Employee wellbeing: are we providing too much support?

February 5, 2021
Danielle North

‍When it comes to our health, every organisation is made up of people at different stages in their own personal journey.

Right now, some people are on a growth spurt, feeling hungry for development and ready to stretch into something bigger and more meaningful.

On the flip side, some people in your organisation may be close to burnout; others suffering a confidence crisis; whilst some are struggling with the basics like spending time outdoors, getting quality sleep or good nutrition.  

With any programme that promotes solutions to enhance wellbeing, the chances are that the messages are highly relevant to some, highly irrelevant to others and somewhere in the middle for many.  

Imagine someone feeling under pressure with a virtual calendar that leaves barely five minutes for a comfort break, then being asked to attend a one-hour webinar packed with another 15 recommendations that they have no time to implement. What they really need is space to consider actions that will address their over-packed diary or to examine their personal boundaries for instance.

It also goes without saying that people don’t want to be recommended things that aren’t cohesive or congruent to what they’re experiencing from their managers and leaders.  

Minimising the capability to help ourselves  

At the same time, these well intentioned practical ‘tips’ and ‘advice’ type communications could be having a more detrimental subconscious effect for employees. There is an underlying implication that employees need to be looked after, and don’t have the answers themselves or aren’t able to self-diagnose.  That they are unable to intuitively know what's best for themselves and therefore actively influence their own wellbeing.

Advice that is applicable to all  

No matter who the employee is or what their personal situation is, one thing that enhances wellbeing is self-responsibility, and the deep knowing they have the agency to influence their own lives.  

Agency builds capacity, psychological stamina and enables people in be in the driving seat of their own lives.  

Ultimately, people are the best experts on themselves – they know what they like and don’t like. They know what things work for them and what doesn’t.  

So, what if we championed their own intuition, their inner-knowing and innate wisdom to reinforce their confidence that they can significantly help themselves in any one situation – either with some form of practical action or a mindset shift.  

What shifts might occur if we promoted self-sufficiency over a parental-style messaging?  

Inward thinking: Where to start  

If we are going embrace more of an inward-looking philosophy in an organisation, it has to start with leaders acknowledging their place as role models.  

For anyone with this responsibility, it’s important to start with yourself and look within yourself - to be a conscious leader. Leadership at this level is no longer only about sharing your vision and getting people to follow you, but about your ability to shift patterns in the system you lead.  

When you begin to look within and transform your inner world, you can begin creating change in the culture of your organisation. We call this the Twin Journey. The deeper you go within, the greater the shifts you will create in the systems you lead.


This means understanding yourself, showing how you are thinking about your own wellbeing; explaining your thought processes, and sharing your personal journey. It’s about having those 'aha' and breakthrough moments for yourself and explaining what your process is to facilitate them.  

For example, you can share that you booked strategic thinking time in your diary or that you have created a more peaceful and spacious morning routine. Maybe you’ve developed your own ritual of removing virtual meetings for half a day and having dedicated time offline. Whatever you’ve been cultivating; articulate and share it to inspire others.  

What do we want in the future?  

As wellbeing in organisations develops and becomes more of a priority, we want to make sure those entering organisations feel supported and looked after, whilst also having a sense of responsibility and agency.

If a business spoon-feeds too much, there is a risk people don’t take that responsibility or even worse feel patronised by it. It’s here that wellbeing ends up being a blocker to business rather than enabling it.  

On the other hand, if the business helps to provide space, educates on how to cultivate inner wisdom and celebrates the infagacreasing of self-awareness; people can uniquely thrive and enhance a business.  

If you’d like to learn more about how to cultivate a team’s awareness, sign up for our webinar Employee Wellbeing: Engaging Your Team’s Inner Wisdom on Friday 26th Feburary 12pm GMT.  

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