Research shows that employees are 13% more productive when they’re happy. That’s why investing in employee wellbeing does more than just boost company morale.
It also improves results, increases revenue, and reduces employee turnover. A company that invests in its employees is rare, making it an attractive prospect for highly qualified professionals.
Treating your employees with respect, appreciation, and compassion is more important than ever. Especially in light of the recent pandemic which left a majority of the world either stressed or unemployed.
Far too many employers focus on the customer journey while neglecting the employee experience.
Here we’ll discuss the importance of employee wellbeing and how to create a positive, engaging work environment.
What is Employee Wellbeing?
You hear catch-phrases like “self-care” and “well-being” thrown around, but do you really know what they mean?
Well-being extends far beyond just your mental health, although this is a major component. By definition, well-being surrounds your happiness, health, and prosperity.
It means being satisfied with your life circumstance, having a sense of purpose, and being able to manage stress.
There are five main types of well-being:
While these are all separate, they’re closely linked. When you’re not feeling good about one aspect of your life, it trickles over into others areas.
Workplace wellbeing is the ability for someone to utilize their talents, interests, values, and life purpose in a professional capacity.
Once you achieve professional success, your wellbeing is based on how your job, expectations, duties, and the overall environment affect your health and happiness.
Why Employee Wellbeing Is so Important
In recent years it’s become increasingly obvious that investing in the well-being of your employees is also an investment in the success of your company.
Employee wellbeing is directly linked to productivity and engagement. When you make it a priority, you’re also making your company stronger as a whole.
Not only will you reduce employee turnover and retain high-performing employees, but you’ll attract qualified, up-and-coming talent. This gives your company a leg-up on the competition.
By creating a work environment that values employees and offers them the resources they need to succeed, your company becomes an attractive place for highly qualified candidates.
With a pool of talented professionals on your team, you’ll gain a competitive edge over other companies in the industry.
More than the product or service you sell, your employees are the heart and core of your business. In fact, the word “company” is a military term that refers to a group of soldiers.
Focusing on the employee experience and how you can make it better will do wonders for the overall morale of your company.
It’s time to start thinking outside the traditional employee benefits box which includes things like health insurance, paid time off, and a pension plan. While these are important, without overall health and wellbeing, your employees can’t enjoy the fruits of their labour.
With thousands of employees now working from home, companies are tasked with maintaining these positive relationships remotely. Management needs to ensure all workers have the tools, resources, and support they need to perform their jobs efficiently.
Remote work creates distance and isolation, leaving more room for errors and miscommunication. This is why employee wellbeing is even more important for companies with an influx of remote workers.
Covid-19 and Employee Wellbeing
Covid-19 shook the world in many ways, including how companies and employees conduct business. A majority of employees were forced to work remotely — and many never returned to the office.
Managing a predominantly remote workforce is no easy task for HR and upper management. It’s difficult to keep employees engaged, trained, and productive.
In addition, the customer journey has also shifted. The needs and behaviours of customers are not what they were pre-pandemic. A majority of interactions now occur online, transforming the landscape of how brands and customers interact.
As more and more companies try to navigate this new economic structure, many are considering a complete overhaul of their company’s products and services.
Without a solid foundation of creative, engaged, and happy employees, this shift will be nearly impossible. In order to boost business and adjust to the new normal, employers must first focus on the employee experience.
This includes offering resources and training, incentives, time-off, and tools for maintaining healthy behaviours.
A positive employee experience translates to a positive customer experience. This gives employees a sense of purpose and the motivation to continue working hard and producing results.
This cycle of how the employee experience directly impacts the customers and your bottom line is becoming the new normal in companies around the world.
The Introduction of Well-being Programs
Well-being programs are popping up in companies around the world as part of their benefits package. Many include things like resources, incentives, privacy measures, social support, and strategies for maintaining healthy behaviours.
Promoting healthy behaviours in the workplace is another way to reduce overhead. Unhealthy behaviours lead to sickness and chronic conditions that can increase healthcare costs.
Well-being and wellness programs help employees maintain a healthy weight (or even lose weight), improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions.
Healthy employees are also less likely to call out sick, show up late, or drop the ball on major projects and assignments.
Physical health is directly related to mental health. When employees are in better physical health overall, they’re more positive and motivated. They have higher self-esteem and are more likely to take on greater responsibilities and challenges.
Over 80% of employees claim that the opportunity to take on more challenges is a major incentive for staying with a company.
Mentally healthy employees make fewer mistakes, complete more work in less time, and help create a more positive work environment.
Creating an Employee Experience Strategy
Now that you know a little more about what employee wellbeing is and why it matters, let’s discuss creating and implementing an employee experience strategy.
Like the customer journey, you need to understand the employee experience to improve it. This involves taking the time, making the effort, and utilizing different resources to get inside the heads and hearts of your valued staff members.
There are countless ways to implement employee wellbeing efforts in the workplace, but here are a few proven strategies for long-term success.
Focus on Health and Safety
In light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, the health and safety of your employees have never been more important. By showing you value employee wellbeing, you’re sending the message that you care and appreciate all members of your team.
