• Keith Rozelle


Don’t be a C**t in 2019: Care for your People

Excuse me for being rather brusque on this but it’s a topic which is very personal, so it drives an impassioned response and, as we see 2018 out, a “Poke in the Eye” is required.

Employee wellness is still not being taken as seriously as it should be…

The CIPD’s 18th annual case survey, based on replies from over 1,000 organisations, reveals that less than half of respondents agree that line managers buy into the importance of employee well-being.

Mental ill-health is now reported as the main reason for long-term absence from work in 22% of cases, compared to 13% in 2016. Despite results from the same study emphasising that there is more awareness of mental health issues at work.

What do we mean by Employee Wellness at Work?

There are two sides of employee wellness, the physical and the mental. Catering for the former could be as simple as giving workers access to natural daylight and providing a temperature-controlled environment.

The latter is often more complex as there could be other external factors we don’t yet know about the employee but simply ensuring employees have enough time to relax and recharge their batteries could really help. That said, good managers know their staff and often check in on them; even a simple “How are You?” can be revealing and show that you care.

As basic as it sounds, these matters are often neglected and large numbers of employees work without adequate breaks or rest areas. 2018 has, unfortunately, shown up plenty of examples of poor working practices.

Are We Forgetting Kindness?

Again, one would think that being kind to others is an obvious and easy thing to practice.

Weren’t we all once taught to treat others how we would like to be treated ourselves?

This message, however, seems to be tragically lost in today’s modern and hectic world, with some displays of kindness even being interpreted as weakness in certain circles, particularly in the workplace.

This lack of kindness in society has gotten so bad, that when someone is kind or thoughtful to us, we are often suspicious as to what their ulterior motive could be. For example, I was recently contacted by someone I met at a networking event and invited to join a Skype call to demo a piece of digital marketing software “that could be useful for me.” My instant thought was, “what does this person want in return for the time they are giving to me?” Even worse, is this person going to be paid a commission if I take out a subscription after the demo?

In this case, my judgments were completely wrong, as the person in question was looking to help me without any ulterior motive. The next week, the same person referred me to someone who was looking for help with their digital marketing. This is an all too rare example of someone who was happy to give up their time to help me and even refer potential work my way. How refreshingly positive!

I’m not advocating that everyone should be putting other people’s needs ahead of their own. More that there are plenty of opportunities for people and companies to be kind to each other which cost very little time or money but which could make our lives so much richer.

And If We Can’t Be Kind?

And If We Can’t Be Kind, how about we just try not to be a c**t?

By now, we have all either been on the end of – or know someone else who has been victim to – the ‘horrible boss, who either patronises us for being far less ‘superior’ or deliberately undermines others, limiting their progress for fear of risking their own job.

The world would be a better place without this sort of behaviour, which is why now we are going to explore some bottom-line affecting benefits of kindness to others and the importance of having schemes to promote well-being at work.

Employee Wellness – Benefits

The most obvious benefit of wellness is a healthier, more positive working environment, where people actually want to come into work and make a positive contribution. Happy employees suffer less from chronic illnesses and lead healthier lifestyles – eating healthier foods and smoking and drinking less too.

Studies have shown that employee wellness programs can improve health dramatically, even from attending short-term awareness courses but the key is to focus on the long-term for best business benefits.

Simple ways to promote good employee health could be ensuring core working hours are reasonable, having flexible working arrangements where possible and offering discounts on gym memberships and other schemes to make our hard-earned money go further.

Calling-Out Poor Working Practices

Have you ever noticed one of your staff sending an email late at night, or even the middle of the night? Or perhaps you discovered that they came in over the weekend to work. Did you have a courageous conversation with them about it? Did you ask them if everything’s ok at home or if there is anything worrying them?

Eliminating Poor Working Practices and caring for your people…starts with YOU!

If you do have to discipline someone – or even terminate their employment for whatever reason – then do so respectfully and humanely. You’ll likely have less tribunal claims as a result and you’ll preserve your organisation’s precious reputation, which means you’ll find it easier to hire new talent.

