How Focusing on Employee Wellbeing Helps your Company’s Wellbeing
While billions of dollars are being spent worldwide on employee wellbeing, research says that most such initiatives are well off the mark. After all, people care about more than free food, games in the office, and other freebies that have been touted as well-being initiatives that contribute to a great workforce experience (Wx).
Typically, well-being initiatives focus on health, happiness, and prosperity. You don’t need advanced data skills to decode that well-being translates into better work.
Even before the pandemic, poor well-being was burning a $575 billion sized hole in corporate America’s pockets. This has only worsened in the last two years. To engage people and elevate them to perform at their true potential, as a leader, you urgently need to solve this issue. A Wx with wellbeing at its heart will attract, engage, and retain top talent.
However, asking people to clock 10,000 steps a day or to meditate using an app does not quite address the issue. For a truly exceptional Wx, companies need to address four aspects of wellbeing:
Mental wellbeing at work impacts everything from punctuality to job performance to communication. Hence, it is critical to address the psychological and emotional demands on people at the workplace.
Some ways to improve the Wx through mental wellbeing initiatives could simply be:
1. Regularly checking in with people to understand their needs
2. Creating events to increase belonging and inclusion
3. Investing in their growth and development
4. Providing flexibility to integrate work-related and personal needs
In addition, an up-and-coming way to go about this is establishing Employee Assistance Programs(EAP). These programs allow for confidential support given to employees to work through a myriad of issues such as stress and anxiety.
Employers with established EAP support have seen a significant improvement in job performance and are more likely to attract employees.
Overall, for every $1 spent on mental health at the workplace, the return is $4.
Physical wellbeing is hardly a new concept. The benefits of 10,000 steps per day for lasting health have been sold for the longest time. With the pandemic, physical well-being has taken a hit as well.
1. Providing nutritional counseling around healthy eating
2. Building flexible benefits that include gym memberships or fitness allowances
3. Creating fitness opportunities at the workplace in the form of gyms or nap rooms
4. Providing healthy alternatives to greasy snacks and sodas in offices
New workplace design incorporates the ‘path of least resistance. By making healthier alternatives available –for example, stairs vs lifts, standing desks vs sitting desks, salads vs desserts, incentivizing walks to water stations every hour, etc., companies can improve the overall wellbeing of their people.
Financial wellbeing is a state of being where people can meet all financial obligations and feel financially secure for their future. Nearly 2 out of 3 Americanemployeesfeel financial stress has increased due to the pandemic.
This has further hurt the Wx, making it tougher to bring their best selves to work. Some of the ways to address this are:
1. Providing financial counseling and debt restructuring advice for people
2. Benchmarking rewards and benefits practices with the market
3. Designing customized rewards and benefits packages aligned with people’s needs
4. Communicating rewards and benefits with people regularly
Best-in-class organizations use a blend of solutions to stay on top of their people’s financial needs and provide support as needed.
It could be assumed that working in a team or even just being surrounded by people at work would be enough to meet an individual’s social needs. That, however, falls short of the truth. Wx can be improved through meaningful interactions at work.
Positive relationships at work are conducive to elevated job performance and an effort must be made to promote employee camaraderie. Some simple practices may go a long way in doing so:
1. Setting up collaborative workspaces and encouraging cross-functional teams
2. Encouraging people to recognize each other through peer recognition programs
3. Creating forums where people with something in common (such as hobbies) can engage
4. Onboarding processes (such as buddy programs or mentorship opportunities) that support new joiners in integrating well
5. Creating ‘traditions’ and rituals –potluck lunches, birthday celebrations, secret Santa, etc.
Interestingly, even remote workers seem to crave some human interaction and some companies even have forums where people can simply switch on cameras, say ‘hi’ to each other, and then get to work.
It is common to push wellness initiatives to the back burner and prioritize other company improvements. However, the Wx benefits of investing in structured wellbeing initiatives are massive.
To create a Wx that has wellbeing as its core and creates value for all stakeholders, reach out to us at email@example.com.
About the Author
Founder of eleventHR Consulting.
Sumit has been working in HR & HR consulting roles for 16+
years across sectors and verticals and specializes in
organization design, wellbeing, storytelling & design thinking, and performance management. In his career with consulting firms such as Aon, Deloitte, and Accenture, he has successfully led programs aimed at total HR transformation for clients.
Recently, as Associate Director for India Consulting at Deloitte, he worked with clients on cultural transformation and HR process and policy design. He also organized and spoke at conferences and events about a variety of topics relevant to HR today.
Now self-employed, he works with clients across the globe on a variety of HR solution areas.