The Black Sheep of Wellbeing

Corporate wellbeing often equates to free fruit, gym memberships and perhaps a lunchtime yoga session or two. However, what’s often overlooked, and arguably more impactful, is a focus on careers.

An interview with Carmel Batticciotto
Career Development, Wellbeing
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the-black-sheep-of-wellbeing

When organisations focus on wellbeing, more often than not they gravitate towards free fruit, gym memberships and maybe even a lunchtime yoga session or two. However, what’s often overlooked, but can have a much bigger impact, is a focus on careers.

Carmel Batticciotto calls it 'Careerfulness' – making sure that you look after your career wellbeing. The talent development leader at LHH says career wellbeing is more important than ever given the current employment conditions but it is often something neglected by employers.

“We know that this has been a tough year for many, so supporting wellbeing is more important than ever and there is no doubt more organisations are looking into wellbeing programs for their employees,” she said. “But this is so much more than just ticking the EAP box. This is about understanding all elements of wellbeing and providing support to your people which will have the greatest impact.  You can fund as many gym memberships as you like, however if your people are not happy at work, this may not have the impact you are aiming for."

“Career wellbeing is one of the most important aspects of an individual’s overall wellbeing.”

Analytics and advisory firm Gallup says there are five broad categories that are essential to most people:

  • Career Wellbeing: how you occupy your time or simply liking what you do every day
  • Social Wellbeing: about having strong relationships and love in your life
  • Financial Wellbeing: effectively managing your economic life
  • Physical Wellbeing: having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis
  • Community Wellbeing: the sense of engagement you have with the area where you live

According to Gallup, while 66% of people are doing well in at least one of these areas, just 7% are thriving in all five.

The underlying issue is that people generally under-estimate the impact of their career on their overall wellbeing. We need to ensure that we focus on all areas of our wellbeing, and give career wellbeing the focus it deserves. If you don’t have the opportunity to regularly do something you enjoy, the odds of you having a high level of wellbeing in other areas quickly diminish.

“Our work is our identity,” says Batticciotto.  “Think back to a time when you were in a job that you didn’t enjoy and how it affected all areas of your life.  It has multiple impacts. And people who lose their job or have been unemployed for several months – the stress is even greater.”

Batticciotto pointed to a study published in The Economic Journal which said unemployment might be the only major life event from which people do not fully recover within five years.

“The study followed 130,000 people for several decades. It showed that our wellbeing recovers more rapidly from the death of a spouse than it does from a sustained period of unemployment. That is quite astounding.”

“Through career development programs we are helping individuals to take control of their careers and increase their sense of empowerment. Is what they are doing now the right role for them?  How do they learn more about themselves and their full range of career options?” 

“One thing that has come out of COVID-19 is that organisations have been more flexible and are engaging with their employees differently."

“However, we are also seeing a lot of organisations take the foot off the accelerator when it comes to career development. There will be many individuals whose career path has been stalled. Promotions aren’t happening. Leaders are no longer having career conversations with staff. It is having a real impact on morale.  I understand the impact that COVID-19 has had on the market, however, now is the time to demonstrate the value you place on your people and communicate how they can manage their careers and continuous learning in this new environment. 

“We have had a lot of talk about individuals and companies pivoting. Another challenge we see is that organisations are not being strategic around actively reskilling their people to move into the roles of the now and into the future. It is about being really clear on what your future workforce looks like.  This includes ensuring that career pathways are visible to the workforce and providing options so they can move into those new career pathways."

“Organisations need to have the right systems and processes/frameworks in place to enable career agility. It’s all about careerfulness!”

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