The article is contributed by Marut Bhardwaj - Country Head, Potential Project.
Compassion is the willingness to improve the lives of others around you.
Rather than merely providing the bare necessities to keep employees happy and productive so that the company can make more money, a compassionate leader wants to help them thrive. In addition to having a long-term vision, compassionate leadership requires wisdom in directing the organization towards a human way of working and taking necessary initiatives to guarantee employee well-being in the present moment.
Traditional business KPIs are no longer enough in an era of increasing healthcare awareness. India's working-age population is rapidly approaching 500 million people. Each of these workers will expect that their employer will cover the majority of the costs of their own and their families' medical care. What was formerly considered a nice-to-have perk by certain companies is now considered a must-have.
Since good healthcare is employees’ need, giving appropriate attention to employees’ physical and mental health, therefore, is a big part of compassionate leadership. Especially in this era, where yet another wave of the pandemic has clocked in, leaders have a critical role in helping their employees navigate the turbulence of COVID-19.
The importance of employee healthcare for organizations
Your employees’ health and well-being is not just helpful to them; it generates an efficient and productive working environment that benefits your organisation at large.
Health-related absenteeism and rising healthcare expenditures provide a persistent problem to companies. Employers in the United States, where health benefits are prevalent, pay $575 billion a year in health care expenditures due to poor employee health. Employee absenteeism, chronic ailments that limit production and workers' compensation are all contributors to this expense.
To be clear, these absences are not solely a result of disease. Poor physical and mental health can lead to a host of problems, including high levels of stress and burnout, as well as a lack of motivation and enthusiasm on the part of employees. In 2019, the World Health Organization predicted that between 2012 and 2030, mental health disorders in India will cost the country a whopping $1.03 trillion in economic losses.
Thus, employee health and productivity are linked: Healthier minds and bodies lead to greater levels of optimism, originality, and drive. Care for your workers means:
- Employees who feel cared for and valued
- Increased motivation and fulfilment in the work place
- Reduced absenteeism
- Retention of employees
- A positive working environment with constructive interactions between employees and managers
What measures can leaders take to improve employee health
After the outbreak of the pandemic, many leaders have started including additional advantages at the workplace, such as primary healthcare, regular testing and wellness programmes. Leaders have realised that small changes can go a long way toward making the workplace a healthy and uplifting place to work. Here are some more measures they can employ in pursuit of the same goal:
Encouraging your staff to participate in health and wellness initiatives.
All facets of an employee's health are considered in an integrated wellness programme, which can include PTO, focus workshops, yoga sessions. These programmes encompass physical, mental, as well as emotional health of the employees. Providing annual employee health screening tests to make your employees aware of underlying health issues and help them avoid larger health problems in the future is also a part of these initiatives.
Such initiatives can lead to an 80% enhancement in organisational performance if done correctly. Though these initiatives may appear more complex to integrate into the workplace, the expense of unhealthy personnel is ultimately a greater problem.
Build a culture of health
Encourage your employees to exercise on a regular basis. Motivate them to join jogging clubs, gain access to gyms and other facilities, or just make little daily decisions that benefit their health, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Provide enough room for your employees to breathe and be present. Access to natural light, comfortable office seats, and ergonomic workstations all help to keep your staff engaged and healthy.
Leaders must create a work environment that promotes mental health through compassionate leadership, frequent breaks, one-on-one conversations, and other such measures.
Incorporate mindfulness into your wellness programmes
When it comes to a more comprehensive approach to your company's employee health programme, mindfulness is a good place to begin.
Despite the fact that mindfulness isn't difficult to develop or practise, it might be tough for novices to know where to begin. An ideal starting point is a company-sponsored course in mindfulness, meditation, or yoga.
It is possible to practise mindfulness in any setting, including a cubicle, a desk, or even a conference room. Leaders can also engage workers by including some mindfulness exercises into their next meeting or outing or directing them into some easy breathing exercises or yoga positions at the end or beginning of a meeting to help them focus.
It's common for firms and organisations to be unsure of how to identify and cultivate a compassionate leadership style and workplace culture. By focusing on their employees’ most basic need – good health – they can kickstart the transformation to a compassionate workplace.