We speak regularly of the importance of Associate wellness and well-being in the workplace. We give a lot of attention to engaging Associates in health building activities, such as daily exercise, weight loss and healthy eating. We ask employees to engage in fitness challenges from time to time to add a little competitive spirit to these fun activities. I am certainly a big believer in these. My wife and I run four to five times each week. We try to log a half-marathon every Spring and Fall. I ride my road bike as often as possible. My family has a “Wall of Pain” in our house that is literally lined with pictures commemorating various race completions. I’m not a nut about this stuff. It is just something we do for fun. Will it make us healthier in the long run? I really don’t know. There are so many variables in that equation, all I can do is what I believe to be the best for my health and well-being. My hope is that you will do the same.
In discussing health, wellness and healthcare with one of the country’s leading experts on corporate benefits, I was reminded that one of the best things we can do to help improve our Associates’ health and well-being is to grow our leaders and improve our culture so that employees are happier at work.
Intuitively I thought this to be sound advice, but I wanted further confirmation, so I dove into the research. The research confirms that leaders, managers and front line supervisors can have an incredibly positive (or negative) impact on, not only on Associate Engagement, but also on their health and well-being.
A well-trained, emotionally intelligent leader/manager can have a positive impact on Associates in the following ways:
- Lower stress
- Working for a toxic boss elevates stress and stress hormones, the effects of which linger as much as 50% longer than task or performance oriented stress.
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved sense of justice and fairness
- Resulting in reduced sickness related absences by 1.2 to 1.9 times
- Increase immunity to illness, which translates into lower absenteeism
- Lower rate of employee depression and/or burnout
- Improved job satisfaction
- Increase in overall life expectancy
- Improved immune system, resulting in fewer illnesses and related absences
- Improved social connections, which improves all the biological and psychological related improvements listed above
- Improved sleep and reduced inflammation, resulting in less fatigue, improved productivity and fewer accidents on the job
The next great question is: What does a well-trained, emotionally intelligent leader do differently than those other types?