Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation
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Success starts with people

13th Jan 2016
Author, Speaker + Strategic Advisor on Innovation
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There’s no escaping it; whatever you do in business, your success or your failure ultimately rests with your people. Whether they are creating great customer experiences, collaborating to come up with innovative solutions, or simply getting on with daily tasks; it is their approach, their attitude, their enthusiasm which drives success.

As a strategic advisor on innovation I’m only too well aware of the part which an organisation’s people have to play in delivering game changing solutions. True, the drive towards innovation has to come from the top, but unless senior teams take the time to share, to empower and to engage, then all they will have done is carry out a meaningless development exercise which is doomed to moulder on the shelf. For success, innovation has to permeate every person and every aspect of the business and that not only means good leadership, it requires i-agents sitting at every level and promoting innovation ideals and it requires a concerted effort to engage people in the innovation strategy.

But it also requires something more; a level of care for your people’s wellbeing which goes way beyond simply ‘have a nice holiday’ or ‘sorry to hear about….’ Now at this stage you may be wondering whether it is worth it. Hopefully you’re not still in the dark days of employees simply being seen as a cost but even if you believe in and practice a measure of employee engagement, adding well-being to the mix may seem like a step too far.

Employee wellbeing in focus

However, authorities such as ACAS believe differently. For example, the section of their website relating to health and well-being says “Healthy and well motivated employees can have an equally positive impact on the productivity and effectiveness of a business.” Adding to the evidence, a Department for Business, Innovation and Skills report in October 2014 which looked to examine whether worker well-being affects workplace performance opens with the comment that “Employee wellbeing is increasingly a focus of government attention in the UK and elsewhere.”

Taking the cynical view, there is also the financial incentive to be gained from boosting employees levels of mental and physical well-being. Employees who are ill or stressed are quite simply not as productive. Employees whose well-being needs are not being met are also more likely to move on to organisations who offer greater levels of care; leaving businesses with the cost of recruiting and training replacements.

The partnership approach

So, how should we approach employee well-being? As with so much in business today, wellbeing should be seen as a partnership, with the employees being supported and empowered to develop wellbeing initiatives.  It’s an approach which is already being successfully used to boost levels of employee engagement and customer excellence and it’s an approach which is an intrinsic part of a culture of collaboration and innovation.

There is no single magic bullet which will guarantee employee well-being. Encouraging healthy eating, providing access to fitness sessions, reviewing the work/life balance, sanitising work surfaces to prevent the spread of colds; whatever the approach it will meet some needs and fall way short of the mark for others. That’s why a partnership approach is more likely to succeed as it enables people to take control of their own well-being. Success starts with people. By successfully empowering them to take control of their own destiny, your people are more likely in turn to actively work towards building a successful and innovative business.

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