy place to start. For example 6:00 pm is a good time to put a hard stop on this expectation and those items sent after this time are for tomorrow. Pick a time that works best for you and your team.
While I tend to do my best creative thinking at night and reply to emails that require my attention I continuously remind and stress to my team that I do NOT expect them to read my responses or check my Slack messages until the next morning. I genuinely love the fact that my team values their downtime so they don’t get burnt out themselves and respond to me in the morning when they’re working.
The world is not going to end or catch on fire if you don’t respond to that one last email. If it is that urgent, empower your team to know when to phone you.
2. Stop the guilt trip.
If an employee needs to take time off because they are sick, have an emergency to attend to, or have PTO they’re FULLY entitled to have that time off without feeling guilty.
So many companies that I have encountered have had the expectation that as an employee you must be readily available while on vacation or made to feel guilty for being genuinely sick. That all does seem to be rather counterintuitive.
Giving your employees the time to heal, rest and come back to work as their full selves will diminish the number of errors in the work they produce and in any animosity they could feel about the situation.
3. Taking time back.
If any of your employees need to come in early for a meeting or stay late ensure that they take that time back. Having someone who is overworked leads to a myriad of negative issues. If you have a team stand up meeting that occurs outside of their “normal” working hours offer to let them come in an hour later or take off an hour later.
A fun spin on this in the Summer is the idea of Summer Fridays. On a rotating basis, if coverage is necessary to monitor Live Chats or the phones, for example, let your employees take off a few hours early on a few Fridays over the course of the Summer.
Better yet, leave it up to your team to figure it out on their own. It gives them a sense of ownership and allows them to see what days work best for all of them. They are able to plan ahead for these “special” Fridays when they get to duck out early, which in turn, promotes a sense of leadership and ensures that you have the correct coverage in place.
4. Be mindful of which projects you’re putting your highest performers on.
High performers are stereotyped as being an overachiever that says “yes” to more work even when they are at full capacity. Managers of these top performing individuals routinely place them on the hardest assignments because “of course you would want your best performers working on the hardest projects”. However, if as a manager, you keep giving the same small group of people the hardest projects to work on you run the risk of wearing them out.
To counteract this managers can let their high performers pick out their own projects on occasion, keep track of where their extra time is spent by outside demands, and/or pair up your highest performers to keep each other motivated and help to distribute the workload. (Source: How are you protecting your high performers from burn out)