Business growth | Focus on employee well-being

Recently, in a media column, I expressed the importance for employers to consider the various questions to be asked in order to allow their employees to “train properly”. By that I meant the need for the employee to increase his skills for reasons of employability, a feeling of belonging to the company and self-esteem. For the employer, the objective of enriching the skills of the teams often remains focused on performance. If you take the time to clearly define your business needs and consider the learning methods that will really allow employees to improve their skills, it is obvious that this process is a long-term investment for the organization. That said, we cannot ignore the notion of employee “well-being”, which remains one of the essential keys to the growth of a company.

We are going through a critical period of labor shortage. Added to this trend is the aging of the population, where the demographics of active working Canadians will change drastically, compared to the portrait of the early 2000s.

Performance is at the heart of employers’ concerns, but employee retention focusing on employee well-being should also be at the top of the list.

We can no longer combine business strategy, performance and sales objectives without focusing on well-being in the company.

In this period of return to work, I present you some references and illustrations on the subject.

As part of your recruitment and retention initiatives, it is important for the employer, among other things, to adopt programs and initiatives directly related to well-being at work. The Order of Certified Human Resources Advisors (CRHA) already mentioned it in 2019 *: it is becoming urgent for companies to create a most interesting “employee experience”. It is possible to see everything in a strict perspective of employee retention, but also in an avenue of reducing costs related to health, absenteeism and loss of productivity.

Have you considered offering fitness programs, work-family balance, healthy snacks or ergonomic equipment for your employees? These initiatives can all allow your organization to combine your business objectives with its performance, since internal well-being indicators are present and their effectiveness has been demonstrated. However, I think it is important to mention that, in order to create the most favorable context for learning, it is not enough to concentrate on this rather “technical” part. On the one hand, this requires an internal culture where learning is both seen as an investment and a practice as important as others (such as continuous improvement, cost reduction or technology watch). On the other hand, it requires a sincere willingness on the part of the employee to learn and to give themselves every opportunity to develop professionally.

In fact, all the employer’s initiatives will not be able to bear fruit if the employee does not feel that they are consistent with their personal objectives.

According to the book by Andy Jefferson The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning, the process of developing employee skills does not start and end with the learning “activity” as such. It is critical, on the one hand, to ensure (good) learning, that the winning conditions are present from the start: learning programs should be tailor-made to meet the specificities of the teams and the process should also take into account the general aptitudes of learners.

Also, as exposed by studies in neuroscience and related in the book by Aurélie Van Dijk Reinvent your training with neuroscience, participants must present themselves with a desire to learn and a favorable mental state to prepare the brain to learn. On the other hand, skills must be properly transferred to the workplace so that employees adapt to them and can be supervised in their individual development. It requires that the company promotes constant and continuous support to employees following a learning activity, so that everyone assimilates these new skills at their own pace. The work climate will thus be favorable to the development of new skills, and the employee will feel in full control of his means to achieve it. It is also important to establish in advance the evaluation and performance criteria for these new skills so that the common expectations of employer and employee are clearly defined.

It is not such a simple or formalized recipe, since the basis is precisely in the human relations that one installs at work. I said it recently: don’t forget that your employees must feel “accomplished” and that their effectiveness depends directly on their happiness and their feeling of worth in the company. Train them, accompany them and take care of them. They will feel part of this success, which must remain collective.

So, for this return to work, what will be your human development strategies?

* Read “Why adopt workplace wellness programs or initiatives”

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