Why Your Team Needs to Support Well-Being Improvement
Engaged employees are the key to business success. At Limeade, we define employee engagement as the deep connection and sense of purpose at work that creates extra energy and commitment. It's more than employee satisfaction or participation in any employee program. It's about the difference between, "I have a great idea I'm trying out" and "That's not my job."
Engaged employees feel their role has a sense of purpose, they actively contribute, are connected with other team members and grow in - and maybe beyond - their role. In order to drive real employee engagement, you need to support well-being improvement at the local and organization-wide levels. Our research shows not only a clear connection between well-being and engagement, but also how best to drive the well-being bus.
Managers are the single most important driver of how supported your people feel, but it's team and peer support that creates energy and propels the organization toward success. Plus I'm a team sports guy at heart.
Diving into team support
Team and peer support play a vital role in well-being in the workplace. An employee's teammates are valuable resources (and cheerleaders). For employees to feel valued, respected and like they're making an impact, you need to build a community. Building a successful community requires communication.
A study by the Harvard Business Review shows that, "The best way to build a great team is not to select individuals for their smarts or accomplishments but to learn how they communicate and to shape and guide the team so that it follows successful communication patterns."
When an organization makes peer-to-peer recognition and coaching - such as cheers for a job well done, social support in stressful times, meaningful feedback that helps the team win or a simple high-five - and communication a top priority, it builds a foundation for high employee engagement. Here's five ways a team can support well-being improvement:
Open up a dialogue
All it takes is one voice. Talk with your team members about how everyone is feeling. Good? Great? Stressed? Bored? Then get into how you can help each other. Just as in sports, it's great to debrief after big wins or losses and focus on what's next. Make personal improvement a regular conversation.
Ask your teammates how they're doing and encourage them to express their opinions and ideas. Dig deeper than the surface and create meaningful connections. Ask open-ended questions like, "What's really going on here?" "What's going well?" "What's not?" or "What can I do to serve you better?", to create richer dialog - and innovation.
Connect on a personal level
Every team member is different. Make the effort to say hi or good morning every day. Ask a coworker you don't know out to lunch. Commiserate about commutes. Then turn the discussion in a positive direction. Schedule team offsites or happy hours to take the time to discuss topics other than work.
In the most engaged companies - personal discussions often find their way back to work topics. You can also take it a step further and share supportive comments and motivational success stories across the organization.
Use social engagement and well-being tools in the workplace to connect, share photos, organize local events or compete on leaderboards in various activities. Help employees across the organization share wins and express gratitude. You never know who you'll inspire.
Weave well-being into work
Foster an environment where it's OK (and encouraged) to take time to participate in well-being improvement. Provide flexibility and trust your team. Whether it's a midday workout or afternoon webinar, there shouldn't be any guilt or fear of punishment.
When you weave team well-being activities into work - think team meditation meetings, charity days or walking meetings - the team is able to support one another while completing the activity together. It's OK to read on your lunch break or do lunges with your team at the end the day.
According to a new University of Cambridge study, people who perform any kind of movement throughout the day ? even if it's just taking a lap around the office ? are more productive and content. Don't make fun of people for "goofing off" when they do things that seem more like fun than work.
This is not an excuse to ignore your job responsibilities. It's a way to refresh, revitalize and do them better.
Spark friendly competition
A little friendly competition with your coworkers just might be the motivation you need to deliver better results. And I'm not talking about competing for a new role or raise. Career and personal growth are not zero-sum games. Foster friendly competition between coworkers to push each other to reach your real goals, whatever they are.
More financial freedom? Giving back more? Managing or reframing stress? Feeling better? Finding your purpose? Learning a new skill? It doesn't matter. Whether you want to eat better, move more, buy a house or save the world, a friendly "nudge" can help you all start a new winning streak.
Competition can ignite motivation to boost performance and productivity. So build a community through team-based challenges and keep each other accountable for reaching goals. Have each others' backs. You win and lose as a team.
Celebrate and improve as a team
Celebrate as one and improve as one. Teams who celebrate together typically form stronger bonds. Celebrate milestones with your team - like a five-year anniversary, a new baby, a happy customer or closing a huge deal - to bring your team together and provide a sense of purpose in a natural and effortless way.
This may seem obvious, right? So, do it.Does your teammate love soccer? Opera? Video games? Heavy metal? Know this when thinking of supporting or surprising them and remember that thoughtful trumps expensive any day. The power of team isn't a new concept - but how it impacts well-being and real engagement is often overlooked. It's your team - grab your jersey and wear it with pride.