How should an organization respond to reports of increasing stress in the workplace? The choices include: 1) do something or 2) do nothing.
As an organization, you may have various resources available for wellness and wellbeing support. These may include:
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
- Chaplaincy/Pastoral Care
- Peer Support Programs
- Resilience Training
Having resources available is vital for the wellbeing of your employees; however, if the workplace culture fosters an underutilization of these resources then you have likely seen a loss of funding or lack of availability of these resources.
What Helps to Promote Workplace Wellness?
(We previously described 6 Initiatives to improve workplace wellbeing. You can learn about those here.)
There are 5 key components that support wellness. These components can be added into any organization and apply to any wellness program. We call these foundational building blocks “The 5 Pillars of Peer Support” which include Community, Connection, Reason, Awareness, and Focus.
Community is a feeling of fellowship with others as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, goals, and skills. A community can be geographically anywhere (even across the world through the abilities of social media). Community is a fundamental necessity to begin building a connection between 2 or more people. Without a sense of community, the individual feels alone, lost, and helpless.
The one thing that all humans desire is a connection with another human. We will pay exorbitant amounts of money to acquire connection, marry multiple times to hope for it, engage in negative coping mechanisms searching for it, and will do almost anything to sense it. When connection is present, individuals feel knit or fastened together. Scripture tells us that God, our Creator, knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). We were connected to something at one point in time and we continue to search for connection until we die. When connections are not positive, we will continue to search for optimal connection, too.
The definition of reason is “a cause for an action or an event.” Through peer support we have a reason to continue on – forming a relationship with another human to support their wellbeing. When we fail to have a reason, or a “WHY”, we will continue to move in a direction without a purpose – similar to a train off of its tracks. When we have a reason – a purpose – we feel connected and a sense of direction.
Self awareness and emotional intelligence demonstrate care and compassion to someone in need. We must first have an understanding of our behaviors and emotional responses (known as emotional intelligence) before we can form an understanding for how others may experience a similar situation. It is important to note that we don’t have to experience the exact situation to appreciate the challenges and difficulties that others may experience as we navigate the relationship of peer support.
The 5th and final pillar of peer support is focus. Ultimately, if we have a community, connection, reason, and awareness without focus, then we continue to move forward without an ultimate pursuit. At PeerCheck360, it is our desire that affected individuals experience a life of wellness (emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual). We do this through teaching psychological first aid, sharing trauma informed care practices, revealing current evidence based techniques, and by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
Integrating a peer support program in your organization will help foster a culture of wellness while assisting in decreasing turnover, enhancing resilience, and promoting resources. Together, these will facilitate real growth for your employees. Peer support easily aligns within any existing organizational frameworks without requiring the presence of a full time counselor, social worker, or psychologist.
If you are interested in implementing this trauma informed, evidence based, and biblically centered program in your organization, connect with us today.