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Three ways to thrive at work

The 3 phases employees go through during a work life cycle ( Stevenson / Farmer ). 

A  recent independent review into how employers can better support the mental health of people in employment has raised some important topics for attention, discussion and action.

The review  ( Stevenson / Farmer 2017 )  highlights the need for good environments with people development frameworks to be built and maintained in organisation who want employees to thrive.

THRIVE – TO GROW / MAKE STEADY PROGRESS / TRANSFORM / DO WELL / EXPAND

An employee can be a member of any phase shown above and have mental health problems. An individual with mental health issues can thrive at work with the appropriate support.

The financial impact to employers due to employee mental health issues has been reported to be at all time highs. The stigma around mental health still prevents employees from reporting their situations and feelings. A third of employees believe speaking up can affect their professional career.

” Creating a positive environment for mental health demonstrably costs less than failing to do so “

NIGEL CARRINGTON, UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS, LONDON ( STEVENSON/FARMER REPORT 2017)

THREE WAYS TO THRIVE 

  1. Talk to someone about your aspirations and feelings.
  2. Understand what is important to you.
  3. Learn development techniques that work for you.

 

TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT YOUR ASPIRATIONS AND FEELINGS

Talking is easy however talking about how you feel and your aspirations can be counter productive if you do not have someone who you trust who is willing to really listen. These styles of conversation are rare and only happen when there is a crisis or chaos appears. It can sometimes help when you just slip in to a conversation elements of how you feel / your aspirations rather than making a formal appointment and having a sit down that appears formal. Casually sharing feelings and letting others in to your personal thinking in social settings stimulates others to share also. We all have aspirations and feelings but for some reason people keep them deep inside sometimes so they are not even aware. Another way to share your feelings is to simply ask others what they feel and want in life. This can be a pleasant surprise and an opportunity to talk about themselves ( which lets face it we all like … dont we ? ). Asking for advice or suggestions on what others would do in your situation can stimulate productive conversations that easily allow all to share deeper more meaningful elements of their lives. In coaching circles a concept of courageous conversations exists where you would plan your topic which would be of a personal and private nature or say something to another that would be classed as awkward and tough in relation to feedback. HR professionals experience these conversations in their daily work when hiring, disciplining and firing employees.

 

UNDERSTAND WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU 

Organisations create their culture based on values. Good organisations recruit, develop and promote filtering these chosen values. In relation to you and your values the simple question to ask yourself is ” whats important to me ? “. This will result in words or short phrases that are intangible things. Individuals have values like “trust” “love” “excitement” which linguistically are abstract nouns. These words tend to be internal concepts that are unique to you as an individual. Not knowing what your values are will lead to poor decisions. Each value will have have a motivation direction either moving towards pleasure or moving away from pain ( Away – Towards Motivation ). When you know what is important to you this allows you then to design and create your life running decisions through these values like a filter system. Individuals usually experience burnout, depression and mental health issues when they are not aware or aligned with their values.

 

LEARN DEVELOPMENT TECHNIQUES THAT WORK FOR YOU

We are all different and stimulated by different things in different ways. Humans are fluid and dynamic there is no one hat fits all. Recently baseball caps that had a tag in the hat saying ” one size fits all ” changed to ” one size fits most ” this is the same with personal development techniques. Simple development techniques can be experiences like meditation, visualisation, goal setting, coaching, NLP techniques, reading, development courses and networking with others in development groups. When you learn how coaches and agents of change deliver techniques this too can have a significant effect to you personally. Surfing the internet can give a confused offering. Having a meeting with someone in HR / Coaching / Talent Development can result in you getting a more bespoke set of information that works for you.

 

 

The review mentions the impact of not thriving at work on the lives of others around employees who are not performing well. There is also the significant ultimate cost through suicide which sadly has increased and is commonly in the news reporting celebrities. The findings report the annual cost to employers of between £33 Billion  and £42 Billion with half that amount coming from presenteeism ( where individuals are at work but unfit mentally for work ). The cost of poor mental health to the economy is put at £74 Billion and £99 Billion per year.

The 10 year vision to combat this includes

  1. Encouraging employers to develop individuals in house to combat mental health issues
  2. Creating environments that are good to work in relating to health and wellbeing
  3. Promote people management and coaching
  4. Monitoring well-being
  5. Encouraging open conversations
  6. Understanding AI and the impact on employees

 

Conclusion

Employee mental health should be a priority across the UK.

At least 1 in 4 employees have anxiety, panic attacks, depression, low self esteem, confidence issues right now. Developing a coaching culture will help wellbeing within the organisation.

 

” Employees will respond negatively to wellbeing initiatives if they believe they are merely being implemented to get them to work harder . This is why harnessing the right culture in the workplace is so important. So it is an environment where employee wellbeing can flourish. Leadership is key to developing this culture and its success relies upon buy in and cooperation of all leaders from the board level down “

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, CBE, Professor of Oranisational Psychology and Health, Manchester Business School

 

 

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