As published in the Compliance Institute's quarterly magazine ICQ - Spring 2023
Author: Angela Gavigan
Today, organisations and their people face a multitude of pressures - relentless workloads and overworking, overwhelm, understaffing, poor work life balance, lack of support, the continuous drive towards growth at all costs, diminished motivation, and high staff turnover. Burnout does not happen overnight. With the onset of the global pandemic, there have been far-reaching implications for many organisations and their staff, which have truly tested resilience and wellbeing over a prolonged period. Whether you are in IT, financial services, pharma, telecoms, medical devices, food production, agriculture or the music industry, the pandemic has left its mark on the ability of organisations to maintain ‘ops normal’ and to continue to ensure safe, secure, efficient and profitable operations. There are lasting challenges for all industries - morale, motivation, engagement, absenteeism and the ability of organisations to attract and to retain staff in the era of the ‘Great Resignation’, ‘Quiet Quitting’ and ‘Hybrid Working’. Workers the world over are rethinking the ways in which they are prepared to engage with the world of work. The old ways are not the best and regardless of the industry in which you work, resilience and well-being have a significant and enduring impact on organisational effectiveness, productivity, people and ultimately profit.
Resilience is our ability to meet challenge and adversity in a proactive way - to move on from adversity, not bouncing back, but bouncing forward. It is essentially that buffer zone between our challenges and their impact on our physical and psychological wellbeing. Investment in health and wellbeing, as well as providing a very attractive return on investment (ROI), has a range of far-reaching tangible benefits for organisations and their people, that go well beyond wellbeing. Within Wraw (Workplace Resilience and Wellbeing) measurement is a key component, and this is achieved through psychometric assessment. The output from this is a confidential individual report, complemented by one-to-one debrief/coaching and/or training to optimise employee’s resilience and well-being. Wraw is a multi-dimensional measure of resilience, designed to support individual, leader, team and organisational development – through a range of reports which provide evidence-based information. These enable the organisation and leadership to make data-led and meaningful decisions on workplace wellbeing. The Wraw Index is a statistically robust, valid and reliable measure of personal resilience. An investment in employee wellbeing is an investment in business performance and a well-executed wellbeing strategy can impact all of the following areas:
• Talent attraction
• Performance and productivity
• Talent retention
• Effective management
• Business growth
Managers play a fundamental role in shaping the culture of the organisation and determining team performance. Yet management style continues to be one of the most common causes of stress at work, and only 38% of HR professionals agree that managers are confident to have sensitive discussions with their team1. An integrated wellbeing strategy enables managers to build team resilience, role model healthy performance and build psychological safety. Organisations who are considering implementing a workplace wellbeing programme might begin by asking some questions of the organisation first:
Where do you start to create a culture of wellbeing in your organisation?
· Does the organisation understand its impact on staff who are under strain, or, in crisis?
· Have you considered how culture impacts mental health across the organisation? How this impacts absenteeism etc.?
· What is working well and what needs improvement?
· What data do you currently have about the wellbeing of your employees?
· Do you know what poor mental health is costing the organisation?
· Do you know how to take a proactive approach, before your people are in strain, or, worse still, in crisis?
As with all things that rely on evidence, accurate measurement enables the organisation to bridge the gap between where they presently are and where they need or want to be. The same is true for individuals. Measurement gives the clarity that is needed to address the right things - you can climb the ladder and pour yourself into addressing the issues as you see them, but if your ladder is against the wrong wall then it's all for nought.
The Wraw process is two-fold:
1. Educate and empower individuals and teams to take ownership of their own resilience and wellbeing.
2. Educate and enable managers and leaders to build a safe and supportive working environment.
If we are to have strong organisations, then it's important that organisations take steps to empower their people to be resilient and to be well. This has significant benefits for the individual, not just in their personal life, but for their work, their team and the organisation.
Some of the building blocks for creating resilience in your workplace are ensuring that both managers and personnel:
• Have a shared understanding of what resilience means,
• Understand what it means for them personally (obtainable from their individual report),
• Take accountability for their own resilience,
• Understand that we are all vulnerable at some point,
• Feel supported, and
• See their managers and leaders actively model resilient thoughts and actions.
It’s particularly important that managers are trained and have confidence in having courageous conversations and supporting another’s mental health - that they are enabled to build authentic relationships and organisational trust. The Wellbeing Project Report 2023 states that 22% of an individual’s wellbeing can be accounted for by their manager. Organisations who don't put adequate measures in place may run the risk of compounding the existing mental health challenges of employees, by making them carry the additional burden of supporting each other's mental health.
Why would you invest in workplace well-being? ‘Mental health and employers: refreshing the case for investment’, builds on previous Deloitte research published in 20172 to help us understand more about mental health and wellbeing in today’s labour market. The report also makes a compelling case for employers investing in mental health, with an average return of £5 for every £1 spent.
Apart from the financial advantages, the right wellbeing programme will:
• Raise awareness of what mental health is and is not, across the organisation - it becomes something that people are not afraid to talk about.
• Provide a measure of resilience and wellbeing so that the real issues can be addressed.
• Empower people to understand and manage well, their own wellbeing, be engaged, contribute and flourish.
• Educate leaders to have the courageous conversations that are required to support another’s mental health.
• Change the way the organisation communicates, building trust.
• Demonstrate to staff their value to the organisation, and
• Put mental health on the workplace agenda and keep it there.
About the author:
Angela Gavigan is a Workplace Resilience and Wellbeing Master Practitioner. A trained coach, she holds a BA in Training and Education from the University of Galway and a Postgraduate Certificate in Creativity and Cultural Entrepreneurship from Trinity College Dublin. With over 23 years’ experience in the aviation sector, Angela has held several different roles, from working on the frontline to aviation security training and development, management and most recently, in regulatory compliance as an Aviation Security Inspector with the Irish Aviation Authority and as an Aviation Security Cargo Auditor with the European Commission. She lectures in Aviation Security at Southeast Technical University (SETU) and is Chair of Roscommon Volunteer Centre.
1 The Wellbeing Project - https://wellbeing-project.org/
2 Mental health and employers: refreshing the case for investment - https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consulting/articles/mental-health-and-employers-refreshing-the...