no pity

Compassion (with ‘C’ as the third letter in the ‘organizational culture’ alphabet) is often mistakenly equated with pity, but it’s certainly not that. Compassion is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In a corporate culture, compassion is not so much a moral as it is a strategic necessity.

When companies focus on compassion, it means that both leaders and employees pay attention to the needs, challenges, and well-being of colleagues. Integrating empathy into your core values creates an environment where employees feel valued and supported. This leads to increased job satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity on one hand, and increased customer satisfaction on the other.

For example, Salesforce, known for its ‘Ohana Culture,’ emphasizes building familial support within the organization. Their initiatives include mindfulness zones and well-being programs that extend to family members.

In short; organizations that hold compassion in high regard inherently focus more on the well-being of their employees.

mental wellbeing

Almost everyone agrees, but almost nobody does it: promoting mental well-being within the organization. Lack of mental well-being can be considered a pandemic in itself, it is sometimes said. One in two Belgians says they have experienced a depressive state at work. According to Gartner, addressing employees’ mental well-being is the fifth future trend in the field of work in 2023.

However, it recently emerged that most companies do consider the mental well-being of their employees important, but do not want to invest more in it. Besides investments, there is often also a lack of insights that can improve mental well-being. Standalone initiatives such as a yoga session or an off-site team day can certainly contribute, but the effects are often fleeting.

When mental well-being is encouraged, other aspects such as engagement, productivity, and physical health also improve.

The path to better mental well-being is challenging. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are several things that can be rolled out broadly that most employees will benefit from. Coaching is an essential aspect in this regard. Whether it concerns collaboration between colleagues and (direct) managers or substantive challenges regarding a task or assignment, employees feel more appreciated when they can turn to someone for this.

In such coaching trajectories, there is often a lack of the right analytical insights as a starting point and a shared language to make those insights practically visible. In evaluation meetings, one often sees that people fall back on two topics: “small talk” and salary. Issues that matter, such as (hard and soft) skills, are rarely discussed.

Stimulating employees’ mental well-being requires a skills-based approach to looking at individual job content and collaboration with team members and leaders.

satisfied but not engaged

Satisfied employees are not necessarily engaged employees. Vice versa, engaged employees are not necessarily satisfied employees.

Satisfied employees could be happy with their paychecks, the fact that the company is close to where they live, and enjoy their colleagues’ company. Even satisfied employees could be mentally disconnected from their job, while doing the bare minimum. Meaning satisfied employees aren’t necessarily engaged with their actual job, hence less productive.

Inversely, employees who are engaged with their job could be dissatisfied with the company, their managers, and their salary.

Ideally, satisfied employees are engaged, and vice versa. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

they will fluctuate

What do stock markets and wellbeing have in common?

They will fluctuate.

The elder JP Morgan got tired of people asking him what the stock market would do. So he deferred to a standard reply, saying; it would fluctuate.

Food, hormones, sleep… just three out of a gazillion parameters, all influence our wellbeing, whether in our personal or our professional lives. The global economy has likely a comparable amount of affecting parameters.

Just because they will fluctuate doesn’t mean we should undergo it all passively. Control what you can with a strategical approach.

Companies, be smart about employee wellbeing. Gather all the required data you can, and act on it.