As we at Epic Living do more work in the well-being arena, it's important to set the table around the importance of management's role in making well-being a reality. I won't spend a ton of time explaining the need for managers to understand when to put the leadership hat on. You can look at this post I wrote a few years ago to get my thoughts on that. The reality is most managers have abdicated well-being to HR and the company's benefit offerings. As well-intentioned as that may be, it leaves much to be desired in practical application.
Management is looked to for direction and pace (how fast or slow should we be moving). That implies a great deal of influence over a number of people. As I'm sure you're getting by now, management is more than checking off tasks on a list. One area of huge importance is the well-being of the employees. For example, how well do your people handle stress? And how is that stress impacting the customer?
Let me be clear, it's not the responsibility of a manager to make sure their employees are managing stress well or that employees manage their lives well for that matter. But they can play a part in influencing a balanced approach to well-being. You may wonder why the manager should care? It's pretty simple, those that manage their lives well will always outperform those that don't. So, the manager should be a champion/cheerleader of well-being in their organization. A true win-win proposition for the organization and the employees.
The following are some recommendations for management around encouraging an environment of well-being:
- Do engage with employees in a way that allows them to manage their well-being in their own way. Management should not dictate and take a "take it or leave it" approach.
- Do consider the "whole" life and not just those that allow management to stay in an imaginary comfort zone.
- Do learn how to manage people from a perspective of diversity.
- Do focus on making your engagement about the employee and not about what you'll get by offering the resource(s).
- Do be committed to well-being as a long-term process and not a one-time event.