Getting to Grips with Employee Wellbeing
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
Most employers would agree that the wellbeing of their employees is of the utmost importance. However, many of the employers that we speak with, remain frustrated that their employee wellbeing programmes are not having the impact that they would like.
With this in mind, we have come compiled a list of five suggestions for employers who want to get better results when it comes to improving their employee wellbeing programmes.
1. Educate: A good starting point is to educate leaders and managers about the business, health and legal risks associated with the ill-health of their employees. Resilience training can be very useful in this respect. We have found that asking leaders to track their stress using a biometric wellbeing assessment tool can be very effective. When they understand the building blocks of stress and wellbeing in their own lives, they are more likely to make a genuine effort to pay attention to how well their team members are coping.
2. Show you care. More important than what you do to promote employee wellbeing, is how you do it. When employees know that their bosses care about them as individuals, it can make a massive difference.
A simple action is to encourage your managers to have scheduled and unscheduled check-in conversations to check if employees are getting the right work/balance or if they are feeling too much pressure. If a manager suspects that someone is struggling they can learn some simple phrasing to raise the topic such as, “I noticed you have been emailing at night recently and this concerns me. I just wanted to check whether you have too much on your plate. Can we chat about this?”.
3. Managing culture: When colleagues make it a habit to check in with each other (as above) this helps to shape a culture that is more humanistic, one that is not solely focused on the bottom line. Leaders can also become wellbeing role models by sharing the practices they are following to promote their own wellbeing.
Other cultural norms can be adapted to send a similar message. For example, setting explicit guidelines about sending emails within regular business hours or making it exceptional to plan meetings over the lunch period. It may be necessary to conduct a culture audit to weed out practices that may contribute to employee overload or anxiety. Remember the goal here is not to bring in new rules for the sake of it, but to find ways to support your staff to work more sustainably.
4. Calculate the ROI: Improving the wellbeing of your employees may incur some costs. However, not making this investment can be even more costly. When you work out the return on investment (ROI) of a tailored wellbeing programme, you will need to look at the true cost of employee absence due to sick/stress leave. Additionally, there are hiring and training costs for getting new employees up to speed to replace those that have left due to burnout or simply not liking your working culture.
These are real costs that often get overlooked and they need to be factored into any wellbeing ROI calculation. Getting ahead of these costs using smart wellbeing interventions makes good business sense.
5. Provide meaningful work: Having meaning and fulfilment in work is often viewed as contributing to spiritual wellbeing. For employees to continue to commit their best energy and ideas, they will want to feel that what the business is doing is worthwhile.
In some cases, they may find meaning in helping to grow a place of employment in a low employment area. Some leaders derive meaning from nurturing and developing those in their teams. Others find meaning knowing that your products and services can have a positive impact in the lives of others. To improve employee wellbeing in a deeper way, we recommend engaging your employees in conversations about meaning and how your organisation can become a place of true purpose for them.
You may be interested in how our Wiser Wellness programmes can help you to implement the ideas discussed here in your team or organisation. We can also explore other solutions to improve your employee wellbeing programmes, which may fit your unique context. If this is of interest, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .