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Monday, May 20, 2024

Work and wellbeing

Lesley Cooper, from WorkingWell, offers some timely advice as FMCG leaders steer their companies – and employees – through turbulent times

Energy and resilience are foundational to sustainable high performance and positive mental wellbeing at work. Resilience in the workplace bolsters employees’ ability to cope with pressure and respond to challenges, as well as protecting emotional wellbeing.

According to Aon’s 2020 report, 42 percent feel secure at work, and only 30 percent are classed as resilient. While leaders and managers are aware of the importance of resilience in their teams, they often don’t have the tools or infrastructure to effectively monitor and expand it. External influences such as the cost of living crisis are hitting hard, so businesses need a practical, manager-led process to quantify and strengthen team energy.

As jobs within the FMCG sector are fast-paced and demanding, developing personal and team resilience plays a particularly important part in wellbeing management and can drive measurable impacts on performance sustainability.

  1. Create a psychologically safe space 

Open discussions about workplace pressures are essential to support those struggling. Leaders must cultivate a culture in which employees feel they can be open and honest about their challenges, without fear of negative consequences. Leaders and managers can contribute to this culture change by expressing their own vulnerabilities and speaking candidly with employees about challenges they themselves face. This effectively gives employees permission to do the same, creating a pathway for ongoing dialogue.

  1. Help employees identify pressure hot spots

Creating dedicated and structured opportunities for team members to examine, with line leadership, current levels of team energy, how psychologically safe they feel around each other, sources of pressure and what is currently working well for them, pays dividends. If the dialogue can be informed by high level metrics then the conversation can be targeted in the right areas and provide valuable evaluation data for progress over time. Managers can grow their understanding of the main triggers for stress in their team, and consider how to provide targeted support.

  1. Build supportive communities 

Meaningful, supportive relationships in the workplace can be a significant factor in helping employees cope with pressure and avoid stress and negative experiences. Support shouldn’t only come from managers, but from within teams, so open communication and support should be encouraged as standard practice. Growing the general level of mental health literacy and informal peer to peer support can be priceless.

Not all employees will have the same natural level of grit, and so hearing the responses and perspectives of others could also help build confidence. A strong community will be more resilient than one where workers are distant or divided.

  1. Encourage empathy

Employees should be encouraged to treat each other and themselves with respect and kindness. If a mistake is made, the understanding and kindness of peers helps avoid damaging negative feelings and prevents a downward spiral in energy and confidence that could impact performance. Leaders need also to demonstrate empathy and develop curiosity about the way in which team member perspectives may be justifiably different to their own. Wisdom comes from multiple perspectives. Developing respect for the insight and experience of others can have very beneficial impacts on collaborations and innovation.

  1. Cultivate adaptability 

Resilient teams adapt to change easier. Giving team members the skills to review their habitual responses to both familiar and unfamiliar situations, and encouraging them to explore whether alternative interpretations or responses may exist, helps them adapt their cognitive and practical responses in the face of adversity. This makes change easier to manage and progress through, thus protecting performance.



Lesley Cooper
Lesley Cooper
Lesley is a management consultant with over 25 years’ experience in the design and delivery of all elements of employee wellbeing management programmes. In 1997 she founded WorkingWell, an award-winning specialist consultancy that helps companies to manage workplace pressure in a way that facilitates growth and development. www.workingwell.co.uk

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