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Civil Service

This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

(Sailing on) the 7Es of wellbeing

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: A great place to work, Health & Wellbeing
Members of Team Chaffinch with presenter Jonathan Jones on the stage at the 2018 Civil Service Awards, one of them holding the award.
Members of Team Chaffinch with their 2018 Civil Service Award for Health & Wellbeing, presented by Jonathan Jones (third left), Civil Service Health & Wellbeing Champion

I really believe in the ‘7Es’ of wellbeing, which I have set out below.

The basic ideas are not mine – I started using them before I joined the Civil Service. I believe they originally came from the Training Department of Leicestershire Police, but I’ve been aware of them for so long I can’t remember exactly. They are tried and tested, and they have worked for me. They may work for you, too.

So sit back, relax, and come sail the 7Es with me.

The 7Es

  1. Engage – engage people in a culture of wellbeing

Studies show that positive moods result in increased productivity. For example, employees feel valued when they are included in decision-making, thus increasing productivity.

  1. Exemplify – exemplify the standards and values that you wish to embed in your organisation

Being a role model is an extremely compelling tool for leaders to have. The concept of “Do as I say, not as I do” is outdated and ineffective – why should others believe in what you are doing if you do not believe it yourself?

  1. Empower – empower your staff, give clear information, delegate effectively and provide adequate training

Empower staff by asking for ideas, acting upon them and giving them due acknowledgement which, in turn, increases self-confidence. Challenge people by delegating tasks you know will stretch them and enable them to grow. But also ensure people are given adequate training in order to complete tasks that are asked of them. Do not set them up to fail, but support them when they are outside their comfort zone.

  1. Encourage – encourage staff by celebrating accomplishments – it is the small things that count

Provide a supportive environment where staff feel that they can thrive, and that their accomplishments are recognised and celebrated. Leaders can often show their appreciation by sending simple yet thoughtful emails to their staff. It’s low cost, but extremely valuable. Say, thank you – and mean it.

  1. Empathise – empathise with your staff and provide emotional support

Be an approachable leader. Members of staff may go through difficult periods in their lives that can affect their work performance. As a leader, providing emotional support does not have to be a grand gesture, and members of staff may not want to go to Employee Support Providers. Sometimes, all that is needed is a cup of tea and a quick chat, just to check up on them. Be personable and approachable.

  1. Embed – embed the values of wellbeing in everything you do

Ensure that people take care of their wellbeing both mentally and physically. Your ‘unconscious bias’ shouldn’t kick in. This happens when you judge others by your standards and abilities, and not theirs. Celebrate peoples’ differences and encourage them to achieve their potential. Encourage honest and constructive feedback.

  1. Evaluate – evaluate the effects and benefits over time

The world is constantly changing, which means that people’s skills are constantly having to change and improve, and should be recognised and evaluated regularly. As change is inevitable, the process in which we do things will also change. Embrace the possibility of change and see it as a benefit in order to positively progress in the future.

If I may just relate these principles to my own experience. Early on in my Civil Service career, I inherited a demoralised team who lacked direction and were a little down in the dumps. By using the 7Es, I was able to turn a group of people who were not fulfilling their true potential into a valuable and productive team who trusted each other and felt able to take on any challenge that the world threw at them.

I would urge you to try the 7Es approach, and see if it works. Working with people is much easier and far more productive than most people think. As for providing value for money, all of the above are either low cost or no cost.

Above all, be fair to everyone and be the person that your dog thinks you are (see my previous blogs for my thoughts on this).

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  1. Comment by Gavin Thomas posted on

    Thank you Kevin for a very informative blog. I really like your concept of the 7ES of Wellbeing. Simple and yet as you have found, an effective way in which to motivate and achieve success.

    Certainly, the Wellbeing Network, which is an FCO Staff Association has been adopting these principles since their launch in circa 2015 and these have been instrumental in the success we have achieved.

    Unquestionably, both engagement and empowerment with our colleagues has helped us in transforming mindsets and attitude in respect of Mental Health and Wellbeing.

  2. Comment by Jim Dorward posted on

    Great blog and easy to follow, thanks.

  3. Comment by SW posted on

    More people should follow this. Thanks.

  4. Comment by Claire Reader posted on

    Thanks for your blog Kevin- a great reminder that even if you don't lead a team everyone can aspire to be approachable and demonstrate non-judgemental empathy and encourage others to embrace a culture of wellbeing.

    • Replies to Claire Reader>

      Comment by Kevin Oliver posted on

      Absolutely right Claire. You don't have to be a Manager to be a Leader. Some of the most significant leaders I've had were actually people I managed. The "acid test" of leadership is supposed to be that you produce a leader who then produces a leader. I'm pleased to say that I have.