In the public and not-for-profit sector, where the pressures on employees can be particularly high, leaders have a vital role to play in ensuring their staff are supported, resilient, and empowered to thrive. Investing in employee mental health and wellbeing can yield positive outcomes for both staff and organisations including:
- Increased productivity
When employees are mentally and physically healthy, they are better equipped to focus on their work, resulting in increased productivity.
- Improved employee engagement
A focus on employee wellbeing sends a strong message to staff that their employer values them and cares about their welfare. This, in turn, can improve employee engagement, leading to higher levels of motivation, commitment, and loyalty.
- Reduced absenteeism and turnover
Healthy and happy workers are less likely to take sick days or leave their job, reducing absenteeism and turnover and saving the organisation money on recruitment and training costs.
- Enhanced organisational reputation
Employers that prioritise employee mental health and wellbeing are more likely to be viewed positively by potential employees. Making it easier to attract and retain talent.
- Improved creativity and innovation
A culture that supports employee wellbeing fosters creativity and innovation, as employees feel empowered to take risks, generate new ideas, and collaborate effectively.
- Compliance with health and safety regulations
By investing in employee wellbeing, organisations can ensure they meet their legal obligations and reduce the risk of accidents or workplace incidents.
Understanding mental health and wellbeing in the public and not-for-profit sector
Mental health charity Mind found that public sector workers were over a third more likely to say that they were suffering from poor mental health than those working in the private sector. While this survey was from a few years ago, not much has improved, with a recent investigation showing that civil servants took over 770,000 sick days in 2022, a 38% rise from the year before.
What this shows is that the stressors on public and not-for-profit employees are increasing, not decreasing. But there is hope! Employers can take proactive measures to improve the health and wellbeing of their staff, minimise the impact of related absenteeism and help position themselves as an employer of choice.
5 Strategies for improving employee health and wellbeing
Creating a culture of wellness in an organisation is a complex process that requires a multifaceted approach. HR leaders can play a key role in this process by implementing strategies that support employee mental health and wellbeing. Some of the key strategies that HR leaders can implement include:
1. Promoting a healthy work-life balance
Employees who feel that they have time for personal and family life outside of work are more likely to be satisfied with their job, have better mental and physical health, and be more productive at work. By promoting work-life balance, organisations can create a supportive and positive workplace culture that prioritises employee wellbeing.
Leaders can support work-life balance by promoting flexible working arrangements such as part-time work, job sharing, remote working, or flexible scheduling. Providing resources such as wellness programs, employee assistance programs, and mental health resources can also help employees manage work and personal life stressors.
2. Encouraging regular breaks and holidays
This simple yet powerful strategy encourages employees to recharge, reduce stress, and boost their productivity, creativity, and overall wellbeing. Encouraging employees to use their holiday allowance wisely and regularly take breaks can also help prevent burnout, reduce absenteeism, and improve employee engagement and satisfaction. When employees feel supported in taking time off, they are more likely to return to work feeling refreshed, energised, and motivated.
Leaders can play a critical role in promoting regular breaks and holidays by modelling healthy work habits, providing flexible working arrangements, and ensuring that workload is manageable.
3. Providing training and professional development opportunities
Providing training and professional development opportunities helps employees feel valued and invested in. When they feel this way, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and productive and to feel fulfilled in their work, which can boost their mental health and wellbeing. Training and professional development opportunities can also help employees to develop new skills and work more efficiently, reducing the likelihood of burnout and stress.
Leaders can support this aspect of building a culture of wellness by ensuring that training opportunities are easily accessible and align with the organization’s goals and values.
4. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities
When employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, they can work more efficiently, reducing stress and workload pressure. They will also feel more empowered and engaged, which in turn, leads to higher levels of job satisfaction and overall wellbeing.
Leadership can support this aspect of building a culture of wellness by communicating expectations clearly, ensuring that roles are well-defined, and providing regular feedback and recognition for employee achievements.
5. Regularly assessing and addressing workloads
Feeling overwhelmed with work can result in employees experiencing stress, burnout, and reduced other negative impacts on their mental and physical health. Regular assessments of workloads can help identify areas where employees may be overworked or experiencing high levels of stress. Addressing these concerns by reallocating work, providing additional resources, or restructuring roles can help prevent burnout and promote employee wellbeing.
Effective leaders can play an important role in promoting workload assessments and addressing concerns by facilitating regular communication between managers and employees and providing necessary resources and support.
At Morgan Law, our team of experienced consultants is well-versed in helping public-sector and not-for-profit organisations develop their unique brand and culture as an employer. Our consultants work with you to develop a recruitment strategy that helps position you as an attractive employer of choice in the public and not-for-profit sector. Meaning you reach and retain the very best talent and meet your organisational goals faster.