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Well-being vs High Performance

A ChampanCG HR Network Poll Commentary

Can a well-being culture coexist with a high-performance culture? The answer is yes, but it is a delicate balance to ensure that one does not come at the expense of the other. 

Well-being, high performance, productivity, and efficiency are all on the same side of the ledger; they work in tandem, not like a seesaw.

Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global

We recently asked HR professionals in our LinkedIn network whether their company promotes a wellness and well-being culture and found quite polarising results. 38% of respondents said this was a top priority, whilst 30% shared that their organisations do not prioritise wellness and well-being. The remaining 32% feel that there are limited initiatives on offer or that those in play are currently being scaled back, presumably as cost and other considerations take precedence. 

Well-being Drives Performance

In the past, a high-performance culture might have come at an acceptable cost of lower morale and higher levels of team burnout. Today, most would argue that well-being is essential for high performance. Hinsta Performance is a coaching company helping top athletes and business professionals achieve sustainable success. In an interview with McKinsey, CEO Annastiina Hintsa shares that one of her biggest revelations was realising that looking after herself was not something that she earnt the right to only after working really hard for a long time. It’s completely the other way around. It’s a prerequisite to be able to perform.

Well-being is the foundation of sustainable high performance—not a reward for it.

Annastiina Hintsa, CEO at Hintsa Performance

Studies have found numerous advantages of a culture which prioritises employee well-being, promotes a healthy work-life balance and focuses on reducing stress and increasing self-care. A positive and supportive work environment where employees feel valued and cared for can improve morale, job satisfaction, engagement and, ultimately, retention. Engaged employees are more likely to be motivated, productive, and committed to their work. According to Gallup they take fewer sick days, deliver higher performance, and have lower rates of burnout and turnover.

Ensuring Well-being in a High-Performing Culture

Six tangible ways to incorporate well-being into a high-performing culture:

  1. Encourage breaks and rest: High-performance cultures often emphasise working hard and long hours, but it’s essential to encourage employees to take short breaks during the workday and to take their vacation time, which can help prevent burnout and improve overall well-being.
  2. Promote work-life balance: High-performing cultures can create an environment where employees must always be available and constantly working. Flexible work arrangements, remote work options, and setting clear expectations around working hours can all safeguard against burnout.
  3. Provide wellness programs: Offering wellness programs such as yoga, meditation, or mindfulness to help employees manage stress, improve mental health, and increase overall well-being.
  4. Offer mental health support: High-performing cultures can be stressful and demanding, affecting employees’ mental health. Offering resources such as counselling services, mental health days, or access to mental health apps can help support employees’ well-being.
  5. Recognition and rewards: High-performing cultures often focus on results, but it’s important to recognise and reward employees for their hard work and achievements. Celebrating successes and showing appreciation for employees can help improve overall well-being and job satisfaction.
  6. Foster a positive workplace culture: A positive workplace culture that values collaboration, communication, and respect can help improve overall employee well-being. Encouraging teamwork and open communication and providing opportunities for professional development can help employees feel valued and supported.

Final Thoughts

When we start seeing well-being as a prerequisite to performance, we can draw clear parallels between a happy, content, motivated team and sustainable business success. Rather than seeing a bit of me-time as a reward after a busy period at work, consider it a warm-up exercise to help boost energy levels for the day ahead. Bring this philosophy to the boardroom, and watch team morale and engagement levels soar.

Do you agree? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.


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