It got me to thinking about mental health, in particular people’s wellbeing at work. A recent report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers found the cost of ignoring mental health in the work place to be at $10.9 billion in Australia,
with absenteeism stemming from mental health conditions being about $4.7 billion.
Excessive sick leave is a solid indicator about your overall staff wellbeing and when it’s costing you about $2741 a year, per staff member, investing in avoiding it makes a lot of sense.
Now I’ve always known that we’ve been pretty fortunate when it came to absenteeism at R&A but imagine my surprise when checking on the team’s sick days over the last few years, I found that R&A staff on average take only 1.21 sick days a year. Compared to the national average of
8.93 days per employee, I was blown away
Well how do we manage that?!
I firmly believe that if you wait to the point where a staff member’s poor wellbeing is impacting heavily on their productivity or attendance, you face an uphill battle getting things back on an even keel.
Be proactive about creating a healthy, inclusive team from the start.
Celebrating the good stuff together
When you have a win (particularly in a boutique practice like ours) the win is everyone’s. Make sure your staff know they are part of the successes.
When it came to us being nominated for an award last year, we splurged and flew the whole team interstate for the award night. That said; while it was nice to have the opportunity to do that for the team this year, don’t think a ‘celebration’ has to be extravagant. It can be as simple as having a lunch together or a BBQ at the yard on a Friday. Also, never underestimate telling someone that you are impressed with his or her work
. It means more to people than any grand gesture ever will.
Invest in staff
Being proactive about offering developmental opportunities, whether it’s specific training courses, the opportunity to take on new responsibilities or mentoring someone into a more senior role means two things: Not only will people build their career in your company, in addition, satisfied and engaged people in the work place = good wellbeing.
I worked out that it costs R&A about $10,000+ over 10 – 12 months to train someone up to be job ready. If they leave, that money walks out the door with them. I would rather continue to invest to keep valuable staff engaged.
Much like the expression:
‘What if I train them and they leave??’
‘But what if you don’t and they stay?‘
We have a good banter in the office, I’m proud of it and I think it’s evident the moment you walk in our door. But that hasn’t come about easily- the team needs to know that my door is open. I welcome feedback on our operations and value staff sharing with me the issues in their life that impact on them.
Not only do I feel closely connected to all aspects of R&A but the team knows that no matter how hard the conversation might be, I’m available.
This is invaluable- issues that affect wellbeing are better managed when you know sooner rather than later. You can put supports in place and reduce further stress on an employee and you.
Making the team part of the community
Team building is so much more than the annual staff party!
R&A has a strong sense of social responsibility and we have supported a number of valuable Bunbury community groups over the last 10 years. By way of example, our annual Women’s Wellness Day really brings the team together as we organize it.
The staff work closely with an organisation that supports people through some of the most challenging times in their lives and there is a shared satisfaction, being part of raising the kind of money we do for charity.
This approach has created a drive in the team for these initiatives- our recent participation in ‘Step-tember’ to raise money for Cerbral Palsy, was actually a suggestion of Ashleigh, which everyone was excited to get behind.
I can do that!
You sure can and you’ve got everything to gain.
The proof is in the pudding. When it comes to R&A, our turnover is almost non existent. The ‘newest’ team member (Maddison) has been with us 3 years.
Ultimately, you’re saving yourself money, time, stress and creating a flourishing team environment all at the same time.
See you next month and in the meantime, i
f you have any ideas that you swear by for improving workplace wellbeing, let me know, I’d love to hear from you!