Start by evaluating the physical make-up and design of your company.
Are desks and work stations positioned 6 feet apart? Does your company provide the necessary PPE to keep all workers safe?
You may need to make structural changes to ensure all employees feel comfortable and safe coming to work.
You also need to provide remote workers that choose not to re-enter the office with certain tools and resources. Creating a harmonious workflow and providing access to real-time collaboration make remote workers feel like active participants in daily operations.
Some companies go the extra mile by offering financial support for childcare services, free Wi-Fi, and equipment like laptops and furniture. Ergonomic furniture is another must-have for remote workers.
The measures you take to help reduce stress and job insecurities during this difficult time allow employees to focus on their mental and physical health, creating more productive, happier workers.
Create Deep Bonds and Connections
While certain interwork relationships are frowned upon, you should develop a certain bond and connection with your workers. This is especially important when a majority of your employees work remotely.
Not being in the office every day creates a disconnect. Employees start feeling removed from the positive company culture.
Everyone benefits from feeling part of a productive team. It’s important to build a culture of pride around the organisation, its mission, and its members.
Start by connecting the company values to everyday tasks and activities. Show your team members why their role is integral for maintaining the company’s culture and reputation.
Be transparent and honest with employees as well. No one likes surprises.
Host virtual staff meetings that include both remote and in-office workers. Keep all employees informed about any changes or policies that directly impact daily operations or the future of the company.
Being receptive is as important as being vocal. Welcome feedback and input from team members.
After all, they’re in the trenches and have the first-hand experience with what is and isn’t working. Put your pride aside and put the future of your company at the forefront.
When employees are part of the decision-making process, it helps them feel more in control and empowered.
According to Salesforce, employees who feel their voice is heard are nearly 5 times more likely to work at peak performance.
Praise and Acknowledge Accomplishments
Everyone needs a pat on the back once in a while. Don’t let a job well done go unnoticed.
If employees continue to perform at or above their standard without any recognition, chances are, they’ll stop trying so hard.
While you can’t praise every single accomplishment, you should make an effort to thank those staff members who meet or exceed company goals and standards.
Having a purpose is a big part of employee wellbeing. When employees feel like their job doesn’t matter, they’re less motivated and may feel depressed or worthless.
Help these employees find their purpose or role in the company infrastructure by asking what their personal goals are and for input on what employee wellbeing means to them. Make sure your employees feel like humans rather than just bodies filling positions.
Show your appreciation with a company-wide lunch, gift or swag bags, a personal e-mail, or in-person acknowledgement. A little goes a long way when it comes to showing your employees they’re valued.
Offer Fitness Challenges
As important as mental health is for employee wellbeing, physical health is often overlooked. While you can’t force employees to hit the gym, you can create fun and interactive fitness challenges that get team members moving and involved.
Fitness challenges are a great way to boost employee morale and engagement while also encouraging exercise. It also promotes friendly competition.
When employees see their coworkers getting involved, they’re more motivated to participate. They may even push themselves outside their comfort zone and discover talents and capabilities they didn’t know they had.
Schedule Wellbeing Training and Check-Ins
Life gets busy. Deadlines come and go. Tasks are assigned without a second thought.
It’s important to perform routine check-ins with employees to make sure they’re in good mental and physical health.
Ask questions. Find out what they need, what’s working, and what isn’t.
Not all team members are comfortable coming to you with their concerns or needs. That’s why you should take the initiative to reach out and ask. Let them know that their feedback is welcome and appreciated.
When you identify employee pain points, you can take the necessary steps to improve the overall employee experience.
Encourage a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Accomplishing a healthy work-life balance is difficult for any employee. Meeting deadlines and quotas can create a lot of stress for team members.
Help your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible hours. Things like family, community, faith, and hobbies all give life purpose.
Without these components, employees will get run down and burnt out. They may also start resenting their job if it doesn’t afford them the time to do the things they enjoy.
Flexible hours are also a must for workers with families and other obligations. It allows employees to adjust their schedules to fit both their personal and professional needs.
With adequate rest and time to pursue life’s joys, team members will return to work more energized, positive, and focused.
Make Preventative Care a Priority
Don’t wait for an issue to arise before you take action. Take preventative measures to invest in employee wellbeing. This includes both mental and physical health.
In terms of physical wellbeing, offering things like the flu shot helps keep staff members safe and healthy. It also reduces absenteeism and the spread of illness throughout the office.
Have counselling and therapy resources available for any staff member facing mental or emotional turmoil. Having somewhere to turn is a huge part of maintaining happy, healthy employees.
How to Create a New Normal that Breeds Success
Making employee wellbeing the new normal isn’t as difficult as it seems. In fact, it’s a positive change that many companies are now adopting.
Without happy, healthy, engaged employees, your businesses will crumble from within. Improving the employee experience helps build a foundation for success.
Need help building a dedicated, well-trained staff?
At Kerry Consulting, we pride ourselves on matching companies with highly qualified professionals to not only fill positions but create long-term working relationships.