Decrease Absenteeism, Increased Retention

Improving employee morale leads to enhanced productivity and is directly linked to a decrease in absenteeism. Employees who are able to manage their stress have better health, tend not to be overweight and consequently take less time off work.

By implementing some of our tips above, you’ll be able to reduce absenteeism whilst increasing employee morale. By being empathetic and kind – caring about your people – , you’ll find that they will take less time off because they’re happier in their work. Simples!

If an employee has been off sick for any length of time, don’t rush them back if they are clearly still unwell; consider a phased return to work with lighter duties if possible. If their absenteeism does need to be discussed, then talk it through in private. Showing respect for the individual demonstrates care at its most basic level and is the very least you should offer.


By Presenteeism, we mean employees who are physically at work but who are not really there, fully engaged and, therefore, they are unproductive.

Studies have shown that Presenteeism is two to three times costlier to a business than plain old, easy to track Absenteeism. There are many different factors affecting productivity at work, of which employee wellness is high up the list so here’s a quick check-list:

4 Simple Ways to Improve Staff Productivity

  1. Having a clear career development plan – employees that are determined to progress in the company are more likely to stay motivated.

  2. Noticing when a worker has gone “above and beyond” to achieve excellence and congratulating them or mentioning them to other senior managers. This is so simple but many managers don’t do it.

  3. Why not send your employee on a learning-day event or course? There are plenty of websites where you can search for low-cost or even free events. Try searching Eventbrite and Facebook. Both the organisation and your employees will benefit if they’re benefiting from learning the latest practices, plus your employee will feel like you care about them.

  4. It’s another simple one, but running social events running for employees will also promote workforce morale. Whether it’s a night out for the team or a game of Rounders in the summer time, it’ll be well received by employees.

Top 5 Poor Behaviours I’d like to See Disappear in 2019

Politicians at PMQs

No more name calling – call yourself leaders?


Don’t start your meetings with “You did this really well but…”

Everything before the ‘but’ is BS

No more bullying. Don’t ever start 1-2-1 meetings with “It’s come to my attention” – nothing good ever happened after hearing those bullying words. If you’ve hired a star employee who just eats up all the work you give them – FANTASTIC, bring them on. Don’t bully them into leaving FFS (actually happened to a friend of mine just recently).

Organisations and Misuse of NDAs

Stop paying people off through NDAs – Closely linked to bullying (above), if someone in your organisation is guilty of bullying, then sanction the bully and get rid of the behaviour. Paying people off is, more often than not, failure to address the correct problem and it could come back to bite you.

Bullying is as a cancer on your organisation

Corporation Tax and A Sense of Fairness

Corporations need to pay their fair share of taxes in the country they did that business in. Where do you think people got the money to buy your product from FFS?

Registering in some low-tax location, inflating transfer costs for your coffee / software / other produce, transferring your shares to Lady Quango Tax-Fiddle who is conveniently based in Monaco just isn’t fair on society – the society whose infrastructure made you rich.

You’re just slitting your own throats in the long run.

Capitalism Needs to Be More Compassionate

In “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” Adam Smith talks about the interest of the greater good, benevolence, justice and taking a wider social responsibility with profits distributed for the betterment of society as a whole. His thinking gave birth to the ideas of Bournville Village, Port Sunlight and the Joseph Rowntree Trust and, arguably, a version of the NHS.

Note: Younger consumers look much harder at their purchases these days. If Millennial or Generation Z’s values are not reflected in your brand, product or organisation, then it’ll cost you sales, so it’s worth getting right.


At the forefront of people being kind to other people is showing respect.

Have you ever been talked down to by your manager or another colleague in front of other people? It has such a negative effect on employees’ well-being as honest mistakes or poor performance are then visible for everyone to see. In its worst form, it can be seen as bullying and so, if you’re unconvinced by anything else in this article, can we at least advise you to talk in private? The headteacher should have done this in Corrie.

Even better, look to solve difficult situations by being positive in your language and constructive in your approach.

So, for 2019, don’t be a c**t. Be nice to people.


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