Sir Cary Cooper is a Professor, Psychologist and President of the CIPD. He outlines his views on wellbeing and where he feels are the real problems holding back engagement.
As Lead Scientist on the Foresight Review of Mental Capital and Wellbeing, Cooper has spent years researching workforce wellbeing and how organisational structures can impact their staff – in both a positive and negative manner.
In an interview in online HR news site, HR Grapevine, Cooper explains that wellbeing programmes have got to be about more than just engagement.
“More HR professionals, who are wanting to take part in wellbeing, are getting fed up of just doing engagement,” Cooper said, “engagement is just one part of the puzzle of wellbeing.
“Increasingly, HR professionals are concerned about the magic bullet of engagement but it’s got to be more than engagement,” Cooper explained.
With gym memberships, time off in lieu, flexible working and healthy snacks just a few of the wellbeing extras that UK staff are slowly being offered, Cooper believes there’s one crucial thing many companies are failing to take into consideration.
“It’s about the management style of your line manager,” Cooper explained, “the line manager is incredibly important. From shop floor to top floor. All the way up the organisation.
“Training a line manager and getting a socially-integrated line manager is critical. You can have all the flexible working you want but if the line manager doesn’t trust you and wants all [of] his, or her, [people] there, then you’re going to have trouble.”
With flexible working increasingly seen as must-have on employee benefits offerings, Cooper told HR Grapevine that unscrupulous line managers are the ones holding their employees back.
“There’s a lot of people that would like to work flexibly but are frightened of applying, so [HR must] enable them to apply for flexible working,” he said.
Although most HR departments would love to offer employees more, they’ve got to make that the company as whole – structure, strategy and personnel – is geared towards improvements; people managers and mid-level bosses included.
You can see the HR Grapevine news story here.