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Why we should focus on minimising employee illbeing to aid workplace wellbeing

In this post we begin by looking at some research which concludes that efforts to improve wellbeing at work are directed too narrowly. We go on to highlight some courses that can help employers looking to minimise employee illbeing in the workplace. They present opportunities to explore strategies that can enhance a culture of psychological safety and trust.

Employee illbeing attributable to the workplace versus personal wellbeing

Wellbeing initiatives offered by employers to their workforce can take many forms. Offering wellbeing perks, such as free fruit or subsidised yoga classes, are one well-used approach. However, recent research from the London School of Economics (LSE) has found that such initiatives waste employers’ time and money as they fail to take account of the varied and individual ways employees nurture their wellbeing. According to the lead author Dr Jasmine Virhia, “If employers want happy and healthy employees, they need to focus on minimising illbeing”.

The findings from the LSE study have led the researchers to propose that rather than intervening with employee wellbeing initiatives, employers should instead focus more on improving psychological safety and minimising illbeing by evaluating its underlying causes in their work environment. For example, employee illbeing due to burnout, overwork, bullying and stress. They also highlight the importance of granting autonomy and trust to employees. Subject to satisfying organisational undertakings, permitting employees’ independence to create a work structure of how and when they perform their duties, facilitates them to be productive whilst also being able to enhance their personal wellbeing.

The researchers note that previous studies looking into the importance of psychological safety in the workplace have not considered its impact on productivity. In their opinion this is an omission as the evidence from their study indicates there could be large perceived improvements to productivity by boosting psychological safety. You can view their working paper “The Beyond Workplace Wellbeing Framework: A New Framework for the Organisation of Work to Cultivate Wellbeing and Productivity in the Workplace” here.

Training courses that can help build psychological safety and trust

As established specialist providers of training which aims to help improve workplace wellbeing, we are constantly working with employers who seek to minimise employee illbeing and encourage psychological safety and trust. Our services also include consultancy and coaching. Below, we highlight 5 courses which have been of particular interest recently.

Psychological Safety in the Workplace
Aimed at managers and leaders, this course helps understand psychological safety and why it is so important to performance in the working environment. The factors at play in teams with high levels, and low psychological safety are considered. Participants will gain strategies to foster psychological safety for all work environments, including those with remote and hybrid working practice.

Developing a Growth Mindset in the Workplace
Suitable for all, this course can be particularly helpful to those in organisations facing or planning a period of change. It helps participants be more curious about how they can carry out their roles and achieve objectives, be more honest about feelings of vulnerability, and be confident in stepping outside their comfort zone and try new approaches.
A leadership and management version of the course is offered to additionally help those in leading roles feel confident introducing practice that helps build a growth mindset culture in their teams and organisation.

Managing Burnout
Helps to gain an understanding of what burnout is, its causes and effects. Recognise habits that increase the risk of burnout and how to counter these with healthy habits. Increasing motivation to become more self-compassionate, the course also helps participants use techniques to regain a sense of meaning, engagement and positivity. Practical steps are provided that help build energy, performance and a sense of being reconnected with the world around us.

Speaking Up in the Workplace
Provides an opportunity to explore the barriers that prevent people from speaking up and introduces practical strategies to encourage active participation in meetings and discussions. With regular practice, and support of others, these strategies will help speaking up without feeling too self-conscious or overwhelmed. A useful course for employers seeking to enhance participation in various settings, as well as those interested in promoting diversity, inclusion and process improvements in their workplace.

Inclusive Leadership
For those who have a role in influencing workplace culture, managing teams, or interacting with diverse individuals. This training equips leaders and managers with the skills, knowledge, and awareness to harness the strengths of a diverse workforce and foster a sense of belonging for all team members, regardless of their background, identity, or experiences.

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