Promoting team well-being

My Grandfather once gave me some advice as I proudly told him I had become a manager for the first time, in my burgeoning fundraising career.  “Always focus on happy staff, as that will give you happy suppliers and happy customers”.  Now, my Grandfather was an Insurance underwriter and, as a cocksure twenty something, I thanked him for his advice, lodged it somewhere in the back of my brain and embarked on my exciting fundraising career.


But his advice has recently dislodged itself from far recesses and got me thinking. Is the charity sector currently doing enough on its focus on “happy staff”?


Well-being is an oft used phrase in the charity sector.  Indeed, it is the primary purpose for many in delivering public benefit and we’re good at shouting loud and celebrating it.  It’s also high on the agendas of the public service and corporate sectors.   

According to the 2016 Federal Public Service Workplace Mental Health Strategy[1], “a healthy workplace is essential to the physical and psychological health of all public service employees, as it enables them to bring the best of their diverse talents, skills and energy as they deliver services to Canadians.” A study by the Conference Board of Canada[2]estimated that each year the Canadian economy may be losing $20.7billion because of reduced labour force participation which can be attributed to mental health.  This is predicted to grow to $29.1 billion by 2030.  Research from the Mental Health Commission of Canada found that  70% of Canadian employees are concerned about the psychological health and safety of their workplace, and 14% don’t think theirs is healthy or safe at all.


There is a compelling reason to get staff well-being right.  Research in 2017[3] reported that UK FTSE 100 companies that prioritise employee engagement and wellbeing outperform the rest of the UK FTSE 100 by 10 per cent.  


So, is your organization doing enough to support its own workforce in being well?   Of course, for the charity sector, budget can be an issue. However interventions don’t have to be costly.  Making sure you have flexible working policies in place, encouraging your team to get moving with on the hour flash walks or meetings on the move and thinking about how you can encourage healthy eating can all have an impact.  An action as fundamental as making sure that team members have a sense of purpose in their role and understand the contribution they are making to the overall success of their team and the charity will have a positive impact on well-being.   Encouraging mindfulness will also help our team to recognise when they are getting too caught up in their own thoughts.


Encouraging well-being doesn’t have to be expensive and can start with some simple actions to raise morale and keep a smile on the faces of your team. After all, a happy charity sector workforce will, ultimately, improve our sector’s outcomes.



[3] Soma Analytics

Myles Bremner is a Senior Consultant with THINK Consulting Solutions. As an experienced project and organizational leader, Myles is skilled at helping his charity clients bring their fundraising plans to successful fruition. Click here to meet Myles.