Resiliency and wellbeing in the workplace needs more than crisis intervention
Having worked with a number of businesses and Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP’s) I have seen how some professionals wait until they are at crisis point to access much needed mental health suppport. I remain curious as to why this is. On an individual level I’m aware that professionals may not want to disclose they are finding life difficult, there may be internalised unhelpful beliefs about asking for help, a reluctance to show vulnerability or wanting to maintain a professional façade. There may be a need to ‘prove’ their ability or their worth in the workplace.The demands of their role may mean that their wellbeing is low on the priority list, because they believe the needs of the business superceed their own wellness.
In my experience, it can be really valuable to explore with professionals their ‘relationship’ and beliefs around resiliency and self-care. Taking the time to examine how skewed or misplaced underlying beliefs about the value and importance of their wellbeing have shaped their current attitude can be illuminating. Through challenging these beliefs, progress can be made towards adopting a proactive, individualised approach to maintaining resiliency. But even those professionals who are proactive about managing their own wellbeing may be being failed by the organisation.
The organisational dynamics regarding prioritising wellbeing play a significant part in promoting a resilience-focused workplace. We are all too familiar with the financial costs of workplace stress. Embedding resilience and self-care into the workplace takes more than just a workshop or providing an EAP. I suggest a strategy of a top-down approach to establishing a resilience-based culture in the workplace. CEO’s, directors and senior management/leadership roles can model engaging in a proactive resilience based culture by having regular professional support/supervision for their own wellbeing needs and promote this approach to their team. I’m reminded of an occasion where a senior manager queried why a member of their team was regularly booking in with me for monthly professional support sessions, as if maintaining resilience and wellbeing was a bad thing! That managers attitude certainly set the tone for the resilience of staff in that organisation. The importance of maintaining wellness to ensure ongoing wellbeing and longevity in the role seemed an alien concept. Equally I am encouraged when senior leadership in organisations “give it a try”and engage in professional support sessions, see the benefit, both professionally and personally, and promote this throughout the workforce.
Those in leadership roles set the tone for the organisation.
It is my opinion that unless resilience and wellbeing is woven into the fabric of the workplace by those in leaderships roles, the organisation can not expect staff to priortise their wellbeing. Adopting a top down, resilience-modelling, proactive policy of addressing wellbeing rather than reactive (wait until you are unwell) approach, demonstrates a commitment to the resiliency and welbeing culture of the organisation.
So, how well is the resilience and wellbeing culture in your workplace, really?