Many experts agree that the happier your employees, the more successful your company. If your workforce is bad tempered, tired and demotivated, it is probably time to make some changes to boost your staff wellbeing.

We spoke to seven business experts who have been shortlisted in this year’s, The Business Book Awards, to find out their top tips on how to do this.

Lunch (and learn) as a team

“When we think about wellbeing we often think about the body and about helping with mental health. Helping the mind feel energised is really important too.

Learning together as an organisation can be a great part of wellbeing as a team:

Set up a business book club and invite authors to speak or contribute via a chat forum.
Invite interesting people for ‘lunch and learns’. You could invite people inside the organisation to share their projects or experiences (like a ‘show and tell’ at school!) Or you could ask people to nominate interesting people they know to come and share their stories with the group.”

Sophie Devonshire is author of Superfast: Lead at Speed

Equip your team with the CAPABILITY of being resilient

“Staff wellbeing can be dependent on feeling valued and equipped with the CAPABILITY of being resilient in challenging circumstances. The suggestions below help us engender that capability within ourselves and others.

Create a safe working environment where people can talk in confidence about challenges or problems
Acknowledge dissatisfaction
Provide adequate training to equip staff to perform
Ask Challenging questions
Be brave enough to acknowledge and accept mistakes
Listen to feedback and concerns
Initiate Difficult conversations
Try new approaches to negotiating conflict
You always have a choice in how you respond to challenges, take time to make it”

Louisa Weinstein author of The 7 Principles of Conflict Resolution

Training and communication

“Despite company best intentions, today’s employees are under pressure, with their stress levels tested to the limit. The only sure-fire way to protect our people is to take a two-pronged and mutually reinforcing approach:

Firstly, we equip our employees with the knowledge and awareness to manage their own wellbeing, through communication and training, so they become more proactive and set healthier boundaries.
Secondly, we encourage our managers to support these new behaviours, so we create a culture conducive to employee wellbeing.

If we don’t have both, and the new behaviours are met with a negative reaction, then the employees will immediately stop being proactive, with disastrous consequences for their wellbeing. “

Karen J. Hewitt MBA is author of Employee Confidence – the new rules of Engagement

Introduce health care, professional development and flexible working policies

“Review the policies and procedures in place for flexible family-friendly working, to boost wellbeing and encourage retention of staff. Consider potential strategies, including job sharing and temporary or permanent changes to part-time hours, provision for working from home, annualised hours, discretionary paid leave and support with childcare.

Encourage healthy lifestyles and support professional development in the workplace within budgetary constraints. Consider offering access to support services and training in areas including counselling, stress awareness, coaching, occupational health, mini-health checks, flu immunisations, facilitate themed healthy days/weeks and subsidised access to fitness activities.”

Hayley Dunn is author of The School Business Manager’s Handbook

Give staff more time to think

“Recognise that the overload from technology is changing our behaviour. Firstly, more data makes us more analytical or more likely to ‘drill-down thinking’. That’s not a bad thing, but we must remember that it’s not enough. ‘Look-across thinking’ is important because it involves empathy, collaboration and imagination. The imbalance in this thinking partially explains why forecasters were so wrong about Trump, Brexit and the rising tide of nationalism. Secondly, the speed it operates at creates an expectation that the offline world should move at the same pace. This makes people impatient. If a website doesn’t load within two seconds, 40% of visitors will have moved on. Parenting, caring and teaching are all vital professions that need patience. We should never forget this.”

Chris Lewis is co-author, with Dr Pippa Malmgren, of The Leadership Lab

Pay attention to the working environment

“The working environment can have a huge impact on an employee’s performance, mood and wellbeing. It also influences who fits in and who doesn’t.

Employees want to work in an environment where they feel safe, secure and where there is trust. The majority of people spend most of their time at work, so you need to enjoy it.

Environment is about the atmosphere, the decoration, the cleanliness, the smell and the feel of the place. More importantly your environment should match your values.

The environment, the leaders, managers, training and development all play apart in employee engagement and wellbeing.”

Jacqui Mann is author of Recruit, Inspire & Retain

Make work meaningful, valuable and S.M.A.R.T

“Insert meaningfulness at work, whenever possible and make sure all work objectives are clear (S.M.A.R.T.) and relate to the overall company strategy. Staff feedback is also important. Make feedback – whether positive or negative — a regular part of your day and reward and acknowledge behaviour that reinforces your values. Also, try and explore how your company can contribute to your employee’s dreams.”

Minter Dial is author of Heartificial Empathy

The Business Book Awards winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 26 March in London. For more details or to book your place visit:

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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