In our fast-paced business world, achieving a work–life balance is an increasing challenge. People at every level of an organisation face constant pressures and stress factors, such as the inability to ‘switch off’ from technology and work mode; and the heightened expectations of colleagues, customer and suppliers.

Safe Work Australia reports that stress-related work issues cost the Australian economy $14.8 billion a year. Up to $9.8 billion of this is directly linked to decreased productivity, resulting from stress-related absenteeism.

Given that adults spend the majority of their lives in the workplace, stress management is an important consideration for job performance. People with effective stress management techniques are better equipped to deal with the emotional demands of the workplace and bounce back from negative experiences. They are also more likely to get engaged in their role, work collaboratively with others, stay motivated, and aspire to grow and expand their skillset.

CEOs, by creating a supportive culture for your employees and encouraging individuals to take time out for self-care and stress management, you can build strong and long-lasting relationships with your people. In turn, this will create loyal brand advocates for your organisation, with employees staying for longer and taking less unplanned leave.

An ideal way to achieve this is through a holistic and integrated approach to health and wellbeing, whereby individuals are treated as unique individuals with specific needs.

Here are my top three tips for how CEOs can encourage employee self-care and create loyal brand advocates via a holistic health focus:

  1. Create a supportive culture that prioritises health and wellbeing

    For executives today, boosting productivity in the workplace means prioritising employee health and wellbeing. To make this happen, it’s crucial to create a nurturing and supportive culture for your people, with holistic health and wellbeing at the forefront of conversation and practice. Remember that having the right conversations is only the beginning — you need to ‘walk the talk’, and turn words into actions.

    Integrated wellness programs help to foster employee health at all levels. Some examples include nutrition seminars, yoga classes, Float Therapy sessions, remedial massage and full health checks with a Naturopath. By focusing on an individual’s specific needs, holistic health programs help employees to manage stress in ways that work best for them. These programs can also be tailored to suit your organisation’s goals and objectives.

  2. Be accountable for employee stress

    To transform work culture, improve performance and enhance employees’ self-care and stress management strategies, CEOs need to be accountable for how employee stress plays out in specific roles. Consider whether the right people are assigned to the right roles, and how this may impact an individual’s job satisfaction and stress levels.

    Employees in the roles most suited to their specific needs — with room to progress in the future — are less likely to be stressed and disengaged at work. A 2014 study by Deloitte found that there is a growing concern about the ‘overwhelmed employee’ phenomenon. While some workplace stress is normal, CEOs need to rethink individual job roles and responsibilities from the bottom up. Are tasks designated fairly and equally across your organisation? Are duties assigned to the people with the most suitable skills, qualifications and experience?

  3. Model self-care and stress management strategies

    CEOs need to be positive role models for employees, implementing self-care and stress management on a personal level, as well as encouraging these strategies among employees. ‘Walking the talk’ will help you to build authentic relationships grounded in trust. This in turn will lead to a cohesive and health-conscious team, who work together to find new ways of keeping stress at bay.

    CEOs, by motivating and empowering others to engage in self-care, you can create loyal brand advocates in both your established and future workforce. By understanding and addressing the needs of your team, it’s likely that your employees will be more engaged and emotionally invested in their roles. Showing that you care about your workers will increase your team’s loyalty, commitment and drive to succeed. This will build a tight-knit team of professionals aligned with the goals of your business — a talent pool who stay for longer and advocate your organisation to others.