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Embracing September’s Igikai to Boost Corporate Wellbeing

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September marks a pivotal point in the year, with employees returning from the summer break refreshed, revitalised and looking to embark on new challenges.

Businesses also recalibrate their goals, making it an opportune moment to align individual aspirations with company objectives.

This renewed energy corresponds perfectly with the concept of Igikai – a Japanese term that combines ‘iki’ (life) and ‘kai’ (worth) to mean the pursuit of a life worth living.

Many employees are re-evaluating their roles, seeking purpose, meaning and fulfilment in their lives. In the corporate world, it’s the ideal time for leaders to harness this collective enthusiasm by channelling initiatives that nurture relationships, elevate workplace wellbeing, provide growth opportunities, and strengthen company culture. It’s a philosophy that can lead to higher productivity, happier employees, and ultimately, a thriving business.

Nurturing Relationships

Relationships are the cornerstone of any successful business. September offers the opportunity to strengthen connections, whether reconnecting with colleagues after the summer break or fostering interactions with new team members. As we gather to launch new initiatives and set ambitious goals, the spirit of collaboration and camaraderie is revitalised, creating a collective sense of purpose and shared aspirations.

It’s the ideal time to celebrate achievements and set milestones for the future, perhaps with awards and recognition events to honour exceptional contributions, to not only boost morale but reinforce a culture of appreciation and mutual support.

September is also a good time for leaders to reset the approach to relationship-building within the organisation. Start by cultivating meaningful connections with your employees. Engage in active listening, offer constructive feedback, and demonstrate empathy. This will reinforce a sense of belonging and trust, both essential for fostering a positive work environment.

Additionally, strengthen relationships with clients, suppliers, and partners. Reach out to them to express gratitude for their continued support and discuss ways to collaborate more effectively. These efforts not only enhance the reputation of your business but will build loyalty and set the foundation for long-term success.

Elevating Workplace Wellbeing

Workplace wellbeing is not just a buzzword; it’s a crucial aspect of a thriving business. September can serve as a turning point in your efforts to prioritise the physical and mental health of your employees.

Start by asking your people what they need. Review practices, processes, and work ethic. Are you pushing your people too much? Not enough? Amid the renewed vigour of September, it is important to emphasise a focus on work-life balance. Encouraging employees to maintain a healthy equilibrium between work and personal life contributes to overall wellbeing and job satisfaction.

Create a flexible work environment that accommodates the diverse needs of your team. Offer remote work options or flexible schedules to promote work-life balance. Encourage breaks and physical activity during the workday to boost productivity and reduce stress.

Physical and mental health are both important priorities, and wellness initiatives demonstrate a commitment to the holistic health of your workforce. Provide resources like awareness sessions, counselling services, stress management workshops, and mindfulness programmes, although remember to always focus on identifying and resolving the root cause of any issues. Encourage open conversations about health to reduce stigma and promote a supportive atmosphere.

Fostering Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is the DNA of your organisation. It sets the tone for how work is done, how employees interact, and how your company is perceived by the outside world. As September marks a new chapter, it is the perfect time for leaders to bolster company culture. By fostering open communication and aligning individual purpose with company values, we can create an environment where employees feel empowered and engaged.

With collective brainstorming and strategic planning, we pave the way for innovative ideas and well-defined objectives. This collaborative endeavour serves to not only enrich the workplace experience but also to foster a culture that values creativity, inclusivity, and continuous improvement.

Start by (re)defining your company’s core values and ensuring that they continue to align with your business goals. Communicate these values clearly to your employees and lead by example. Walk the talk.

Open communication is the lynchpin. Provide the platform for employees to express their ideas, concerns and aspirations openly and without recrimination. By valuing their input, leaders foster an atmosphere of inclusivity and empower employees to contribute to the company’s growth.

Demonstrate how each employee’s role contributes to the realisation of the company’s mission.

When employees see the direct impact of their work on a broader purpose, they are more likely to feel a strong sense of fulfilment and engagement. Encourage diversity and inclusivity within teams to bring fresh perspectives and innovation to the table.

Open communication is the lynchpin. Provide the platform for employees to express their ideas, concerns and aspirations openly and without recrimination.

Providing Growth Opportunities

September’s fresh start is also an ideal time to focus on personal growth and development. By offering training programmes, mentorship opportunities, and clear career pathways, leaders not only empower their employees to enhance their skills, it also reinforces continuous learning and improvement. As employees embark on new challenges, it pays dividends for years to come in increased loyalty and productivity.

I still recall the September evening, 25 years ago, when I stepped off the train in London to embark on what would be one of the most challenging and yet character-defining jobs of my career. The job involved closing an entire UK business, maintaining the customer base and encouraging them to transfer their business within the group, whilst leading the long-established team through transition, transformation and ultimate re-deployment. Compassion, open communications and identifying individual needs and motivations were key to its success. I remain in contact with a good many of them to this day.

As we embrace the Igikai of September, we have the opportunity to reset a new course for ourselves and our businesses. Nurturing relationships, elevating workplace wellbeing, fostering corporate culture, and providing growth opportunities are at the heart of this endeavour. By prioritising these elements, we can create a workplace where employees thrive, with a strong sense of purpose and a shared commitment to driving the company forward, innovation flourishes, and our businesses ultimately succeed. As leaders, it is our responsibility to lead the way in this transformation.

World Wellbeing Week 2024

June 24 – June 30

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