Wellness is not a separate and distinct aspect of business; it’s the through line that runs through the core of healthy corporations. It’s what enables positivity, productivity, and creativity to spread outward into all the different areas of an organization. The female leaders who are succeeding in this arena are not having success because they embraced a flashy wellness initiative, and it made everything better, but because they embodied a different, more holistic mentality of what work should be overall, and the benefits of this perspective shift have penetrated every area of the workplace.
When leaders have thought about the bottom line in past generations, they’ve focused on numbers and processes. If the bottom line was suffering, they cut back on expenses, and attempted to increase productivity by improving processes or the tools used to carry out those processes. These are moderately effective ways to increase profits, but the focus has always been on every asset within a company aside from the people.
It’s not untrue that the operations within a corporation must be streamlined in order for the business to function effectively, but what’s been lost for many years is that the engagement and mindset of the staff needs to be positive and healthy in order for profits to truly soar.
That’s what recent female leaders have been bringing into the workplace. When the people within an organization are engaged, have open lines of communication with management, and are fulfilled in both their professional and personal lives, profits increase without fail. An improved team presence and a positive organizational culture go a disproportionately long way in improving all aspects of business. The reason for this is simple. Employees who are connected to their work, and feel empowered about their unique contribution to the workplace, work harder without being forced to work harder. It’s intrinsic motivation, and it’s powerful.
Female leaders who have sought to make this a norm in the workplace have focused on increasing productivity, creativity, focus, energy levels, clarity and mental and physical well being by building an organizational culture that values these things. The business models of the past claimed to place value here, but when all was said and done, the actions negated the chance for these traits to grow. It was all about what was good for the business, even if that came at the expense of the employees. That methodology will work for a time, but it is not lasting and it’s not capable of growth. Many employees will put up with this type of environment for a period of time (these employees are quickly becoming a thing of the past), and as soon the individual reaches a breaking point, they are gone. Then it’s time to find and train someone new, which costs money especially when this becomes a trend. If you can find this new person, you can maintain this false sense of success for a little longer, but again there is very little growth happening on a company-wide basis.
Alternatively, if you focused on increasing wellness in each team member, giving them opportunities to use their creativity in interesting ways, listening to their needs and then delivering on those needs, and promoting a general spirit of collaboration and health, you’d find that your employees are not only staying with you for the long-term, but that they are becoming top performers in their particular fields.
It’s not rocket science. It’s simply human nature. Think about how you personally work best. It’s not when you’re micromanaged, scrutinized in every decision and forced to comply even when you must sacrifice yourself either physically or mentally in order to get the job done. The same is going to be true for everyone within an industry. I’m not suggesting that we do away with the current structures and processes, but we do need to start taking a look at what isn’t working, and revising. We do need to consider that it’s the individuals who are the biggest asset of an organization, and when those individuals experience a better quality of life, they work better, which is beneficial for all involved.
Let’s start examining the ways in which we can increase efficiency, productivity and creativity in the workplace by taking better care of our team. There is a literal limit to how much you can increase your bottom line by cutting expenses or investing in better tools, but there is no limit to how much a person might contribute when we treat them with respect and dignity. You can’t put a dollar value on a creative idea or a personal touch.
It’s about time we started taking individual wellness seriously. It’s not just about offering yoga classes at lunch or plumping up the benefits package. Leaders have to stand behind the messaging that we are putting out to our staff. We have to treat our people well in every interaction, not just on paper when we take an annual inventory of how successful the wellness initiative was that year. It’s an every day process that starts with the leaders. What have you done today that makes a team member’s life better? Let’s start there, and see where it takes us.
Written by Michelle Greene Rhodes.
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