The impact of cutting back on corporate health can be disastrous and hard to recover from financially. It isn’t just workplace injury and general illness—mental stress claims are the most expensive form of workers’ compensation. These claims result in workers often being absent from work for extended periods, often without a clear resolution.

The result? Mental stress costs Australian businesses more than $10 billion per year.

But while we know the facts and statistics, the challenge that many companies face is defining what a healthy workplace actually looks like. Personal and company culture hand in hand with a healthy bottom line.

Regardless of automation, scaleability and an ever-increasing virtual workforce—personal performance, culture and connection are the key to sustainable success.

3 important reminders for your healthy workplace

  1. Know the warning signs

    Often companies that experience rapid growth, change of ownership, buy-out or integration lack a continuity between culture that helps support changes. Pay attention to subtle signs within your organisation.

    • What motivates your staff as individuals? Are you able to meet these needs on a basic level?
    • Look out for the ‘show-up’ mentality—people turning up but not actually doing anything.
    • Financial and leadership decisions become blurred as people are stressed, overworked and overwhelmed
    • Without a true culture of transparency people hide their exhaustion, lack of knowledge or concerns about change and do not step up with initiative. This is the leadership squeeze.
    • Exhausted employees make mistakes—this could be machinery, financial deals, hiring the wrong people, getting into workplace disputes or breaching codes of conduct.
  2. Planning mindset, communication, safety and leadership updates alongside your financial succession planning is crucial.

    It’s much easier to tweak a plan than have to re-write or go into damage control

    Know your business landscape—all companies, markets and industries go through peaks and troughs. Look ahead, watch for trends and create a wellbeing plan and leadership culture program that you can sustain when finances are tight.

    Build a program around the bare minimum investment, resource, time and contribution the organisation can afford. Think outside the box and stop going for statement programs that tick box for governance—work with experts that can tailor a workplace wellbeing program that fits your productivity plans and your people.

    There are huge financial repercussions for an organisation when it doesn’t pay attention to a healthy workplace culture. The challenge is identifying the cracks as they appear and creating a plan that works just as well in tight economic environments as well as when the cash is flowing.

3 ways to build a healthy workplace

Dial back the fuss and focus on personal performance for your company.

1. Be clear

Define what great looks like—personally with your teams, culturally as a company and financially as a business. You need time and patience. A plan that works in the worst financial conditions so it can be consistently available to your teams.

2. Build a healthy culture into your budget

Identify your bare minimum KPIs and level of investment you are prepared to do to support internal communications, events, memberships and elements that provide your employees support to be healthy, wealthy and wise. This allows you to deliver a program you can commit to time and time again. It builds trust, certainty and a sense of momentum.

3. Keep it simple

Stop trying to implement convoluted wellness programs, Safety and Leadership initiatives that do not allow input or extensive rules, and guidelines that no one understands.

  • What are the mandatory functional elements that need to happen day-to-day?
  • How can you interweave a strategic alliance and connection within teams and between departments?
  • What values do you instil from leadership that filter down authentically throughout the organisation? Offer immediate reviews, easy milestone check-ins and the much-needed human element of really asking people how they are doing (and your staff to feel safe to tell you)?

4. Are you rewarding your employees with elements that match their values?

Having a matrix of financial/time with family/personal development and promotion opportunities on a sustainable level an individual can choose from depending on what resonates with them the most.

Is this relevant to your teams as individuals?

Will it help them perform better in their roles?

What can they learn at work that will help them at home?

Workplace wellbeing should be seamlessly integrated into structures, locations, staff and your business landscape. The biggest asset any organisation has is its people. When you get back to basics, and implement an agile approach the results can be magic. A healthy workplace will also save you money, empower your teams and shift your organisational performance up a whole other level.