Research shows that employees who feel they have higher well-being are more likely to be engaged in their work, see a future with their employer and recommend them as great places to work.
Drawing upon decades of data and interview with 25 million employees, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton succinctly summarized why an organization’s employee turnover may be high. He said: “The single biggest decision you make in your job--bigger than all the rest--is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits--nothing."
In their report, 2013 State of the American Workplace Employee Engagement Study, Gallup identified four traits of successful managers discussed in this Inc. article:
- They are honest and transparent.
- They are supportive.
- They recognize the talents and strengths of their tribe.
- They display empathy.
Managers/supervisors have the ability and flexibility to identify, communicate, integrate, and utilize vast resources, coupled with their own discretion and management style, to create an environment/culture with systems supporting employee well-being. In addition to supporting a workday worth living and treating people as diverse multi-dimensional human beings, there is a strong business case for embracing worklife and well-being in a managerial style:
- Supportive managers are the most important predictor of well-being and associated engagement in employees. (Limeade Report 2016)
- A strong manager relationship leads to more productive, efficient and loyal employees who create less conflict.
- When employees feel their employer cares about their well-being, they’re 38% more engaged.
- 60% of survey respondents said their relationship with the employer positively impacts their focus or productivity at work, with 44% saying it positively impacts their stress levels. (Virgin Pulse Survey 2015)
- Employees rate their relationships with direct supervisors as more important to job satisfaction than benefits.
The biggest human capital gains come not from reports, meetings or quotas, but on a humanistic managerial style, which is essentially worklife in action. This support and empathy can come in the form of providing resources to the expectant parent or returning breastfeeding mom, creating flex around lunch for an employee who wants to attend a campus support group for caregivers, providing financial education to staff to extend their paycheck, simple recognitions, listening, autonomy and guidance, supporting professional development, or encouraging people to utilize their vacation/sick time.
Work, Family & Health Network (WFHN), a transdisciplinary research effort created by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pilot work found that workers supervised by family-supportive managers were significantly more likely to experience lower levels of work-family conflict, higher job satisfaction, lower intention to change jobs, and higher reports of physical and mental health. All of which will lead to a more productive and engaged employee.
Over and over, these are the important bits and pieces we heard from our staff appreciating these little things that mean so much.
- Quotes we have received that illustrate worklife champions in action:
"She cares and goes out of her way to make sure I'm happy in my position, have opportunities for growth, and have the support I need at work and outside of work."
"He encourages his employees to balance productivity, accountability, happiness and family values on a daily basis."
"Provides me the space I need to complete tasks, but always makes it clear that she is there for me if I need her."
"She recognizes that we all have personal lives and need some flexibility to deal with health issues, caring for an aging parent, and unexpected crises that happen to anyone with a home."
"She trusts her staff to put in their 40 hours/week and be conscientious, with the flexibility to balance the home life as well."
"He encourages development and growth by asking questions, rather than simply providing answers, so that we can think creatively ourselves."
"As a group we are all very busy - but she's definitely shown a side to all of us that recognizes that family needs are a priority as they arise and that we will find ways to get work done by helping each other."
"She recognizes our hard work, promotes sick and vacation leave to "recharge" so we avoid feeling burned out, and creates a culture of support within all of our projects."
"She always encourages me to grow and gives me new tasks to develop myself further."
"He is a model of integrity. He treats everyone as individuals who have value and deserve respect."
"I like how he encourages us to walk on our breaks. It’s great to get away from your desk and breathe a little fresh air."
"Our supervisor implemented some work from home policies that benefited the entire department and was inclusive of everyone's varying schedules."
- Quotes we have received that share the results of these championing efforts:
"I would not still be able to work if it were not for having such a supportive, understanding, and encouraging supervisor."
"The staff truly appreciate it and it builds loyalty and a collaborative spirit. This is truly a great place to work."
"Because we feel seen and respected as whole people, this boosts morale and enables us to bring our full selves to our work."
"I feel valued here at UC Davis, and I know my work has an impact, because she has provided a space for me and my peers to flourish."
"Feeling supported at work to take some time off to walk my children to school or pick them up on their first da"y has meant so much to me."
"I don't have to feel stressed in my personal life because she allows me the time I need to take care of my family. I don't have to feel stressed at work because she gives me the support I need to do my job and backs me up. This makes me want to do an exceptionally good job for her and UC Davis."
"I believe I would not have had any success at my job without her support and guidance."
"Our unit has an excellent reputation across campus and I believe it is due to the hard work and efforts that she has made over the years to ensure that employee morale is high and that everyone's voice is heard equally."
"It is appreciated more than she could ever know."
"Since she is so supportive and trusting, it makes me want to go above and beyond for her and UC Davis."
"If I was a supervisor, I would like to be like her."
"She is fair, understanding, motivational, and knows how to get the best out of me."
"The work that we do feels more purposeful, visible, and appreciated since she has been in this position. Morale in our unit has significantly improved, which I attribute directly to her leadership and supervision."
"She makes her staff feel appreciated and valuable. I have never worked for a manager quite like her and I feel privileged to be part of her team."
"Our team's productivity and morale has blossomed."
"Her guidance, support and constant concern for our wellness is such a strength for our unit. When your own life is centered and balanced, and you feel support from those around you, your work improves and you are able to get things done and not be distracted."
"Most of all she really does care about the well-being of her staff and makes our work place feel welcoming and positive, no matter how stressful the day can get."
"I am certain that the culture in our program adds measurably to our productivity and work-life satisfaction."