Irish News

Leaders who make work healthy are winning the war for talent

Neil Hughes
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I recently caught up in Dublin, with John Ryan, CEO of Healthy Place to Work.

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Healthy Place To Work supports organisations to deliver sustainable high performance, through a dedication to the health of a workforce and within the workplace. Its philosophy is straightforward: you cannot be a healthy organisation if you are full of unhealthy individuals and, equally, you cannot be a healthy individual if you work in an unhealthy organisation. As a result, its purpose is to – make work healthy; make workers healthier and make workplaces healthier.

In research carried out by Healthy Place to Work and analysed by Trinity College Dublin with over 6,000 responses from employees across eight countries, it found that when a business concentrates on the three critical areas highlighted above, they will create a resilient, sustainable, high performing organisation where people will want to do their best work.

The employee experience is now top of the agenda for most organisations who are trying to decide on the best structures and supports to meet the needs of their business and people.

All evidence points to ‘health’ as being one of the biggest drivers of sustainable high performance.

Moreover, the research is unequivocal, revealing strong empirical evidence about the impact of organisational resources on four aspects of employee health: financial; social; psychological; and physical health; contributing to an employee’s general health and their intention to stay with that employer.

Crucially, the research also highlighted the essential role of the leader. They need to be role models and convince their employees that they truly care about their health and wellbeing. The research concludes that if an organisation authentically cares about its people, they, in turn, will care about the organisation.

Unfortunately, most organisations are still struggling to get this right and as a result, the warning signs from decreased productivity, reduced employee morale, a fear of speaking up, a toxic work environment, high absenteeism rates, presenteeism to mental health issues and physical health concerns, are on the increase.

To date, the answer for many has tended to be a generic wellness programme, a wellbeing day or introducing a digital wellness app. These will not deal with the core issues, only bringing brief symptom relief. As a result, organisations are wasting time, energy, money, and precious resources.

In addressing workplace health in a holistic and meaningful way, leaders need to set the example, creating a healthy and coherent company. By measuring, monitoring and managing the critical elements of workforce and workplace health, leaders will achieve sustainable high-performance and the success they crave.