Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Well-being at Work: CIPD Perspective

At the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's seminar on Well-being at Work back in July this year, stress and trauma expert Dr Noreen Tehrani presented the CIPD's employee well-being model which incorporates five domains - Physical, Emotional, Personal Development, Organisation and Values.

Having spoken to many organisations about well-being, we know that many go little further than the physical domain, providing subsidised gym-membership, healthy options on the canteen menu, and perhaps support to give up smoking. The fact that the CIPD model goes well beyond the physical domain is therefore a great step forward we think.

Many organisations also believe that they tick the boxes when it comes to the other four domains (Emotional, Personal Development, Organisation and Values) - they are after all committed to open and honest communications (...we have yet to find one which isn't...), they have a statement of company values on their website, they provide staff training and coaching, and perhaps even flexible working.

But employee well-being is both more and less than this. When I've asked business leaders and HR managers about their policy on psychological well-being, there are usually two responses: they either look blank or they say brightly "we provide counselling through our Employee Assistance Programme". To us this completely misses the point.

Psychological well-being is not about solving people's problems, it's about creating an organisation culture where people thrive and flourish. Your company might provide an enormous amount of tangible benefits, yet it still might fall short on the psychological aspects of well-being.

The CIPD well-being model touches on this (p8) but we don't believe it's sufficiently bold enough to get business leaders really thinking differently about how their organisations are run in reality. For example, think about the organisation or department that you manage at the moment: hand on heart can you honestly say that your employees are thriving and flourishing at work?

It could be that the CIPD's approach to the employee/organisational well- being debate is deliberately softly softly. If so we look forward to further developments very soon.

Get in touch if you want to find out more about our approach to organisational well-being or our workshops for coaches or HR managers.

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