“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”– Aristotle
Over the last few years, the world of work has seen a drastic shift in the way we work and most importantly the environment that we work in. It is to be expected as the rise of stress levels and anxiety began to rise in the workplace, corporates have recognized that it is their responsibility, as well as the employee, to create an environment that is positive and promotes well-being. In many corporate offices around the world, you can now see wellbeing corners with sleep capsules (for daytime naps), healthy food options, fitness and daycare facilities, discounts to wellness programs, and much more. And, although these are great incentives, employees still may find themselves at struggle to adjust to a fast-paced world of work and overload of information (technology) that we are surrounded by. Perhaps the answer is in creating positive change, establishing a support network and provide continuous learning opportunities to drive wellbeing in the workplace.
In the recent Harvard Business Review article, it was mentioned that retention of employees suffers due to the lack of the right development opportunities. Many companies are implementing trainings and “the main issue here is that many of these programs aren’t designed with the user, or the employee, in mind. ” Furthermore, these trainings take place as traditional ways of learning, packed in two to three days sessions for hours at a time with little to no impact on the employees’ skills development and overall business. When employees are not learning or have trouble implementing new practices and habits, it will decrease their motivation at work and thus create a negative mindset about the workplace.
Next, with the decrease in motivation, employees might experience lower energy levels and potential anxiety, or even depression, if they are not able to grow and thrive in their positions. This can cause a great deal of stress for the individual and often causing them to leave the company or act out in negative ways. This is well explained by a theory of cognitive dissonance which is described as a condition of stress, or a feeling of inner discomfort caused by conflicting ideas, values, beliefs or practices. When cognitive dissonance is unaddressed in the workplace, it can cause employees to withdraw from their workplace, push for negative or inappropriate behavior, and impact individual’s health.
Furthermore, if this is not addressed on time, another vital area this can have an undesirable impact on is the company culture and employee loyalty. If the company does not address these challenges, it can lead to high turnover (revolving door company), short sighted teams, and ultimately increase in spending and profits loss for the company.
What if one way to achieve the goal of employee retention, well-being, and development is through helping them create new habits and thus implementing positive, lasting change? Change is possible; however, real, transformative change is challenging for most people. Why is it difficult? Because we have lived in a certain way and practiced certain habits for many years, and when it is time to change those habits, we expect that it will happen quick and rarely does it turn out this way. And, if doesn’t happen as quick as we expect it to, we give up and fall into the same patterns, same life direction.
This is where the support network comes in; for example, companies can bring in external coaches and trainers to work with their employees on creating new habits and implementing new learnings. According to Jeffrey Schwartz, a neuroscientist and author, he states that in order for us to make a change that lasts it will depend on how much attention we give to the thing we want to change or what he calls “attention density”. It relates to the concept that when you focus on a specific area for improvement, you will improve in that area. As the saying goes, “water is greenest where you water it”.
By implementing coaching and mentoring in the workplace it will help the individual increase the attention density by creating a safe space for them to reflect, discuss their goals, ask them insightful questions, and hold them accountable. Further, by applying neuroscience habit creation principles, companies will benefit as their employees will be equipped with the right tools to make positive changes in their work.
By equipping employees with the right tools and approach to positive and impactful habit creations, as well as providing them the right support, companies will have higher satisfaction rates across board and create work environments that are truly positive and promote well-being at work.
Supporting corporations to fast-track talent development while bringing positive wellness impact in the work place is at the core of what we do at BESSERN. Come meet our team on March 3 in Dubai at the Wellbeing at Work Event. Contact us - we have a special discount for our network
Bessern Partner & Global Talent Development Adviser