Occupational well-being: Occupational well-being is managed with knowledge

Managing occupational well-being is part of the supervisors’ work, but everyone is in charge of their own occupational health and managing their own work. The focal point in our new project is leadership through knowledge.

In this project that began in the autumn, we have started to improve our occupational well-being management, and this work continues. The aim of the project is to make the occupational well-being management cohesive throughout the entire organisation, and enhance cooperation between HR, worker protection and occupational health care, providing support to the administration and supervisors.   

The main focus in the project is on knowledge management. In the workshops held in the autumn, the development team discussed the goals and indicators of occupational well-being management. Among other things, we asked the team members about their thoughts regarding the significance of occupational well-being management and how this form of management should be further developed?  

The project will continue in spring 2021. At that time, the themes will include roles and responsibilities, work communities and an occupational well-being tool box for supervisors.  

Everyone is responsible for occupational well-being 

‘In order to provide residents with high-quality customer- and resident-centric services, it is imperative that our employees feel well. Therefore, occupational well-being must be seen as part of the everyday work,’ Riitta Pimiä says emphatically. She works as a service manager at Occupational Health Helsinki and took part in the project workshops. 

‘In many sectors, we are competing with private service providers for workforce. However, our main strengths include our good management procedures and supervisor work, as well as a work community that invests in staff well-being. Our salaries are rarely competitive compared to those of private enterprises, but instead our meaningful roles, continuous learning, investments in training, as well as job and workplace well-being may provide an edge to the public sector.’ 

Pimiä reminds us that every employee is responsible for occupational well-being. 

‘Occupational well-being management is a big part of the supervisors’ work, but it is equally important for all employees to shoulder responsibility for their own occupational well-being and managing their work.’ 

Occupational well-being and managing it form a whole that consists of several elements, and everyone should be aware of these. All employees should think about the goals that their individual roles have. 

Other important questions include: what was my induction like, do I have sufficient skills, have I got enough resources and time to do my job well, is the atmosphere open and interactive and can I get support when I need it? What about how I am feeling? What should I do if my ability to work deteriorates? What should I do if I become concerned about a colleague?  

New tools for leadership 

Ilkka Konola believes that occupational well-being management should involve more than just indicators and staring at figures. Konola works as an occupational safety and health representative in the family and social services.

‘Occupational well-being management is about interacting with employees, i.e. people, and supporting them. Unfortunately, there is not enough time to do this.’ 

He believes that in addition to schemes, guidelines and indicators, what is needed is promotion of workplace well-being. Furthermore, investments far above the current level should be made in the supervisors’ skills and support. 

He thinks that the occupational well-being development project is important and has high hopes for it. He would also like to see the project result in new occupational well-being management tools for employees’ immediate supervisors and middle management.