Clear Review has joined Advanced - Discover our full suite of powerful and innovative people management solutions

Find out more
Back to blog

How to get your managers onboard with employee wellbeing

unhappy employee header image

Since the start of the 2020 pan­dem­ic, there’s been a rise in well­be­ing con­ver­sa­tions at work. Data from Clear Review showed that since March 2020, well­be­ing as a top­ic has shot up in check-in conversations.

(Source: Clear Review)

We hope going for­ward this surge in well­be­ing con­ver­sa­tions nor­malis­es talk­ing about well­be­ing in orga­ni­za­tions and that a focus on well­be­ing remains an inte­gral part of work­ing life. How­ev­er, to ensure that you are pri­or­i­tiz­ing well­be­ing, there needs to be a shift in the way orga­ni­za­tions do things. Man­agers are key to ensur­ing employ­ee well­be­ing. Orga­ni­za­tions and HR must train man­agers to pri­ori­tise well­be­ing in their team, to ensure this is not anoth­er failed initiative.”

Types of man­agers and how they can sup­port wellbeing

Employ­ee well­be­ing is heav­i­ly influ­enced by their imme­di­ate team and most impor­tant­ly their man­ag­er. But not all man­agers are cre­at­ed alike. Rang­ing from inspir­ing lead­ers to acci­den­tal man­agers, your orga­ni­za­tion most like­ly has a mixture. 

Why does this mat­ter? Con­sid­er­ing all man­agers will have a dif­fer­ent lev­el of con­fi­dence and exper­tise in man­ag­ing well­be­ing, we can­not just sim­ply apply a one-fits-all think­ing to improv­ing well­be­ing. We find that most of your man­age­ment pop­u­la­tion will fit into three buckets. 

The Acci­den­tal Manager

How to iden­ti­fy them?

This is some­one who has become a man­ag­er due to tenure or because some­one had to do’ the job. They are not nec­es­sar­i­ly nat­ur­al lead­ers and haven’t been trained to be man­agers either. Man­agers who don’t have time for non-core activ­i­ty’ or begin con­ver­sa­tions with HR told me to talk to you about this’ most like­ly fall into this category.

Your role as HR:

You will need to coax, cajole, coach and chal­lenge these man­agers into bet­ter behav­iour. Explain what is in it for them (WIITFM). Peo­ple who have high well­be­ing lev­els are more pro­duc­tive and per­form bet­ter. One Sales­force report revealed that employ­ees who feel their voice is heard at work are 4.6 times more like­ly to feel empow­ered to per­form their best work. You need to under­stand whether hav­ing well­be­ing con­ver­sa­tions is some­thing they can’t do’ or some­thing that they won’t do’. If it’s the for­mer, coach them and give them the resources to get them to the can do’ stage. If it’s the lat­ter, use exam­ples of oth­er man­agers and explain that as a peo­ple man­ag­er this is expect­ed of them.

Com­pa­nies that are doing this:

Fran­cis Lake from Vir­gin Mon­ey explains how nor­mal­is­ing well­be­ing con­ver­sa­tions between man­agers and employ­ees has been crit­i­cal for them. 

Check-ins should be non-threat­en­ing. To do that, the first thing to cov­er off in your check-ins is whether you are on track. Once that is out of the way, the rest of the check-ins should be about the whole per­son and well­be­ing is crit­i­cal. We start­ed mak­ing well­be­ing part of a check in, and our think­ing on that is that if we nor­malise it, then when times are bad, you are more like­ly to have that con­ver­sa­tion. It means it’s okay to have a con­ver­sa­tion about how some­one is doing.”

One way you could start includ­ing well­be­ing in your check-ins is by hav­ing tem­per­a­ture checks at the start. This is some­thing we do at Clear Review. Tem­per­ate checks are a way of employ­ees let­ting you know how they feel on a scale of 1 – 10. To help talk more about that, you could ask what would make you score one high­er? This can help open up the con­ver­sa­tion to see what things you can do as a man­ag­er to sup­port your employee. 

Your tools:

To nor­malise well­be­ing con­ver­sa­tions, some of the tools you can use are 1 – 1 Guid­ance and coach­ing prompts. This can help give acci­den­tal man­agers the tools they need to start think­ing about how they inte­grate well being into con­ver­sa­tions with their employees. 

You can also take a look at our webi­nar on how to have well­be­ing conversations.

Down­load well­be­ing prompts for discussion:

The Will­ing and Train­able Majority

How to iden­ti­fy them?

A large pro­por­tion of your man­agers should fall into this cat­e­go­ry. They may be new man­agers or already have expe­ri­ence but they take peo­ple man­age­ment seri­ous­ly. The will­ing major­i­ty will be look­ing to you for your help and guid­ance and will be much more engaged with HR ini­tia­tives than The Acci­den­tal Manager’.

Your role as HR:

Focus on build­ing their con­fi­dence and com­pe­tence and remind­ing them why this is worth doing. One way to do this is to team them up with your well­be­ing advo­cates Super­heros’ so that they can learn from them. Recog­nis­ing their work so that they remem­ber why this is worth doing is key. Reg­u­lar feed­back and easy to use and find resources will be your best friend.

Com­pa­nies that are doing this:

Inter­na­tion­al prop­er­ty con­sul­tant firm, Ger­ald Eve, uses feed­back to sup­port well­be­ing through coach­ing style con­ver­sa­tions. They’ve done this by using Clear Review to encour­age and embrace coach­ing and men­tor­ing style feed­back and con­ver­sa­tions, in order to under­stand their peo­ple bet­ter. This focus towards improv­ing employ­ee engage­ment and well­be­ing has been cel­e­brat­ed with a win at the EG Awards, wht Ger­ald Eve win­ning Employ­er of the year.”

