How can you be reassured that the employer offering a job has a handle on well being if you were to join their organisation? With high levels of insecurity in the workplace, what affect will this have on you as a job seeker if stress is currently the number one reason for sickness absence in the UK? Which is worse – unhealthy stress in a job or looking for a job?
You would think it was a seller’s job market with a high unemployment rate and increasing redundancies. That means a lot of people applying for limited opportunities. But even for the lucky ones who succeed, this
generation is simply not going to stay if they find the company rhetoric doesn’t match their experience.
So, many employers are increasingly giving attention to the health and well being of their employees. Well being takes a holistic view of a person and encompasses their mental, physical, emotional and sometimes spiritual fitness. For me, the phrase ‘work life balance’ is a misnomer – there is only life and it includes work.
These days many of us face competing pressures, such as family and work, the cost of living, social mobility, the speed of technological change and information overload. How well we respond to these pressures can depend on how well we adapt to, and are satisfied with, our rapidly changing environment. If we don’t adapt well, we often become stressed.
Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit, and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.
Brian Dyson (former CEO of Coca Cola)
If people are not functioning properly, they become a potential risk and a cost to employers. Litigation and
industrial tribunals are now commonplace. The average cost to an employer of sickness absence is about £700 per employee, with variations depending on the sector (CIPD 2009), and £9 billion in lost earnings for the UK economy from depression (Mental Health Foundation 2010).
GenY are increasingly looking at potential employers and establishing the extent to which they provide a healthy environment where all employees are supported to develop and utilise their skills and abilities to their full potential.
If you are a good researcher, you will look at retention rates and any published staff surveys. When choosing a particular employer, consider how much support it gives to its employees, including health and welfare benefits and if there is access to an occupational health service.
Here are some common indicators that act as possible warning signs for employees’ health and well being and which may prompt questions from you to employers:
- Being able to cope with the demands of the job
- Having an adequate say over how work is done
- Having adequate support from colleagues/bosses
- Understanding their roles and responsibilities
- Not being subjected to unacceptable behaviours
- Being involved in any organisational changes
You can prepare your awareness of health and well being before interviews by:
Demonstrating how you maintain your own health and fitness and how you have supported the well-being of colleagues in the past
Exploring your understanding of different personalities/work styles and your response to stress
Exploring what energises and motivates you
Giving evidence of resilience – the ability to deal with whatever is thrown at you and to remain emotionally and physically in control so that you can operate well under pressure.
What is your well being dashboard showing right now – red, amber or green?
David Shindler is the author of “Learning to Leap, a Guide to Being More Employable”, HotHiveBooks. An
experienced coach, consultant and facilitator, David helps people at any life stage accelerate their employability and and works with organisations on realising their people’s talents. He runs the Learning to Leap LinkedIn group, a Facebook fan page and also owns the Employability Hub, an online resource for employability. Contact him for more details by tweeting him @daShcoaching or via his website at www.employabilitycoaching.co.uk.
Thank you David for your time and we look forward to future tops tips from the seasoned Employability professional that you are…