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A Holistic Approach To Building A High Performing Team


by Craig Goodliffe, Founder & CEO of Cyberbacker

As a business leader, your goal is obviously to have your employees functioning at the height of their capabilities. However, if employees feel unhappy or disillusioned in the workplace, chances are their output will suffer. It makes sense if you think about it — happy employees invest more in their company’s success, and are therefore more likely to perform better.

The importance of mental health in employee productivity

Recent trends have seen more businesses emphasizing mental health in the workplace. However, employers must do more to promote positive mental health for their employees than to allow workers to take a sick day or vacation time for a “mental health day.” Instead, there must be a radical shift in company policies to show employees that you legitimately care about their mental well-being.

Many employers work to improve workers’ mental health by offering downtime, PTO, and vacation periods. However, the most important thing for employers is to deliver on their promises in terms of employee benefits. For example, “unlimited PTO” has become more common among startups and other companies, but companies who choose this model must do so for the right reasons, and actually allow their employees to take advantage of this offer. If employees feel pressured not to take PTO, this policy could be worse on their mental health than offering a set amount of annual PTO.

Some business leaders might be surprised by how significant of an impact even minuscule adjustments to their business could have on their employee’s mental health. For example, the process of time blocking and hourly scheduling can be invaluable to an employee’s mental well-being. By breaking down the day into periods designated for specific tasks, productivity can be significantly improved. 

Many companies have also seen success by implementing stress-reducing workplace events. These events can be major — from team building exercises to catered lunches or post-work dinners — or minor — such as a break during the day for yoga or meditation. It’s important for business leaders to be sincere about these types of events, as employees can easily see through insincerity. However, so long as leaders show they care about their employees and their well-being, these events can help employees feel more valued and happy in the workplace.

Building a company culture conducive to employee performance

Indeed, even a small investment in the company’s culture can go a long way. As a business leader, your goal should be to create a culture of gratitude, with minimal negativity. Remember, energy is infectious. If you go about your day looking and feeling visibly unhappy, chances are this unhappiness could transfer to your employees. However, the reverse can also be true. Do your best to communicate feelings of happiness, and recognize your employees to make them feel more valued.

However, where many business leaders go wrong with employee recognition is thinking that the only form of recognition is pay. Sure, giving employees a raise for doing great work is important — arguably even necessary — to keep them feeling happy with their position and the company. However, there are other forms of recognition that are equally important, and each person may feel recognized in different ways.

There are many ways in which people can feel compensated: time off, self-expression, leadership, and the ability to grow vertically within the company, and — of course — pay. For most employees to feel fulfilled, they will need a combination of all of them, but there are some methods of recognition that will be more important than others. For example, one employee may feel more rewarded by being publicly recognized for their contributions — such as being thanked in a meeting or being given an award for their performance — while others may be more fulfilled by being given more responsibility through delegation or promotion. 

Another essential aspect of the workplace culture that is necessary to strong employee performance is a culture of open communication, as this is what is required for employees to trust their employer and workplace. According to the Harvard Business Review, “employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than people working at low-trust companies.” However, it is important to remember that while it is difficult to build this trust, it is very easy to lose it, and nearly impossible to regain it once it is lost.

One of the most important steps to building trust with employees is asking questions, as this is the most natural way to create a conversation. However, it is essential that leaders not only ask questions, but also ask the right questions. Questions like “Are you happy in your position?” are unlikely to be much help because employees could find themselves intimidated answering anything but yes. Instead, take the time to gather feedback in a more valuable, honest way by asking specific questions about what you and your workplace get right — and wrong.

Prioritizing mental health in the workplace is a process that will take time and continued investment in employees’ well-being. However, it is important for business leaders to look at it as just that: an investment. By prioritizing employees’ mental health, you are likely to leave them feeling happier and more fulfilled in the workplace, and in turn, improve their productivity.


Craig Goodliffe new

Craig Goodliffe is the CEO of Cyberbacker. Launched in January of 2018, Cyberbacker is one of the fastest-growing remote working companies. For over a decade now, Craig Goodliffe has also been coaching people to achieve – and exceed – their goals. Craig enjoys coaching people who are truly committed to hitting their goals and helping them uncover their purpose.