Harnessing the Power of Mindfulness - The Talent Group
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21 Aug Harnessing the Power of Mindfulness

 

Here at The Talent Group we hope you agree we do a pretty good job at helping companies to recruit the perfect candidates.  But once they are settled in their role and we’ve done our job, then it’s down to the employer to keep them and we all know and realise that the financial package and the traditional add-ons may well not be enough anymore.

The World Health Organisation estimates that stress costs American businesses roughly $300 billion dollars per year. Over the past thirty years, we’ve experienced an 18-23% increase of self-reported stress for men and women, respectively.

So, what is mindfulness?

In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practising mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement. The origins of mindfulness sit firmly in Buddhism but it’s increasingly taught in a secular form.

A simple mindfulness practice is the one-minute meditation. Find a quiet place and focus your attention on your breath. If your mind wanders (as it probably will), bring your concentration back to your breath. Then relax as the calm unfolds.

It is a word that creates mixed feelings. Some perceive it as yet another management fad; very trendy but at the end of the day a wishy-washy and useless concept. Others, however, believe that it can improve leadership and create happier employees.

This year, in particular has seen a huge increase awareness of mental health and a widespread view that it’s not OK to keep it all bottled up.  Responsibility falls on all of us, but particularly companies need to look after their team, making sure that they are fulfilled, happy, engaged in their job and reaching their full potential.

It Makes Financial Sense

Don’t, however think that we are naive, for companies it makes financial sense. Less stress and anxiety in the workplace means less absenteeism. Advocates say mindful meditation focuses the mind and boosts concentration, therefore boosting productivity. Leaders are said to gain empathy and patience, which will result in a happier team. This is an incredibly stressful world and mindfulness helps you to find space in that stress.

Facebook, Google, Goldman Sachs, and a huge number of other companies around the world have adopted Mindfulness practise just as readily as they have gym membership and holidays as perks: Sally Boyle, head of human capital management at Goldman, comments: “In years to come we’ll be talking about mindfulness as we talk about exercise now” (in Agnew, 2014).

Aetna, the nation’s third largest health insurer, partnered with Duke University to study meditation and yoga. Researchers found these practices decreased stress levels by 28%, improved sleep quality (20%), reduced pain (19%), and improved productivity 62 minutes per employee per week. Aetna is now offering similar programs to all employees as well as its insured customers.

So how can it work for your business?

Here are just five ways that adopting Mindfulness within your business can benefit your employees:

  • Mindful managers are better leaders

A Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that ‘The key to effective leadership is the ability to integrate your head (IQ) with your heart (EQ)’ As, “The longest journey you will ever take is the eighteen inches from your head to your heart.” Our hearts are where essential leadership qualities like passion, compassion and courage reside. By practising mindfulness, mindful leaders exhibit high levels of self-awareness and intentionally in their actions.

  • Improve diversity

Mindfulness promotes awareness and opening up, admitting that it’s OK to be vulnerable.  One size does not fit all in any business and it’s this recognition that mindfulness brings that will help employers find the right people who do fit.

  • It helps with employee focus and well-being

When you are mindful, you’re aware of your presence and the ways you impact other people. You’re able to both observe and participate in each moment, while recognising the implications of your actions for the longer term. And that prevents you from slipping into a life that pulls you away from your values.

  • Reduces Stress and Conflict in the Workplace

When you are mindful, you’re aware of your presence and the ways you impact other people. You’re able to both observe and participate in each moment, while recognising the implications of your actions for the longer term. And that prevents you from slipping into a life that pulls you away from your values.

  • Happy Employees are Better Ones

Shawn Achor, author of the famous book The Happiness Advantage, comments on his analysis of over 200 scientific studies on happiness: “[Happy employees] have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions, and receive higher performance ratings and higher pay. They also enjoy more job security and are less likely to take sick days, to quit, or become burned out. Happy CEO’s are more likely to lead teams of employees who are both happy and healthy, and who find their work climate conducive to high performance” (2011, p.41).

 

This all sounds lovely, but it’s harder than you think to switch off, even if just for a brief time every day.  It’s a busy world that we live it but we think that 20 minutes per day to achieve all the above is worth it – isn’t it?

We would love to hear from your company if you have any experience or success stories that benefited you when you adopted Mindfulness in your organisation.  Please do get in touch with us by calling us on 01276 408616 or emailing us directly enquiries@thetalentgroup.co.uk.  We can also be found on Linked in, where we will keep you up to date with everything that is happening in our industry.



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