Hav­ing resources read­i­ly avail­able for your man­agers and sign­post­ing them to it is impor­tant, accord­ing to Beth Sam­son from Investors in Peo­ple. In one of our well­be­ing webi­na­rs, Beth explains how sign­post­ing can help direct man­agers to the right resources so that they can sup­port their team, with­out rely­ing on HR.

Your tools:

Team­ing them up with oth­er well­be­ing advo­cates in your organization

Down­load self-reflec­tion tool for man­agers and employees

Download self-reflection tool

The Super­hero – The Enlight­ened Advocate

How to iden­ti­fy them?

For the most part you will know who these peo­ple are. They see their team’s well­be­ing and suc­cess as their pri­or­i­ty. You will have prob­a­bly heard great feed­back from oth­ers about their col­lab­o­ra­tive and inclu­sive man­age­ment style. If they were to ask for some­thing from you it would be Trust and empow­er me to get on with it”.

Your role as HR:

Trust, release, empow­er and use them to cross-pol­li­nate great well­be­ing prac­tices in the orga­ni­za­tion. Don’t con­strain them with unnec­es­sary process or bureau­cra­cy and trust them to get it right. Cel­e­brate their work and use their meth­ods as com­pa­ny best prac­tice’ and most impor­tant­ly involve them in con­sul­ta­tion and deci­sion mak­ing when it comes to new well­be­ing initiatives.

Com­pa­nies that are doing this:

One of the ways you could do this is by dis­cussing with your man­agers, how you can incor­po­rate well­be­ing into objec­tives. This is some­thing that Wes­leyan is doing. They have well­be­ing objec­tives which are part of per­son­al devel­op­ment objec­tives. This ensures that their teams well­be­ing and suc­cess is a pri­or­i­ty. They use the Clear Review sys­tem — which they have inter­nal­ly brand­ed as Thrive — to sup­port well­be­ing prac­tices in their orga­ni­za­tion as well as cel­e­brate their work. For exam­ple, with­in a few months of using Clear Review, they’ve had over 300 well-being objec­tives set, focus­ing on main­tain­ing men­tal & phys­i­cal health, giv­ing back and improv­ing work-life balance.

Cel­e­brat­ing the feed­back these man­agers get is also a great way to share what these man­agers are doing. You could hold well­ness ses­sions where these man­agers share their best prac­tice with the rest of the organization.

Your tools:

Inter­nal Comms – cel­e­brate what these man­agers do

Involve them in con­ver­sa­tions about well­be­ing initiatives

Down­load our well­be­ing ses­sion for man­agers to run with their team

Download wellbeing session

What can organ­i­sa­tions do to make well­be­ing a pri­or­i­ty across the organisation?

Although man­agers are cru­cial to ensur­ing employ­ee well­be­ing, there are some things that organ­i­sa­tions can do to make it part of the com­pa­ny cul­ture. We’ve spo­ken to mul­ti­ple organ­i­sa­tions about how they are sup­port­ing their employ­ees’ well­be­ing. Here are some exam­ples of things you could do. 

Have a ded­i­cat­ed team that are well­be­ing advo­cates and can sup­port managers

Some ways in which you can embed the impor­tance of well­be­ing into the organ­i­sa­tion is by hav­ing a ded­i­cat­ed team that cham­pi­ons these con­ver­sa­tions. At Clear Review for exam­ple, we have The Guardians who are made up from one mem­ber of each team. They are there to uphold the company’s val­ues and com­mit­ments and sup­port well­be­ing through­out the organ­i­sa­tion. Sim­i­lar­ly, Beth Sam­son at Investors in Peo­ple talks about how vol­un­teers from their organ­i­sa­tion have teamed up to sup­port employ­ees. Each per­son has at least one oth­er per­son that they check in with reg­u­lar­ly to make sure they are okay. 

Talk about well­be­ing and hold ses­sions where peo­ple can learn more

Talk­ing about well­be­ing reg­u­lar­ly as a com­pa­ny is also impor­tant if you want your employ­ees to know that it is a pri­or­i­ty. You could hold ses­sions where you dis­cuss well­be­ing and how to improve it. Employ­ee well­be­ing is real­ly impor­tant to us at Clear Review and to help talk about it more, we have month­ly Well­ness Wednes­days. These are com­pa­ny-wide ses­sions that we have every month or some­times twice a month, where we dis­cuss dif­fer­ent things that may impact our well­be­ing — every­thing from men­tal health to things like finan­cial wellbeing.

Offer Coach­ing

Although feed­back is a great way to incor­po­rate men­tor­ing and coach­ing style con­ver­sa­tions, it’s also impor­tant to incor­po­rate coach­ing style con­ver­sa­tions in check ins. To help man­agers have coach­ing con­ver­sa­tions you could go through coach­ing prompts and run train­ing ses­sions with them. You could also offer coach­ing to all employ­ees to help sup­port them with per­son­al devel­op­ment and career conversations.

Learn more about how your man­agers can get on board with well­be­ing conversations

Watch our webi­nar where our pan­el of experts will be dis­cussing how man­agers can get behind well­be­ing con­ver­sa­tions and sup­port their employ­ees. We will be joined by Natasha Wal­lace of Con­scious Works, AllY Ill­s­ley from BT, Daniel Proc­ter from Waltham For­est Coun­cil and Emma Foote, from Clear Review.

wellbeing webinar on how managers can support wellbeing