Employee engagement programmes have had no impact on wellbeing

This is the view of Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University Management School. Cooper, speaking at the Why Mental Health Matters conference in London, suggested that since 2007 virtually all employee happiness areas have got worse and that poor line management is to blame. As highlighted in HR Magazine, Cooper suggested that HRD’s should be turning their attention to up skilling line managers who he feels, lack the interpersonal skills.

As specialists in the field of employee health and wellbeing don’t agree. All too often line managers get the blame when actually, there’s a much bigger reason affecting employee engagement – stress.

The issue of stress has been a growing one and is now one of the leading causes of absence in the UK. In relation to employee engagement, stress prevents people from performing at their best and from engaging full stop.

The more stressed people feel and the longer they have experienced feeling stress, the more disconnected they will feel from the workplace.

The simple reason for this is that stress is part of the survival response. It’s not physically possible for someone to be stressed, and engaged at the same time.

Stress shuts down the thinking brain and prevents access to parts of the brain normally used for good decision making, empathy, creative thinking and seeing things from a different perspective to name a few. Therefore you can have some of the best line managers out there, but if they are stressed and don’t know how to break the stress response, they aren’t going to be able to engage with their teams as well. Anyone who is stressed isn’t going to be able to ‘feel’ as connected to an organisation and it’s the way that we feel, our emotions, that drive engagement.

At The Mind Solution, we recognise that the missing link in the workplace is teaching employees the building blocks of how to be mentally strong. There is a lot of focus on soft skills and leadership training, which is great, but crucially underpinning that should be an investment in teaching people how to build strong emotional and mental resilience.

To find out how resilience training can make a difference to your workforces engagement and performance contact us today.