Workplace wellbeing has always been important, but it took on a whole new meaning in 2020. It’s something that can no longer be viewed as a ‘soft approach’ but a necessary ‘human approach’. Ben Williams, COO of Loopin, shares the story of his start-up, and how good workplace wellbeing starts with leaders asking questions, offering understanding, and showing empathy.
A little over a year ago, during the midst of the pandemic, I talked on Zoom with my friend and fellow Marine, Antony. We discussed how the pandemic was negatively impacting the workplace. With hybrid working disconnecting leaders from their teams, and virtual meetings taking away the random run-ins and office pop-ins.
At the time, we were consultants to a number of businesses. Using our 10 years experience as Royal Marine Commandos to help companies nurture and develop their teams and leaders. We saw the emerging problem and knew we could be the ones to provide the solution. A piece of software that would encourage employees and managers to communicate more meaningfully; a tool that measures employee wellbeing and drives a positive workplace culture.
Whilst the pandemic sadly shut down so many other businesses, Loopin was just beginning.
Why is good workplace culture so important after all?
A famous quote from Author, Peter Drucker, who was described as ‘the man who invented management’ famously said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He argued that if you don’t get your culture right, then even the best, most well-formed strategy won’t have the impact you desire.
One thing that I learned during my career in the Royal Marines is that when leaders can truly empathise with their team, they unlock a whole new dynamic with unlimited possibilities, and team productivity flourishes. Not because the team is ordered to, but because they truly want to.
A workplace with a positive workplace culture encourages people to contribute, develop and thrive.
Engage your people and they will deliver
When it comes to creating positive change, managers and leaders have to be aware of what their team is feeling. Asking questions and engaging your people provides you with a true sense of what is happening. Having such awareness doesn’t require specific training in mental health. It’s as simple as being aware that someone is having a bad day, and being able to message or email them saying, “I’m here for a coffee and a chat if you need it mate.”
Here at Loopin, we’re on a mission to continuously innovate and improve employee wellbeing, where employees value and respect each other, and relationships are upheld with trust and honesty. We had a saying in the Marines, ‘surround yourself with excellence’. If you empathise with your team and build people up, that’s exactly what you’ll achieve.
Words by Ben Williams, COO of Loopin and Author of ‘Commando Mindset’