Line managers want greater clarity around wellbeing strategies, according to research from Legal & General.
The research was conduced for Legal & General’s Workplace Wellbeing Barometer by Opinium among 1,055 employees (middle managers and below) in businesses with 10-249 employees and 1,011 senior managers in business with 10-249 employees in May 2021.
The research found four out of 10 (40%) line managers favour greater joined up thinking across departments to better improve how their organisation implements wellbeing in the workplace.
Simpler wellbeing strategies
The research also found a third (32%) want to see simpler wellbeing strategies with less confusing terminology and jargon, 30% would like to see a standard way to accurately measure the impact on people and business and 27% would like to see guidance on what “good” wellbeing at work looks like.
When line managers were asked what could help them improve wellbeing support to the people and teams they manage, more than a third (37%) wanted clear direction from company leaders on purpose and values to better understand how wellbeing fits. A further 34% of line managers would also support wellbeing champions or mental health first-aiders in the workplace and 32% are looking for support and training on how to have conversations and signpost to support services for their teams.
Researchers also found that many line managers are seeking both support and acknowledgement from leaders when it comes to their own wellbeing at work. When asked what wellbeing means to them, line managers rated job security (31% vs 26%), being paid fairly (31% vs 26%) and good career opportunities (26% vs 19%) more highly compared to the average employee.
Improving their own wellbeing
Touching on how their own wellbeing could be improved in the workplace, the top response (38%) among all line managers was recognition for work well done, followed by more flexible working (37%) and being listened to by their own manager (35%).
More than a third (35%) also want more recognition that managers are employees and have wellbeing needs too, as 32% seek support to remove their own stresses to allow them to focus on their job of managing their teams.
When asked how their employer can help with your wellbeing in the workplace, over a third (36%) of line-managers answered ‘Offer me flexible working arrangements’, followed by ‘Lead from the top when it comes to positive wellbeing practices’ (34%) and ‘Talk more openly as an organisation about mental health and the need for wellbeing for all’ (32%).
Around six in 10 (61%) of line managers (compared to just 46% of all SME employees) have used their workplace wellbeing benefits, highlighting the appetite, need and ability to ‘lead from the top’ when it comes to wellbeing.
Commenting on the data, Jo Elphick, marketing director at Legal & General Group Protection, told Health & Protection: “Wellbeing in the workplace is more important than ever and it’s evident from our study that support is needed across all layers of an organisation, including for line managers.
“Among SME employers who have a wellbeing strategy in place, over a fifth (21%) lay the primary responsibility of implementing it on this “squeezed middle” – higher than HR (15%) and dedicated wellbeing teams (18%). In fact, 14% of SME employees also see their line manager as having primary responsibility for wellbeing too.
“Line managers are looking for clearer direction and support from their employer to enable them to better support their teams’ wellbeing, but also want recognition that they too are employees and have their own wellbeing needs as well.”