Don’t​ give wellbeing to HR!

Wellbeing is not HR’s responsibility.

If your wellbeing program sits with HR, then it is in the wrong spot. You may get some nice fun events to do, some new furniture and maybe some helpful policies, however, if you are serious about wellbeing, then HR is not the place.

When determining where the best place to own wellbeing, it is useful to look at the causes of low wellbeing within the business.

The most common cause of poor wellbeing is the workloads staff are forced to complete. This includes tight deadlines, unrealistic targets, the complexity of the work as well as insufficient resources to complete the work. When one of these is lacking it can result in longer work hours and inevitable increases in stress along with decreases in self-care practices. In short, people stop looking after themselves when they get busy or stressed.

The resulting effect is often an increase in absenteeism, turnover, depression, poor worker health and ultimately lower wellbeing. When the toxicity of the workplace increases you get a rise in bullying and harassment. Inevitably this leads to costly and time-consuming work cover cases.

It is a downward spiral that is hard to stop.

These days when productivity is king and managers are asked to do more with less. Managers are measured on the productivity and results of their team so naturally, these take precedence over wellbeing ‘activities’. If the annual survey notes that a teams wellbeing is down the problem is handed over to HR to fix.

And herein lies the problem. It is the manager who is most likely the cause of the wellbeing issues, yet we ask HR to provide the solutions. Responsibility for fixing the issue is sitting in the wrong place. It should sit with the cause of the issue – most likely the manager.

Any solution HR comes up with is unlikely to get to the heart of the matter. You end up with a bunch of wallpaper solutions that look great from the outside but merely cover over the real issues.

In a perfect world, managers are responsible for productivity AND wellbeing. After all, it is the manager that assigns workloads, resources, training, targets, monitors working hours, coaches, reviews performance and is in the best position notice changes in a person’s demeanor. Wouldn’t it then make sense for them to be responsible for the wellbeing of the people they lead? I know that if wellbeing is closely related to productivity and performance I wouldn’t hand that responsibility to somebody else.

It is possible to achieve a balance between productivity AND wellbeing. The best leaders do it well.

How well do your leaders do it?

To definitively find out, and most importantly devise an improvement plan, a 360-feedback tool is most helpful.

If you would like to learn more about a 360 tool that assesses a leader in both performance and wellbeing please let me know.

Book in a no obligation demonstration today.

Do something that will get to the heart of the issue, not just wallpaper over the cracks.

About the author:

Nathan Burke started his career as a schoolteacher before the demands of elite level football with St Kilda F.C. took over. Following a successful corporate career, he founded Nathan Burke Consulting – a Melbourne based firm that offers High-Performance Training and Coaching solutions to corporates, schools, and sports teams.