BUSINESS IS UNWELL
The business press is littered with headlines like these: 85% of employees say they hate their jobs! Only 13% of people are engaged in their jobs! Upwards of $75B is lost due to poor customer service! It seems clear that our workplaces are ailing and not only for employees but also for customers.
Why is this?
While there are many potential causes, I would argue these three key things as culprits.
- Dehumanization: Organizations have largely forgotten that human beings and helping them achieve success are the reasons business exists. This has led to people, employees and customers alike, being seen largely as objects necessary only for self-interested gain.
- Isolation: Too much isolated competition and not enough inclusive collaboration has made workplaces more about conflict than cooperation, and it has left customers – and employees for that matter – feeling unwelcome and abandoned.
- Red Tape: Complicated bureaucracy with layers of policy and procedure have made almost everything, even things that should be simple, a struggle for both employees and customers.
Can business get well?
I believe it can and it begins with a strategy consisting of mindsets and practices that, through practice and application, lead to health.
Much like how we approach personal wellness by nourishing and nurturing our minds and bodies, Business Wellness is a similar strategy of nourishing and nurturing that involves the ongoing examination and improvement of the ecosystem of an organization to bring value and fulfillment to all stakeholders.
In practice, Business Wellness is about making a company function more effectively by maximizing a focus on the human nature of business, aligning all stakeholders around mutual success, and minimizing effort by distilling down bureaucratic policies and procedures to be as easy, efficient, and effective as possible for both customers and employees.
And the goal? To create better workplaces where employees want to, rather than have to, create better customer experiences and overall business success. The formula is simple: better workplace life means better customer life, and overall, better life… for all of us. This is wellness.
GETTING WELL: THE MODEL
Start the journey to wellness by weaving the following practices into the fabric of your workplace to create an organization your employees and customers want to be part of.
Contrary to the overwhelming focus on profits and shareholder value, businesses are first and foremost in the business of helping people achieve objectives and when this fundamental purpose is recognized and acknowledged, it changes priorities, behaviors, and actions.
In today’s business environment, so much has been reduced to numbers and measurements, profits and losses, and goals and incentives. New technologies and methodologies have given us the ability to track and put a value on almost everything, and this focus on numbers has caused a big problem. It has caused too many organizations to forget that business is fundamentally about helping people. It has caused people to become objects where employees are cogs in a work machine and customers only a means to a profitable end.
Workplaces working towards wellness though are clear that people are the only reason business exists and they prioritize human well-being over the drive for hitting numbers.
COMMIT TO EVERYONE’S SUCCESS
Every day in workplaces the world over, people encounter co-workers and departments working away in silos at their own agendas with little regard for the needs and success of others. However, no matter how competitive and self-focused it gets, all of us, even those in the silos, rely on others at some point and most times not just one person but many. In almost any endeavor, when we help each other and take care of each other we can go farther and solve more problems more effectively than we can alone.
In our workplaces, leaders who understand this do whatever they can to make those on the front line successful so that those team members are free and able to make customers successful. These leaders enable their teams by engaging, empowering, and encouraging team members to bring their own unique set of talents and experiences to the table to lead when the time is right and fitting for their particular strengths.
In this kind of environment, employees feel free to readily pool resources and help each other. They have each other’s backs and look out for one another. When the going gets tough for one and someone else can provide support, they do. Dog-eat-dog competition is replaced by collaborative cooperation in pursuit of common objectives.
This is what it means to commit to everyone’s success, and organizations seeking greater business wellness build their culture on this foundation.
So many workplaces have become overly complicated with bureaucracy and red tape. As businesses grow, they add layer after layer of checks and balances to control costs and minimize mistakes. These layers create difficulties, and when work is difficult, it typically impacts not only employees but also customers by increasing the effort they must make whether in increased wait times or more hoops to jump through.
Workplaces that stay well continuously endeavor to create low effort experiences for both employees and customers.
These are the key ideas behind Wellness for Business. Inside the organization, at its foundation, is 1) clarity around the very human, service purpose of business, 2) a commitment to teammates helping teammates throughout the organization so it can best help customers, and 3) low levels of red tape where things are easy, efficient, and effective for both team members and customers. Outside the enterprise is a resulting army of customer advocates who defend the organization and make it more successful. This is the prescription for wellness and a mission for the future of better workplace life, better customer life, and better life.