Yesterday we noted the important role that line managers can play in helping advance a well-run workplace wellness program — or even simply encouraging a culture of well-being within an organization.
As the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development states: “Line managers are central to the successful implementation of a well-being strategy. They also have a crucial part to play in creating the culture necessary to support a healthy organisation.”
It continues: “Recent research for the DWP1 concludes that small changes in the workplace, particularly on the part of line managers and supervisors, can make a big difference to the well-being of staff.”
A separate report on the site titled “Line manager capability” dives deeper. It notes that “the role of line managers [sits] at the heart of… six indicators of a healthy workplace:”
- “Line managers are confident and trained in people skills.”
- “Employees feel valued and involved in the organisation.”
- “Managers use appropriate health services, for example, occupational health (OH) services, to tackle absence and help people back to work.”
- “Managers promote an attendance culture by conducting return to work discussions with employees returning from sickness absence.”
- “Managers and HR design jobs that are flexible.”
- “Managers are aware and equipped to manage common mental health problems.”
The report continues: “Managers affect employee wellbeing at a number of different levels. For example, a manager’s behaviour directly influences how team members feel about being at work. This can be an adverse effect, for example, if the manager is unclear about individuals’ roles and responsibilities, or sets unrealistic goals and targets. Line managers are also the principal interface between the organisation and individual employees, influencing in his or her behaviour whether employees in the team are protected from excess pressure or other factors that may affect their wellbeing.”
An important key to manager effectiveness, however, is manager engagement. To help advance the goals of a well-run workplace wellness program, the most senior leaders should help engage line managers and encourage their participation in these efforts.
The report states: “Managers, if they are properly trained, supported and know their teams, can also help identify any problems at an early stage, for example, if an employee is struggling at work or exhibiting signs of mental ill health. Finally, managers can usefully be involved in addressing individuals’ wellbeing issues, managing a long-term absence due to a mental health issue, or in persuading an employee to seek help from an EAP or be referred to an occupational health (OH) professional.”