• Mark Topley

Healthy on the inside

This time last week I was on the way to Manchester for a trip to Practice Plan’s Head Office in Oswestry. The UK was in the grip of near freezing temperatures and heavy snow was starting to fall in what would turn into several days of disruption in the area. Thankfully I made it in and out and successfully recorded the BODcast and interview for BOD Magazine in the New Year.

It’s always good to be at Practice Plan and I really enjoyed my conversation with Nigel Jones. One phrase I used in the interview seemed to strike a chord. In the context of talking about the positive impact Corporate Social Responsibility can have, I talked about working in an ‘emotionally healthy business’.

I think the emotional health of a business is something that can make it absolutely fly, or significantly hold it back. We focus all the time on financial health, physical health, operational health, but ultimately, how well the business works day to day, how much your team will give to it, and your customers experience it, comes down to emotional health, and for me, that covers four areas:

  1. Relationships – how well do people get on? Is there easy communication, trust, a team spirit?

  2. Purpose – are people fulfilled in their work because of a regular and purposeful attempt by leadership to connect people to a higher purpose in their work?

  3. Value – are people valued and rewarded, and not just financially?

  4. Care – in the words of John Maxwell ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’. Do you care about your people and do they know it?

All these factors contribute to a business’ emotional health, and and all can be significantly helped by having a structured CSR strategy and activities.

Creating shared experiences through taking on challenges and events build relationships and trust. Where planning and working together are involved, collaboration and communication will improve.

Raising funds for a good cause at work connects your team’s personal values with your business. When people feel like they are achieving what is important to them personally through their work, loyalty and productivity improve – engaged employees take fewer sick days, will weather more organisational change, and will actively advocate for the business.

Demonstrating you care about something above business goals by releasing time, money and yourself to benefit good causes communicates an authenticity that has a positive impact on your team and your customers. Paying lip service will backfire, but committing honestly to CSR has a multitude of positive effects way beyond the benefit to the charity or cause.

So, what is the emotional health of your business like, and what are you doing to proactively maintain it?

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