Pressure Is Mounting Everywhere
In today’s uncertain times, companies are under more pressure than ever to deliver results. With massive layoffs, a looming recession, banks collapsing, and companies facing difficult times raising capital, the economy and markets are clearly nervous.
In response, many organizations are shifting their focus from a well-being culture to a performance culture.
This is understandable because companies need to deliver results to their various shareholders, partners, and customers to ensure their long-term survival and success. However, this shift can also come with serious risks.
There’s only so much heat an already exhausted workforce can take before burning out.
A Road Paved With Good Intentions
When companies swing the pendulum too far from a well-being culture that prioritizes employees’ physical and mental health to a culture that focuses solely on performance and mainly prioritizes productivity and results, they may not achieve the desired outcomes.
It can even turn into the opposite because neglecting employees’ well-being can lead to decreased productivity, increased burnout, and high turnover rates, ultimately harming the company’s bottom line.
Most companies that want to promote performance start on a path that is paved with good intentions.
They set ambitious goals and push themselves to reach them. However, what seems to accelerate performance can turn into a performance culture that is toxic and spreads throughout the entire organization.
Once companies are on that path workloads become relentless, and boundaries dissolve while psychological safety takes a hit. In such an environment, stress and anxiety can easily get a grip on the workforce.
And while performance may still increase and outcomes may still look great, they come at a tremendous cost for everyone involved. For example a marketing agency that emphasizes meeting deadlines and achieving sales targets, but fails to address the mental and physical health of its employees, might end up with a toxic work environment where employees are stressed, overworked, and not able to perform to their full potential.
Well-being Alone Doesn’t Solve The Problem
On the other hand, when a company prioritizes well-being over performance, it can lead to unproductivity. For example a company that prioritizes employee happiness by providing perks like free meals, unlimited vacation days, and flexible work hours but fails to set clear performance goals or provide adequate training can result in low productivity and disengaged employees.
The good news is that it needn’t be that way.
Leaders and organizations that are effective don’t need to make a choice between prioritizing well-being and performance. They can aim to establish a work environment that is both healthy and conducive to high performance. Rather than concentrating solely on one factor, they can consider what a culture that promotes both well-being and high performance would entail, and take gradual steps to develop it.
In the following section we will explore how to establish such a culture and how to reap the benefits of it.
High Performance Without Burning Out
Employees, teams, and entire organizations can achieve high performance and growth without burning out. The key is to strive for what is called a healthy or sustainable performance. It is achieved by striking a balance between pushing people to perform while also fostering an environment that promotes well-being. By doing so, teams and organizations can create high-performance cultures that go from unhealthy to healthy and from unsustainable to sustainable.
The best is those cultures not only improve their workforce’s mental readiness, but also deliver results, and attract and retain talent. This ensures the long-term success of the company – even in the most competitive of business worlds.
Let’s break it down into 3 strategies that every company can start working on.
How To Build A Healthy Performance Culture
- Balance performance and growth
Strive to strike a balance between focusing on performance and growth. This means leveraging employees’ existing skills and knowledge to achieve short-term results while also providing opportunities for them to learn new skills and tackle new challenges that will help them grow and develop for the future.
Example A: A sales team may focus on hitting their quarterly targets, utilizing their current skills in sales and customer service to close deals and maintain customer relationships. At the same time, the company may offer training programs or assign stretch projects to help the sales team develop new skills, such as data analysis or social media marketing, that will prepare them for future roles and keep them engaged in their work.
Example B: A software development team may prioritize delivering a high-quality product within a tight deadline, utilizing their current programming skills and knowledge of the software development process to meet the project requirements. However, the company may also offer opportunities for the team to work on new and innovative projects that require them to learn new programming languages or techniques, keeping them engaged and growing in their careers.
- Empower Sustainable Work Practices
Encourage employees to push themselves to perform at their best, while also providing support and permission to switch off and recover. This involves establishing norms and clear guidelines around when it’s acceptable to stop working, the importance of having a life outside of work, and the right to say no without facing negative consequences.
Example A: A marketing team may be encouraged to work diligently to launch a new product campaign, but the company also provides clear guidelines around when it’s acceptable to stop working, such as no emails or calls after a certain hour, and encourages team members to take time off to recharge. Leaders within the company model this behavior by taking time off for vacations or other personal pursuits, showing that work-life balance is not only acceptable but essential for personal well-being.
Example B: A tech team may be encouraged to work long hours to complete a critical project, but the company also encourages team members to take breaks and switch off from work when needed. There may be regular team events or activities outside of work hours to promote work-life balance, and the company may actively discourage the “always-on” culture by modeling healthy work habits and promoting self-care.
- Create a holding environment at the workplace
Establish a culture where employees are expected to give their best effort and are also provided with adequate support and recognition in return. This means setting high standards for performance and holding employees accountable for meeting them, while also offering coaching, support, and rewards to acknowledge their contributions.
Example A: In a sales team, employees may be held to a high standard for meeting sales targets, but the company also offers comprehensive training programs and ongoing coaching to help them improve their skills. Additionally, employees may be recognized and rewarded for their achievements through public announcements, awards, or bonuses, creating a sense of pride and accomplishment within the team.
Example B: in a software development team, employees may be expected to deliver high-quality code within tight deadlines, but the company also provides a supportive work environment with flexible work hours, opportunities for personal and professional development, and regular feedback and recognition for their contributions.
How Does A Healthy Performance Pay Out?
- By balancing a performance focus with a growth focus, companies can create a sense of purpose and fulfillment among employees, who will feel like they are contributing to both the present and the future of the company.
- By fostering a practices that encourages hard work and rest, companies can create a more productive and engaged workforce. When employees feel supported in taking care of their mental and physical health, they are more likely to perform at their best and feel a sense of loyalty to the company.
- By creating an environment where employees are expected to perform at a high level and are supported in doing so, companies can build a more engaged and committed workforce. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be motivated to go above and beyond in their work, leading to better overall performance and a positive work culture.
How To Make Well-Being And Mental Health Work
At Earkick we provide a full-fledged solution for workplace mental health and healthy performance. It acts as an intuitive selfcare companion for employees and as a real-time dashboard solution for employers. With our solution enterprises can see their workforce’s state of well-being in real time.
Full privacy is granted and employees can do self-check-ins in just a few seconds using text, voice, or video. The Earkick AI analyzes the data in real time and offers immediate personalized feedback as well as actionable suggestions.
The solution requires no personal information and offers science-based sequences to improve mental readiness, productivity and performance in an actionable way. Members learn how to focus on recovery, set achievable goals and build healthy habits.
To members, Earkick also provides immediate feedback, guided sessions, stress management techniques, and much more, enabling members to become their happiest and healthiest selves – especially in high performance environments.
Ready to establish a culture of healthy performance while avoiding burnout? Get in touch.