Champions of change leading wellness in workplaces

Champions of change leading wellness in workplaces

When individuals grow and thrive, organisations grow and thrive. Change is needed within our workplaces if we are to thrive at our best.

Yes, it starts at the top and is cultivated, however, like all other key focuses of a business, there needs to be a leader driving wellness within the organisation on a daily basis. There needs to be someone developing strategies, executing, monitoring and continuously improving the level of wellness against KPI’s (key performance indicators) that are aligned with the overall organisational goals and objectives.

Each team member has the opportunity to support their own wellness and be accountable for leading their best life. They need the framework, tools and support in order to achieve this and importantly, to sustain wellness.

Common reasons for life imbalance are: over commitment of tasks in the work role, work then interferes with family and family interferes with work. This results in the person experiencing stress and strain from being pulled in too many directions at once and not effectively giving to either family or work.

Balance means something different to each person. Regardless, research indicates that achieving effective balance in life is less about the employer’s policy in this area, and more about the approach of the managers.

Research shows that around 40% of line managers are supportive of balance initiatives, 40% are undecided, and the remaining 20% are not supportive. That’s a whopping 60% of managers that are not actively supportive of whole life balance! This may be the result of long held beliefs around how work is to be ‘managed’ or never having a strong positive role model themselves to embody and demonstrate what effective balance in life actually looks like. They never had it or utilised flexible working conditions for example, so they don’t support others in their work place to have such options and just keep going along managing in the style that they know and are comfortable with.

Albert Einstein said that we can’t keep doing what we’ve always done and expect different results. And one thing that we do now know is that a lack of whole life balance does not work. Our workplaces, families and communities are living proof that changes need to be made.

Business are changing daily, some in subtle ways and some dramatically

 “The speed at which technology, society, the economy, and the environment are changing will never be as slow as it is today.”

WELLNESS 2030: The new techniques of happiness research report – Global Wellness Institute.

Anxiety and stress are growing issues in the workplace, which is not surprising in this environment of constant change and technological innovation. Focusing on wellness is an important leadership role. As a manager in this ever-changing world, it is essential to be supportive of balance initiatives if you truly want a healthier and happier workplace. Being a supportive manager means you:

  • Understand the benefits of whole life balance for employees and the organisation;
  • Commit to finding alternative arrangements if needed; and
  • Look out for others who may be struggling in order to offer support and care that builds greater resilience.

The goal of wellness leadership is to create inspired workplaces, develop caring relationships with citizens, and produce results that matter. Wellness-oriented leadership has been instrumental to the success of organisations such as Google, Nike and The Coca-Cola Company.

Gail Kelly, the first female CEO of one of Australia’s big four banks, in her book Live, Lead and Learn, argues passionately for the importance of putting people at the heart of business; of leading with courage and generosity of spirit; and of resilience. At the heart of Gail’s authentic, integrated approach is how “both individuals and companies thrive when they openly address the meaning of what they do and understand the need to live a whole life.”

Driving a healthy culture

As people managers and educators, we need to drive an authentic healthy culture within our workplaces that add value to both the individuals within the workplace and to the business entity overall. The starting point is identifying and framing the purpose and values of the individuals with the organisation’s purpose. Skills in the principles of wellness: resilience, mindfulness, breath, nutrition, movement sleep, emotional intelligence, cultivating a wellness culture, strengthening a winning team and forging sustainability, are fundamental for an effective workplace wellness program.

Increased workload, restructuring and redundancies have led to increased levels of stress and HR complaints and concerns. Stress has been proven to create high blood pressure, fatigue, weight issues and diabetes, all of which lead to lower energy levels and therefore, as a result, organisational productivity. Team members with higher energy levels will be more productive and this will in turn create a healthier work place culture.  This sounds like the ideal work place. But how can you achieve this level of balance for your team? At the Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy (ASWA) we understand the importance of integrated wellness toward the success of your team. Our holistic programs are more than a calendar of wellness activities. Authentic wellness is built on strong fundamental principles of wellness with three core components, training leaders, supporting employees with evidence-based accredited quality training standards for evaluating success. Together this creates overall enhancement in the wellbeing of your people resulting in a more successful organisation.

Operating from a position of deep respect for people reflects not only on what is right for the business, but also the impact on the people. It is long-term sustainable performance that matters.

Personal and professional development is vital to flourish

Personal and Professional development is vital in order for us to flourish in our lives and careers. As part of professional development, structured training approaches are useful when specific and significant job competencies are required above your current knowledge and skill. This may be as a part of succession planning, regulatory change, job requirement change, or organisational strategic change. If you identify a significant area of study which could improve your value to your organisation that currently doesn’t form part of your position description, you may need to provide a business case to your manager for time or funding commitments.

There are students of ASWA’s Diploma of Wellness Leadership Program, for example, who have been sponsored by their organisation to obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to implement an effective workplace wellness program into their organisation in order to meet strategic organisational goals and objectives that will keep them on the leading edge of their market.

I am inspired daily by these forward-thinking companies and the individual champions of change that are located all around the globe. Like any specialty area of knowledge, the Diploma of Wellness Leadership Program was developed specifically to provide the framework and mentoring for leading organisations that authentically care about the health and wellbeing of their employees. These champions of change are designated from within these organisations to develop and execute effective wellness initiatives that achieve work and life harmony as well as increased engagement, innovation, performance and the retention of talent. Positive changes are happening. Making a difference is powerful. It creates momentum.

How do you maintain professional competence?

In business, a competitive edge refers to an organisation’s ability to maintain an advantage over its market competitors. In the field of personal development, that scope is reduced to an individual level. Ensuring you maintain a professional edge can deliver two main benefits: professional sustainability or growth and organisational sustainability or growth.

Another way to maintain a strong competitive advantage is to be proactive in identifying changes within your industry and gaps in your skill set and taking action to bridge that gap before the change is implemented. By being proactive, you learn skills before your competitors.

Not only will you be ahead of the market, you will build your credibility within your own team and network.

The Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy’s Holistic Corporate Wellness Programs have been specifically developed to kickstart and infuse wellness from within organisations. To create healthier, happier workplaces by establishing strong frameworks and providing the tools and support for employees to make healthy lifestyle practices commonplace.

Angela Derks, ND is the Founder and CEO of the Australasian Sustainable Wellness Academy (ASWA) - the award winning accredited leader of wellness training and consulting services for organisations. Her life’s work is helping people achieve optimal health, wellbeing and business success through skills-based learning and healthy leadership strategies. She is the lead developer of the nationally recognised Diploma of Wellness qualification, delivering relevant skills to effectively integrate evidence-based wellness and management practices into organisations. ASWA's wellness integration approach empowers and enables individuals and organisations to achieve wellbeing and performance for sustainable success.