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5 Ways Managers Can Support Well-Being Improvement

by Henry Albrecht

Manager support matters. A lot. In fact, our research indicates that managers are the single most important driver of how supported your people feel. And when employees feel their employer supports their well-being, they’re 38 percent more engaged. Managers can make a difference in employee health and well-being by asking, listening, coaching, clearing roadblocks, providing support and encouragement and offering learning and team building opportunities. This ensures that employees feel valued and trusted.  

How is this done? When it comes to well-being support, you can’t just sit back and expect it to happen. You must first give your managers the tools and flexibility to promote well-being to their teams.

Managers need to connect, enable and collaborate with their teams. Give managers clear instructions on how to talk with employees about how they’re doing (without entering dangerous waters by prying into health issues), and how to overcome hurdles or fears. Post talking points in your employee engagement and well-being programs, and company intranet so they know how to approach well-being topics during 1:1 meetings. Make them feel manager support.

Ready to get your managers on board? Here are a few of our favorite tips you can share with your managers:

Act as a role model

Be a role model for well-being improvement by actively participating in your well-being and work-life programs. Show that you take your well-being seriously. Take daily stress breaks, use all of your PTO and communicate your own personal well-being priorities or goals with your team members. Don’t wait for them to ask.

Connect with co-workers (professionally and personally)

Touch base with your employees on a regular basis. Short but frequent check-ins throughout the week help employees feel appreciated, heard and more comfortable with approaching management. Schedule frequent 1:1 meetings with team members and try a walking meeting to mix it up.

Understanding what matters to each employee will help you balance the needs of the business along with the needs of the individual. Some employees will be open about their goals and challenges, while others may prefer to focus on work-related topics — and that’s OK. Give them the space to be vulnerable.

Invest in the long-term

Great organizations know that well-being is key for people to thrive at work. And when employees believe they have support from their organization, they’re more likely to have higher well-being. At the manager level, you can invest in your employees long-term by creating an employee development plan for each team member. (This also helps reduce turnover.) Whether it’s career development or cross-functional training, show your team you care about their future by encouraging projects that reflect their personal and professional growth goals.

Celebrate wins

An easy way to show your employees you care is to simply call out their great work. (Think thank you cards or recognition during team meetings.) Remember that 38 percent more engaged stat? That’s a huge deal. Show your team members you care with a simple handwritten note, birthday cards signed by team members, gift card to a local coffee shop, movie tickets or flowers. Or use your social recognition solution to share their wins company-wide. Acknowledging accomplishments and team success in a meaningful way creates a high-performing, positive workplace.

At Limeade, we ask employees to fill out a “Favorite Things” survey. That way managers know how to personalize a thank you gift and make it meaningful.

Be flexible

A huge part of employee well-being is not only acknowledging that employees have lives outside of work but supporting, enabling and establishing a healthy work-life balance. Offer flexible work hours that fit individual needs. Allowing flexible work schedules can help employees maintain a work-life harmony, improve productivity and boost employee morale.

When it comes to supporting employee well-being, managers matter the most. Put the employees who serve your customers first, and take the right steps to create a culture centered around well-being improvement. The difference managers can make to a highly engaged workforce is significant.

About the Author

Henry Albrecht is the founder & CEO of Limeade, an engagement company that inspires commitment by elevating culture. Connect with Henry and the Limeade team on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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