Last week, we defined sustainable employment and it’s importance for employee health and well-being. Today, we want to discuss creating sustainable employment. Leaders play a major role in shaping the environment and are particularly important in creating sustainable employment. So, if you are a leader, what can you do?
Importance of Resources
A recent review found that job resources are critical to creating sustainable employment. Surprisingly, having the right resources is actually more important than having too many demands at work. In other words, having what you need is more important than things like job ambiguity and conflict at work. The one exception is workload. If you have too high of a workload, you’ll be less productive and have lower well-being. A high workload actually also means you are lacking a key resource – time.
What else do we mean by resources? When it comes to resources in this context, the research points at a few key things. First, things like autonomy, control, and empowerment are important. When employees have all three, they are able to decide how and when work is done, have decision making power, and have influence at work. You can see how all three of these things can help employees be more productive while improving their wellness. Having control in your work day allows you to do work in a way that’s best for you, which is likely to be the best way to be productive and efficient.
While these are all important, the most important resources to sustainable employment are social capital, social support, and learning and development.
Social capital is a broad concept that includes things like cooperation, collaboration, trust, and good relationship quality at work. We’ve talked a lot about how, as social creatures, having good relationships at work can be incredibly beneficial. This continues to be true when you think about sustainable employment. If you have strong relationships at work with good collaboration, you will perform better and be happier in your job.
We’ve also talked a ton about social support and how helpful it can be. Again, this is important when considering sustainable employment as well. Feeling supported by your peers, leaders, and the company overall will help you be more productive and will allow you to have higher wellness at work. If you don’t have a support system at work right now, see if you can find one! It’ll help you thrive!
Learning and Development
Finally, having access to developmental opportunities and being able to grow your skills is extremely important to sustainable employment. As you grow and improve, so will your performance and productivity. But you will also be happier! We know that mastery and feelings of accomplishment make people feel good. Thus, companies and leaders providing learning and development to employees is a huge win in creating a more sustainable employment environment.
Overall, the research finds that what helps wellness at work also helps productivity. There’s no losing if you try to create a sustainable workplace! We often need to remind folks that productivity cannot exist without employee wellness. And this research really drives that story home!
Leaders Matter in Creating Sustainable Employment
Finally, it’s important to note that leadership practices are the number one thing in building sustainable employment. To build this type of environment, you need leaders that are effective and supportive, create safe and collaborative environments, and provide employees with the right resources and workload.
If you want to create a sustainable workplace in your company, focus on your leaders. Help them be good leaders to drive the environment that will help everyone succeed. So many workplace wellness interventions focus on the employee, but this is an important reminder that employees don’t have the power or control to shift things – leaders do! Build great leaders and your whole company will benefit.
If you are a leader, think about what you can do to improve your team’s sustainability. How can you provide your employees with the resources listed above? What can you do? How can you help abolish the idea of quiet quitting in your workplace and instead promote a positive and sustainable workplace?