When people feel good, they do their jobs well. This can be seen in your company’s result. By improving the way that work is carried out, you can boost your company’s productivity. That is why you should take care of your employees’ well-being – literally.
Well-being at work means active measures. Regular measures that conform with your strategy. They make the work hour efficient. And make well-being at work your competitive advantage. Step onto the path and pick up some tools – and begin your journey towards a better working life.
What kind of leadership practices does your company have? And what about your other personnel practices? Shared practices create uniform quality. And nobody needs to waste time reinventing the wheel on a daily basis. When employees are able to create the practices themselves they will also gladly abide by them.
Moving forward through shared practices
Three things can help you recognise a good practice and process. Firstly, it needs to look like your company, not an individual person. Secondly, it needs to support your company’s strategy and your targeted operating culture. And thirdly, it needs to be created together with people, not at a management group meeting.
When you create practices together with people, they become understandable. And inspiring! This is because when you give people a chance to participate, you are showing that you value their opinions. Respect leads to enthusiasm and enthusiasm leads to a need to do one’s best. This, in turn, can be seen in your company’s result.
Update your company’s practices or create an entirely new set alongside them! Each practice will help your people and company prosper. This will give your company an even bigger boost along its path to success.
Path towards a better future
Step onto the path towards well-being at work. The easiest way is to take gradual steps. Here’s how to do it – and take your personnel with you on each step of the journey.
1. Find out what things at your workplace make work more difficult. Are the obstacles mental or physical? Are they caused by people, the work or the workplace itself?
2. Put together a model of the practices. Call it a model, rules, a plan or ways of working, the main thing is for everyone to understand what it’s about. First build a leadership model, for instance. And then work community communications or a well-being at work model.
3. Implement the model! Get everyone who is needed to implement the model excited about it.
4. Keep your personnel up to date on your achievements. Celebrate even the smallest advancements. Each one is a step towards improved well-being at work and work capacity.
The union of body and mind. When it works, we work. And when we help others work, we help the entire workplace thrive. Everyday choices make a difference in how you, your colleagues, supervisors and employees feel.
Get to know yourself and your colleagues
How good you feel depends above all on you. Which is why you should consider a few things.
First of all your values. You have them, whether you were aware of them or not. And they guide everything you do. Also think about what you want to achieve with your life. And how well that is in tune with your service task and that of your workplace. Meaning what you do at work and why your workplace exists.
When your values and work tasks are in tune with your workplace’s values and service task, the majority of your work will feel good. It’s simple. And true.
Also think about what inspires you and what doesn’t. Things or people? A fast or slow pace? Let your supervisor know. When the majority of your tasks inspire you, work feels light.
A third thing worth thinking about is how you interact with others. People want to belong. You show that you are part of a team when you show respect for diversity. You can demonstrate this by behaving differently with different people. And by helping them succeed. This is why you should give them feedback. Five times more positive feedback than negative. And when you need help, ask for it. This helps create trust between you and others.
A fourth factor affecting your well-being is what you do in your spare time. How you eat and sleep. What your hobbies are and how much you spend time with your family and friends. Also think about how you feel about your daily life. Do you see yourself as part of a great adventure or a horrible nightmare? The more positive your attitude, the more you will get out of life. And the better you will feel.
Get to know your employees
As a supervisor you should talk to your employees regularly. This helps you to get to know them as both employees and people.
You will hear what motivates them, how they are on their way to achieving their goals and what challenges they are looking for. And what they do in their spare time. This will also help you to understand why they are sometimes more awake or more tired than usual and what inspires them.
If your desks are near one another, go visit your employee while they are working. Ask questions and make observations about their work implements, work space, working position and breaks.
The better you know your employees, the easier it is to bring up difficult issues. Because they do crop up. And they all affect the employee’s work capacity.
Support work capacity through workplace practices
As the person in charge of personnel matters, make sure that your company’s practices support your personnel’s work capacity. This will simultaneously allow you to make work capacity a competitive advantage for your company – employees seek out workplaces that take care of their employees’ well-being.
Consider these at least:
1. Flexible working hours and the possibility to work remotely. For some they provide invaluable help in their daily lives, while for others they provide inspiration.
2. Occupational health care. An agreement that suits your company supports both your company and its employees.
3. Workplace catering and catering for meetings. When all of the options are healthy, the choice is always right. And when you can choose when to eat, lunch is always at the right time.
4. Balancing work and leisure. Strengthen community spirit through internal social media, pleasant break rooms, personnel clubs and other shared activities. Also support sports and cultural hobbies.
You decide how you lead the troops. How you inspire your employees. How you help them to succeed. When to guide them, when to give them a free hand. How you show appreciation for their diversity. And how you can enhance your development as a supervisor.
Leadership is communication
You know you have succeeded when your employee is successful. They will succeed when you lead the way. Coach and support. Help resolve conflicts and turn them into seeds for improvement.
In order for both of you to succeed, focus on three things.
1. Set specific and motivating goals for your employee. This makes it easier for both of you to monitor their achievement.
2. Give your employee feedback. Continuously. Five times more for successes than for failures. And ask them for feedback so that you know how you have performed as a supervisor.
3. Talk to your employee otherwise as well. And often. This will allow you to hear what they need from you, what they have done and what they intend to do. You know a discussion is going well when your employee talks more than you do.
