More than mental health: taking a holistic view of wellbeing

For the latest in our Good Leaders series, we caught up with celebrated author and consultant Liggy Webb at CIPD ACE 2022 to hear her thoughts on the future of employee wellbeing, and why it's crucial that leaders take a holistic approach. Watch the full video interview below.

What are the key wellbeing challenges facing employers and their people today?

Having worked in this arena around workplace wellbeing for many decades now, it's really interesting to see the kind of current climate. I certainly see a lot more stress, moving towards that point of burnout, which I think is highly concerning, and people not having time to prioritise their own self-care. They’re busy people, we’re living in a busy world, and it’s so important that we make time for that.

I believe some of the core issues that are affecting employers and their people are:

  1. We're living with a lot of pressure - there's a huge amount of uncertainty, relentless change, and a certain amount of complexity.

We're living in an age where information anxiety is really quite overwhelming.

All of these things are a kind of recipe, if you like, for taking people to a place where they just feel completely overwhelmed.

How can leaders support their employees through these conditions?

From my experience and my observations, putting people at the heart of every organisation is absolutely crucial. I think there is some perception from some quarters that sometimes don't see this as a solid business investment, but if we invest in the wellbeing of our people and we prioritise time for them to be able to focus on their own self-care, then we're going to have a much more productive, happy, healthy and resilient workforce.

I think some of the harder measurables around wellbeing are also very important because that supports the business investment. But certainly now I’m seeing some really good reporting, some really good evidence of where organisations are evaluating this in a really really successful way. And certainly, organisations like the CIPD, who produce some excellent reports to be able to support the investment of workplace wellbeing, is very heartening.

I have a view that the most important relationship that any of us can have in our lives is our relationship with stress, because when we understand how that stress impacts us, and we take responsibility for what we can do, then that helps us, ultimately, to be more productive. I believe that if there can be a little bit more focus on drawing in more conversations and helping people to feel psychologically safe, to be able to really share how they’re feeling, to create space and time for people to be able to check in with what's going on for them, this can really help.

What does the future of wellbeing look like?

Well it’s interesting when we talk about wellbeing, because for a long time I think we've kind of pigeonholed wellbeing as being about our mental and physical wellbeing. But I believe it's so much more than that. I've actually created a model called the 'seven wisdoms of wellbeing', where we take a much more holistic approach in the pursuit of balanced wellbeing. We look at:

  • emotional wellbeing
  • physical wellbeing
  • social wellbeing
  • financial wellbeing
  • digital wellbeing
  • environmental wellbeing
  • spiritual wellbeing

It's about helping people to find purpose in what they do. And by taking that more holistic approach, it really helps people to be more balanced, to be more sustainable, and to really look at their whole, broader lives. I believe that's really key in the world that we live in.

Any final thoughts?

I'm an evangelist for wellbeing, because I truly believe that when we put people at the heart of our organisation, that that impacts on absolutely everything in terms of the outcomes and the success. My messaging to senior leaders within organisations is to be role models, because when leaders live that kind of lifestyle and they send that message out to people in their organisations, that's how they create a really positive culture of wellbeing.

Watch the full interview:

HubSpot Video


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