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What’s your 50 percent? The question we all need to be asking at work


I have a question for you: what’s your 50%?

Recently we were talking with a group of leaders about the role that everyone plays in supporting wellbeing at work. They used a phrase, which we loved: “What’s your 50%?”

The idea is that we all bring something to the table with our attitudes, our ideas, and our actions. It links really well with a concept we’ve found ourselves talking more about – the psychological contract.

For those not familiar with the term, a psychological contract can be defined as the unwritten expectations and obligations that sit between employers and employees. In essence, it captures how both parties perceive their relationship beyond the written employment contract. It encompasses what they anticipate from each other and typically evolves over time based on the behaviours of everyone within the organisation.

When the psychological contract is fulfilled, it has been associated with job satisfaction, low work-related anxiety and depression and high levels of trust and fairness between employees and employers.

Reciprocity is key and any breaches, typically resulting from organisations failing to fulfill their promises, can profoundly impact employee job satisfaction, engagement, wellbeing, and, in the long run, the overall performance of the organisation. Failing to fulfill a promise can be related to job demands, resourcing, or any of the other known stressors.

As we’ve often emphasised, wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility — and it needs to be done with people, not done to people.

With this principle in mind, employees aren’t mere passive recipients but active participants. They have an essential role in looking after their own health, seeking support when needed, and supporting their organisation’s efforts to strengthen wellbeing across the business. They bring 50% of the effort and the willingness to the table.

But of course, responsibility for engagement doesn’t solely rest on employees. It’s a two-way street and employers shoulder the other 50%. Employers have an obligation, and indeed a duty of care, to ensure that the working environment itself doesn’t contribute to ill health. They have a duty to do what they say they will do. Actions are more powerful than words.

At the end of the day, we all have a responsibility. As a people leader or wellbeing champions – what’s the 50% that your organisation is bringing to the table?

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