Also talk to your employee often when he or she works on a different floor or in a different city than you. Use remote leadership, i.e. virtual leadership tools. Mobile phones, internal social media or some other electronic communication channel. The main thing is for you to find a way to also lead those people that you do not see.
In addition, familiarise yourself with your workplace’s work community communication practices. This furnishes you with a ready-to-use palette of options from which to select the best communication method instead of you having to come up with your own.
Yes, leadership is communication. And it takes time. As it should. You are at the workplace for your employees. When you obtain good leadership skills, you will use your time wisely. Leadership is a skill that everyone can learn.
Help your employees remain capable of work. Monitor how they are doing and help them in time. The best way to secure work capacity is to manage it. Build a model, set goals and monitor the results.
Build a work capacity management model
If an employee’s motivation seems to be fading and their work days are growing longer, they are in danger of losing their work capacity. These and other silent signals indicate work capacity risk. This risk concerns not only the employee but the entire company, because if your employee is not feeling well, the entire company will begin to suffer.
Build a work capacity management model to support your employees and company.
The model is based on you knowing your company’s employees. This enables you to predict the threat of disability and react in time.
Partner up with occupational health care services. Define common goals and indicators.
Keep track of the number of absences due to illness and the reasons for them, and the early intervention discussions held by supervisors. Also keep track of work capacity negotiations, i.e. discussions between the employee, occupational health care and the employer’s representatives on coping at work.
As the person in charge of personnel matters, it is up to you to create the model. You need supervisors to carry it out.
Supervisors in a key role
In order for work capacity management to become part of your company’s day-to-day activities, approach your supervisors. Encourage the supervisors to
1. monitor silent signals. Such as whether an employee is losing their motivation, has begun to distance themselves from their colleagues or whether they are having trouble focussing on their work.
2. keep track of the number of absences and the reasons for them. If an employee is often ill or frequently sustains injuries, it is not only sensible to discover why, but also the human thing to do. Whether work is the reason or not.
3. bring things up in time. The earlier the supervisor intervenes in a matter the more methods the employee will have to maintain their work capacity.
4. write down the conclusions of discussions. This will give both the employee and the supervisor a shared view of what they have agreed on, what their goal is and how to achieve it. This makes it easier for them to monitor the results.
5. figure out whether a job can be altered. Could an employee begin carrying out their old job in a new way? Or a new job entirely? Temporarily or permanently.
6. use the forms of support available for returning to work. The employee can receive partial sickness allowance from Kela. Or they can apply for one of five vocational rehabilitation options. And receive financial support for them from Ilmarinen.
The best experts can be found in the best workplaces. Which is why you should create the best workplace. One in which each person knows why your company exists and where it is going. And in which everyone helps themselves and each other to succeed.
A need to learn, a need for autonomy and a need to connect with other people. These are the three basic needs of people. Ensure that your company offers the conditions required to meet these needs. This makes it easy for people to be enthusiastic about their work, to commit to it and achieve their goals.
Continue managing expertise by taking care of your experts. Because they want to continue being experts, also in the future. Let your experts blossom! Support the development goals of your experts and align them with your company’s targets. Show them the worth of their work by ensuring that they are given feedback on it.
When you support expertise you are supporting the need to learn. You are not only managing knowledge and skills, but also values and attitudes. Launch your expertise management by using the 10-20-70 rule of learning. According to it, 10 per cent of learning takes place through training and 20 per cent through receiving feedback. The majority of learning, 70 per cent, takes places through the work itself.
Only those who can lead themselves can be led
Help your experts to lead themselves. To recognise their needs and find support in order to fulfil them. To be aware of their strengths and to deepen them. To be conscious of their weaknesses and to choose from among them the ones they need to develop in order to be a good employee, colleague, subordinate or supervisor.
People who lead themselves understand that they are responsible for their own behaviour. That is why they understand that they cannot dump the responsibility for their expertise and well-being onto others – it is their responsibility. They also understand that they are entitled to and responsible for helping others in addition to themselves: their colleagues, subordinates and supervisors. In order for them, too, to succeed in their work.
When each person leads themselves and acts openly and respectfully and encourages others, the work will go smoothly. And your company will move closer to its goals.
People want to participate in making decisions that concern themselves. That is why it is important for you to support the second basic human need: the need for autonomy.
When you do this you are involving your employees in agreeing on leadership practices and other personnel practices at your workplace, instead of supervisors making the decisions among themselves and just letting the employees know the outcome. When people share their points of view, information is refined. And your company receives a comprehensive information package.
When employees are given the opportunity to participate, you are simultaneously supporting their third basic need – to connect with other people. Where they work together, share ideas and see that they are part of the work community.
Use your expertise
In order to satisfy the three basic human needs, you need expertise. Help your people. Make sure that each and every person has good work community and interactive skills. And that everyone understands that information is refined through dialogue, not monologue.
Then, you will have created a foundation for your company to become the best workplace in its field. It is worthwhile because the best experts seek out the best workplaces. Thus guaranteeing that your company will continue to stay ahead of the competition.
If your work capacity weakens and you find it difficult to continue working, rehabilitation is the answer. It helps employees and self-employed persons alike to return to work. Most rehabilitees do so. In2015, up to 78 per cent achieved it. Most people return to work motivated and full of enthusiasm.