I had a new team starting a month ago. Like all the team leads, I had built their onboarding set ready and scheduled it to their calendars. After the most intensive part, I asked how they felt about the intensity and depth of the first onboarding phase. Some thought it was too intensive. Some said it was good, and some thought it was good to get it done in a shorter period so they could concentrate on “Real work.” All in all, one size doesn’t fit all, and I was delighted to get honest feedback.
My target is to have at least a half an hour discussion with everyone bi-weekly, but I try to give them a call in between, even though it’s not in Finnish nature, and calling without subject is not my cup of tea. If you add an team event and monthly team meetings, that’s it. What more can I give? Nothing modern in that!
Better balance, better performance
Aki Hintsa asks: “Do you know who you are? Do you know what you want? Are you in control of your life?”
Some of my team members have a clearer picture of what they want, and the others have just found the direction. So how can I support not only onboarding but their career and make sure they enjoy their work? I don’t even imagine being capable of sparring with technical issues with these guys, so I have thought about using external help in many areas. So, what more can I, as a leader, do?
A healthy balance of life, not just a work-life balance
Balance is not just sleeping and getting up and doing your exercises. It’s a combination of mental wellbeing, mental energy you have at your disposal. Yes, of course, sleep and recovery will be a considerable part of it, so is nutrition. But in the end, balance is a combination of understanding who you are, what you want, and controlling it.
Finnish media has covered much room in the pages with mental health and resilience issues during this fall. Could companies’ onboarding and benefits system be thought of as a more holistic life balance support system than just enabling work?
Could it be possible, that for example, you get a yearly “better balance” bonus?
What matters the most to you might not be necessary to your colleague
While your cup of tea is opera, some others might get their kicks from ultrarunning. We all are different, so our balance score sheet can look different.
When I was younger, I didn’t think it was needed. Heck, I didn’t even think this kind of thing could exist. I was very black and white in many things. I, for example, thought I was invincible and worked like a maniac around my 30s. I didn’t realize what I was doing even if I was stopped few times on the way with more severe health issues, like suspicion of breast cancer. Time and years will give me some perspective. It took time and thinking to understand what was important and why those things were important to me. I burnt the candle from both ends at work and outside work.
Could I accepted help if that would have been available? I don’t know, but I probably would have tried.
The Core of Company
I believe Aki Hintsa’s questions should not only be addressed to employees but also employers!
- Does the company know its identity, what it presents the strengths and weaknesses?
- Does the company know what is the direction and its wants from the future?
- And is it in control of it? For me, this means does it have the practices in place to enable the first two answers.
What if your health benefits program could be created based on your goals? Think about if you could have a balanced life and still perform at work with full potential. Wouldn’t that be a clear motivator and mutual interest for both employer and employee?
Why should an employer be interested?
The company can’t blame employees for lacking the direction if its vision, and the roadmaps aren’t clear. The reason why things are done and the value of work is essential for employees. It’s also the base to create motivating career paths. For a simplest for it means easyness to prioritize your daily work.
My health benefit program would have these mandatory meetings:
- visit psychology once-twice a year
- time management training which would be part of onboarding and revisited based on the need at least once a year
- physical therapist consultation about your biomechanics supporting your life and
- a doctors check up to examine your sleeping patterns.
- Preplanned career and training/rotation plans with the team lead.
Instead of having an outstanding but unconnected specialist working for you, you’d have a team of specialists working together and helping you get the balance and achieve the essential goals.
Optionally you’d have these connected to nutrition and physical activity along with your general mental health and energy level. Here I would also add an external sparring possibility. Sometimes you need a broader perspective and benefit more from the discussion with people outside your organization.
Am I just naive and too optimistic?
Would this be demanding too much? For now, it might be. Not many companies are even close to providing even all those services as such regardless of actually teaming up the specialist to work together.
On the other hand, it is a personalized service, an individual plan outlining the journey and targets, not rocket science.
I’m still inquisitive about this kind of approach. So if you know a company that provides these holistic services, let me know. And further more, if you know already a company having this kind of holistic health benefits, I’m more than happy to hear how it works.