Lianne Sipsma, Managing Partner, The Kaya GroupLianne Sipsma, Managing Partner
“WELLBEING.” Did you just raise your eyebrows? You’re not alone. The moment one utters the word “wellbeing,” it conjures up thoughts of yoga, corporate gym benefits, and trite clichés about work-life balance. Isn’t it? Truth be told, that is far from even scratching the surface. Now, from a business perspective, think about terms like engagement, productivity, retention, team performance, and organizational effectiveness. For the most successful leaders and organizations, that’s what wellbeing is all about.Wellbeing is certainly linked to an organization’s bottom line.

A global crisis, like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, epitomizes the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) environment in which individuals and organizations are currently operating. Organizational leaders need to acknowledge contextual variables but also consciously direct their time, energy, and effort to develop sustainable individuals, leaders, and organizational wellbeing capability. This is where leading organizational and employee development consultants like The Kaya Group can make a difference. By gathering insights into human capabilities and potentials, Kaya enables employees to attain a state of “optimal wellbeing” to improve organizational performance, productivity, and profitability.

Take the First Step toward Optimal Wellbeing

Kaya believes that wellbeing is a state of being—so not fixed. People’s personal and work lives are constantly changing, presenting them with different and complex challenges and demands that affect and alter their sense of wellbeing. According to Kaya, when employees are in the right place—mentally, emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually—it’s called ‘optimal wellbeing.’ Employees feel positive, engaged, fulfilled, and equipped to deal with the challenges and demands they are facing. However, this is a dynamic state as employees don’t always feel good and are not always doing well. Like a seesaw, wellbeing is determined by an ongoing assessment of the challenges faced compared to the resources at their disposal. If employees don’t think they have the resources or enough of them, they can go about acquiring more. This is when they grow and thrive.

Kaya has identified seven facets or enablers of wellbeing. The seven facets span the range of wellbeing dimensions, namely physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. Each of the facets is based on research, linking the facet to individual wellbeing and organizational level outcomes. The facets provide easy to apply measurement scales in an individual measure of wellbeing and a structured framework for the presentation of capability building development tools, whether for individuals, teams, or organizations.

Since the impact of “individual wellbeing” on the individual and the systems in which they function continues to enjoy growing attention, Kaya has sought to develop an evidence-based yet universally accessible approach to building wellbeing capability. “Our goal is to facilitate the building of wellbeing capability for individuals.
We know how to experience sustainable optimal wellbeing,” explains Lianne Sipsma, Managing Partner of The Kaya Group.

Embarking on the Wellbeing Journey

With a systemic approach, Kaya understands that individual (I) wellbeing directly affects individual performance and effectiveness, which directly affects team (We) wellbeing, performance, and effectiveness, which directly impacts organizational (It) wellbeing, performance, and effectiveness. This multi-dimensional perspective sets Kaya apart, and its breadth of solutions consistently demonstrates this holistic approach.

This very approach is what affords all stakeholders access to wellbeing wisdom and pragmatic tools. The Kaya wellbeing suite of tools and programs cater to various stakeholders to build wellbeing capability. For individuals, there is the opportunity to assess their current state of wellbeing (The Wellbeing Indicator™), acquire essential insights into what wellbeing is, why it matters, and how it works (including developing a personal wellbeing plan). They can participate in facilitated workshops or in wellbeing coaching geared to supporting foundational shifts in thinking and behaviors. For organizations, there is the opportunity to undertake organization-wide diagnostics such as the Kaya Organizational Health Assessment or the Kaya Wellbeing Audit for Leaders and Staff. Kaya also conducts organization-wide, facilitated workshops to build aligned wellbeing mental models and equip leaders and staff with the confidence to manage their wellbeing and support others in doing the same.

Sipsma highlights that leadership is the cornerstone of organizational success, and when the chips are down, all eyes are on leaders, imploring them to show the way. The greater the uncertainty, the greater the expectation that leaders will deliver a clear path forward. “At Kaya we recognize that leaders inform organizational culture and no less so when it comes to employee wellbeing. They do this through the actions and behaviors that they display, what they pay attention to, what they encourage or discourage, and what they choose to allocate resources to,” adds Sipsma. The leaders of an organization must be allowed to build wellbeing capability, which includes managing their wellbeing as well as supporting others in managing their wellbeing.

A Melting Pot of Talent

Founded in 2000, Kaya is a global firm of organizational psychologists delivering science-based, people-focused solutions to organizations. The team believes that the smallest interventions can make a huge difference, on a personal level, but also in pure business terms–productivity and profitability. “We’re talking about understanding and redefining personal, professional, and organizational stories – we all have one to tell and, with informed intent, we can all decide how our stories unfold,”elaborates Sipsma. Kaya has an excellent understanding of human nature in the workplace and extensive experience working with individuals and systems in developing individual, leadership, team and organizational capability designed to maximize individual potential and realize organizational objectives.

Kaya is currently working with one of the world’s leading professional services companies. The organization is committed to delivering imaginative thinking and exceptional client service, provided by over 10,000 employees located across the globe. Having determined that wellbeing was a strategic imperative, the company had plans to launch a program of wellbeing activities in 2021. The global pandemic and an acute appreciation of its impact on employees saw the timeline brought forward as the business sought to ensure business continuity through wellbeing continuity. In other words, they wanted to ensure that the organization’s people were equipped to deal with the challenges and demands posed by this unprecedented event.

With a strong focus on building wellbeing capability across the organization, Kaya embarked on a consultative journey with the program sponsor and wellbeing workgroup leveraging the Kaya tools and programs. Kaya ensured that all employees have access to the Wellbeing Indicator™, its online wellbeing assessment tool to provide respondents with a baseline of their wellbeing and an option to re-assess. Kaya also engaged in building wellbeing capability for leaders, staff, and enabling quality wellbeing conversations. As a result, Kaya was able to support the delivery ofleader-focused training where over 2,000 business leaders completed the Building Wellbeing Capability virtually, enroll over 1000 webinar/info session attendees, and monitor organizational wellbeing with over a thousand Wellbeing Indicator™ completions. While anecdotal, the organizational wellbeing sponsor has indicated that the organization is ascribing its recent global performance, it’s best in the past five years, despite the global context, to its agile implementation of a wellbeing culture.

Kaya is committed to making wellbeing concepts accessible to everyone. The company is confident that the Kaya model of wellbeing can assist people in answering questions related to the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ of wellbeing. Sipsma notes, “We take the time to listen, intently. We stimulate ideas through conversations and use our understanding of organizational psychology and human nature to help people understand their capabilities. We shift perceptions, change mental models, and remove psychological barriers.” For the future, the company is looking for new Business Partners to make a positive difference together.