From XU Magazine, 
Issue 29

The power of putting your people’s wellbeing first with the help of technology

As the General Manager of WorkflowMax, I know how critical technology is to running a business. In addition to supporting everyday operations, technology can also help managers support their team’s mental health and wellbeing. This is something that’s never been so important with the intensity of work skyrocketing due to remote working.
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How you can adopt a wellbeing-led performance strategy using apps like WorkflowMax and Everperform.

In fact, a recent survey by Visier, a company specialising in people analytics and planning, showed that up to 89% of employees have experienced burnout in the past year. As a leader, it’s super important to be aware of the signs of burnout and adopt strategies to support your team, not to mention yourself.

Here’s how the World Health Organization defines burnout: Burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised by feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy.

According to an article by Dr Bryan Robinson in Forbes, “Burnout isn’t the same as stress, and you can’t cure it by taking an extended vacation, slowing down or working fewer hours. Once burnout takes hold, you’re out of gas, and you’ve given up all hope of surmounting your obstacles.”  

I’ve talked to small business owners about burnout and stress and how it’s hit them and their teams – especially when they’re working remotely, there’s heaps of uncertainty and volatility, and business is generally disrupted by the pandemic. 

All these reasons make it really important to create a positive work environment and support your team wherever they are. Good communication and technology can both help. With the right technology in place, you can gain insight into staff member wellbeing, so you know when to have conversations to keep people engaged and motivated, and how to take preventative action before burnout takes hold.

Communication is key

Before getting into my favourite topic of technology, I wanted to reiterate how critical good communication is to fostering wellbeing at work. My team is split across four countries and I make sure to regularly check in with each and every one of them. I let them know my door is always open and no topic is off the table. These catch ups are over and above our normal communication methods including updates on Slack, all-Xero meetings, weekly leadership syncs and team building sessions.

If you haven’t already, ask each person in your team how often they need to check in to set them up for success. Then set up regular video chats to connect, clear roadblocks and align priorities. While you might never intend to take an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach, people tend to feel disconnected and unsupported if they’re not getting the regular opportunity to share and receive feedback. 

How Everperform can help you manage better

On the topic of technology to help with wellbeing success, I recently caught up with Daniel Spitty, co-founder and CEO of Everperform. We had a Q&A on how the right tech stack can help you lead a remote team more effectively. He told me that many businesses already collect a lot of data about how staff are performing. They just need the right apps to find the insights in this data and facilitate timely action and communication. That’s where Everperform comes in.

KW: So Daniel, what is Everperform exactly?

DS: Everperform is a platform that helps businesses measure, understand and develop people. It syncs with apps like WorkflowMax and Xero to give small business owners smart insights into performance across their companies. Everperform can be really instrumental in helping managers identify employees’ strengths, create development plans and make staff feel really engaged through more meaningful interactions. Managers can also use it when they need to have those timely conversations to try and catch patterns of poorer wellbeing and lower levels of engagement.

One of the best parts of Everperform is the ‘pulses’ or surveys that you can send to staff regularly. These pulses let you track staff wellbeing and get feedback from your team.

In Everperform, you’ve also got a ‘Performance Passport’ that gives individuals a holistic view of their performance. It shows where they can improve and where they excel, and helps make the links between factors that influence performance.

KW: What inspired you to create Everperform?

DS: Everperform was inspired by sports psychology and a desire to modernise the way we manage our people, by using data on lead indicators to give the insights we need to make better decisions. Everperform is about creating awareness and fostering the whole person to reach their full potential, not just looking at their current output. 

KW: I know you’ve looked at wellbeing in professional services firms. What can you tell us about them?

DS: Yes – it often comes down to simple, consistent behaviours. We’ve analysed 500,000 data points across 59 professional services firms, collected continuously over 12 months, and found that there are four main areas which had a strong, positive influence on performance. Those four areas are getting fresh air regularly, thinking clearly, allocating required time to focus on what matters, and dealing with distractions and refocusing quickly. 

With the correct apps in place to help prioritise work and promote efficient workflows, these areas can be really well supported.

I’m often surprised by some of the insights we uncover. One firm discovered that they reduced the number of hours spent in formal catch ups, yet employee engagement increased. That’s because the data that Everperform provided helped them have better quality, more focused conversations in less time. 

KW: How does integrating with WorkflowMax help Everperform users understand insights and make changes within their business?

DS: When you connect your WorkflowMax account to Everperform, your data gets matched against your employees and assigned as individual KPIs. You can set targets against every employee and view their trends, compare KPIs and get a better view of performance, including wellbeing. For instance, you can measure employee lead indicators against their active jobs, billable hours, non-billable hours and total hours. 

This information lets you see what aspects of performance are impacting your client value, revenue, efficiency and more. 

KW: What advice would you give to readers who are concerned about looking after their employees?

DS: If you want to perform at your best, then you need to think and feel at your best. Things like belonging to a purpose, and being proud of the work that you’re doing and the impact you’re making, helps you to reach your personal potential. Achieving these four things, wherever you work and whatever you’re doing, is the criteria for getting the best out of yourself. And if an employer can foster that for each of its people, then the scoreboard will look after itself. 

We see a lot of managers and leaders who are afraid of getting it wrong. Our suggestion would just be to ask the question, whether it’s through Everperform or just a conversation, because that shows your team that you care. 
The ways you can utilise data you already have in WorkflowMax, and then complement it with Everperform is really helping to solve a lot of the critical issues that most industries are facing at the moment around burnout and attracting and retaining talent. There are so many effective new ways to help leaders help their people through what we call ‘wellbeing-led performance’. So take the first step, and keep it simple. It can be as simple as just starting to get that feedback from your team. 

Join our webinar - 16 November at 11.45am (AEDT)

To learn more about WorkflowMax and Everperform, come along to our live, virtual event on 16 November at 11:45am AEDT.

Our panel of organisational wellbeing experts will answer your questions and give you actionable advice on how to improve wellbeing within your business.

Register now and we look forward to seeing you!

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