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The value of line management in workforce well-being

Explore the crucial role of line managers in improving staff retention and boosting employee well-being.

People management is integral to an organization’s success. However, some organizations may still be awarding promotions for technical or business skills rather than interpersonal skills.

A new managerial model with dedicated people managers focusing on creating an environment of humane treatment where teams can perform at an optimal level will bring significant benefits to society.
 
This does not mean that line managers need to be therapists, but simply that having high levels of emotional intelligence and empathy can be an asset. Because what a leader says and does can have a significant impact on their colleagues’ mental well-being.

Aim for the ideal work-life balance

As a decision-maker, putting your people first sets a powerful example.

It's not just about stating the importance of work-life balance; it's about leading by action. Avoid overwhelming workloads, long hours, and working during weekends and holidays to truly embody the values you advocate for.

To achieve the best outcomes, focus on building a collaborative, communicative and emotionally intelligent leadership team that promotes a diverse, inclusive and ethical workplace based on respect and fairness.

What’s more, you have the chance to offer lifelong learning and enhance employability. By fairly acknowledging and rewarding hard work, while preventing physical and mental harm, you ultimately create a steadfast and supportive environment.

Valuable advice for line managers

Neuroscientist Paul J. Zak, professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University and public speaker on the neuroscience of human connection and effective teamwork, recommends that managers recognize excellence promptly and publicly to inspire others and provide achievable stretch goals to intensify people’s focus.

He also states that empowering people through autonomy drives trust and unlocks innovation because it allows for problem-solving and creative thinking.

Regular and transparent communication on goals, strategies, direction, and financial performance can help remove uncertainties that create unhealthy stress.

Finally, a manager does not always need to project strength and authority. A manager who shows vulnerability has the opportunity to tap into the natural human impulse of cooperation and assistance.

Consider implementing well-being initiatives

Workplace well-being programmes vary from organization to organization, but common measures include:

• Initiatives to promote healthy eating and exercise
• Mental resilience training
• Training mental health first-aiders
• Forming diversity and inclusion committees
• Providing employee assistance programmes that offer lifestyle guidance on subjects such as sleep, debt, and relationships
• Volunteering and other community engagement activities
• Creating learning hubs and coaching programmes

The benefits of a long-term workplace well-being programme

Implementing well-being initiatives in your workforce brings a range of positive outcomes. By prioritizing your employees' well-being, you create a happier and more productive workplace.

These initiatives boost morale, motivation, and job satisfaction. When employees feel valued and supported, they engage more and stick around longer.
 
Plus, healthier employees mean better performance and fewer sick days, leading to improved productivity.

Well-being activities also foster a sense of community and teamwork among your staff. Together, these benefits enhance your workplace culture and contribute to overall success.

The shortcomings of short-term well-being initiatives

While workplace well-being programs focused on physical health can offer benefits such as weight loss and reduced absenteeism, they might overlook important aspects of employee well-being. Short-term solutions like mindfulness apps or mental health first aiders could provide temporary relief but might not fully address work-related mental health challenges like anxiety, stress, and burnout.

These initiatives often stem from the misconception that these issues are solely individual concerns. However, the collective nature of such challenges, including psychosocial hazards like job insecurity, excessive workloads, and poor career development, contribute to mental health struggles.

To make a more lasting impact, a preventive approach is vital. Integrating work-related mental health considerations into corporate risk management showcases a commitment to holistic employee well-being and the creation of a supportive work culture.

Promoting mental health in your organization

You don’t need to be (or employ) a professor in psychology to manage psychological health and safety within your organization – a starting point can simply be upskilling your workforce.

We’ve developed the Prioritising People Model©, a best practice framework on workplace well-being, to ensure organizations fully understand what is required to meet the needs and expectations of workers.

The model lays out how a decent, safe, healthy, and compliant workplace and an engaged, committed, and productive workforce create a culture of trust that unlocks innovation and organizational adaptability.