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Supporting employee wellbeing | Birmingham City Council

Supporting employee wellbeing

  1. Be vulnerable: the pandemic has normalised mental health challenges. Almost everyone has experienced some level of discomfort. Being honest about your mental health struggles as a leader opens the door for employees to feel comfortable talking about mental health challenges of their own. Encourage employees to complete a Wellness Action Plan.
  2. Model healthy behaviours: don’t just say you support mental health, but model it so team members feel they prioritise self-care and set boundaries. Share that you’re taking a walk and getting fresh air, suggest walk and talks on phone to have a break from the computer, undertake a mindfulness session, turning of email notifications whilst on leave etc.
  3. Build a culture of connection through check-ins: intentionally checking in (not up) with each of your direct reports on a regular basis is more critical than ever. With so many people working from home, it can be harder to notice signs when someone is struggling. Go beyond “how are you?” and ask specifically what support would be helpful. Wait for a full answer, really listen, encourage questions and concerns. Signpost to BCC’s 4 pillars of support where necessary.
  4. Offer flexibility and be inclusive: expect that the pandemic, your team’s needs, and your own needs will continue to change. Check in regularly and utilise coaching conversations. Normalise and model this new flexibility by highlighting how you’ve changed your own behaviour. Ask team members to be patient and understanding with one another as they adapt. Trust them and assume the best.
  5. Overcommunicate: research shows employees who felt their managers were not good at communicating have been 23% more likely than others to experience mental health declines since the outbreak. Make your team aware of available mental health resources and encourage them to use them. If you’ve shared them once, share them again, i.e. the 4 pillars of support, Covid-19 health & wellbeing intranet pages.
  6. Invest in Training: prioritize proactive and preventive workplace mental health training for leaders, managers, and individual contributors. As more and more employees struggle with mental health, it’s important to debunk common myths, reduce stigma, and build the necessary skills to have productive conversations about mental health at work. iLearn has 7 modules covering heath and wellbeing topics including personal resilience, life transitions, healthy lifestyles, Level 2 mental health first aid & mental health advocacy in the workplace, psychological first aid
  7. Policies & Practices: BCC’s HR department have a number of family friendly, flexible policies to support employees, e.g. supporting mental health and wellbeing policy, shared parental leave, compassionate leave, parental bereavement leave, purchase annual leave scheme policy and procedure, flexible working, sabbatical policy and procedure.
  8. Measure: Ask employees through pulse surveys (create a simple survey in Microsoft Forms) asking some example questions:
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most positive), how would you rate your overall wellbeing levels when you’re at work?
  • How would you describe your work-life balance?
  • How could your manager help improve your work-life balance?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most positive), how would you rate your physical health?
  • What will help you to stay mentally well at work?
  • Which communications methods do you access to find out information? e.g. away days, directorate newsletters, regular team meetings, internal communications.