Create a culture that means business™
A healthy workforce is a prerequisite for sustained success in any industry, but the new normal has led to a wide range of challenges to employee wellbeing. The transition from traditional office setups to remote and hybrid work models has further blurred the lines between professional and personal life, made employees more susceptible to burnout, and increased team members’ sense of isolation. However, with these challenges come opportunities to leverage new technologies and new ways of thinking to elevate employee wellbeing like never before.
Let’s explore why and how organizations should prioritize employee wellbeing as a strategic necessity for long-term productivity, organizational resilience, and workforce engagement.
What is employee wellbeing?
Employee wellbeing is a holistic measure of the physical and emotional welfare of individuals at your workplace. This multifaceted concept acknowledges that a thriving workforce is one where employees feel valued, supported, and equipped to navigate the challenges their roles pose. A safe and ergonomic work environment, access to healthcare resources, a healthy work-life balance, and a positive organizational culture are just some of the elements that play a role in employee wellbeing. Understanding and working to support these factors at your organization is the foundation of any successful employee wellbeing strategy.
The importance of employee wellbeing
Investing in employee wellbeing delivers a multitude of benefits, from higher employee morale and engagement to improved talent retention and recruitment. It’s pretty straightforward: when you’re healthy and mentally unburdened, it’s much easier to take real joy in what you do, while staying interested in and motivated to complete your daily tasks. You’re much more likely to want to stay in the job you’re in as well, along with telling others about how great your workplace is, boosting your organization’s employer brand. Physically and mentally healthy employees are simply better equipped to meet the demands of their roles. With reduced absenteeism and higher levels of job performance, your organization is more likely to remain resilient and adaptable in the face of challenges.
How to measure employee well-being
Measuring employee wellbeing involves a comprehensive evaluation of both quantitative and qualitative factors, with the goal of gauging the health and contentment of your organization’s workforce. Absenteeism rates, healthcare utilization, and workplace injuries fall into the first category. Analyzing these objective metrics provides a snapshot of the physical health and safety conditions within your organization. Your company should also examine statistics on productivity levels and turnover rates to gain insights into broader dynamics that influence employee wellbeing.
Qualitative indicators relate to the sentiments of employees, from whether they feel satisfied and engaged at their job to their perspective on organizational culture. Surveys, interviews, and group discussions help gauge these factors and provide a deeper understanding of the factors that impact the employee experience. By collecting and analyzing these metrics and others, your organization can develop a more comprehensive understanding of where employee wellbeing currently stands and how to best improve it.
Challenges to employee wellbeing
Today’s rapidly evolving work environment has taken a toll on employees’ mental and physical health. The constant connectivity facilitated by smartphones and other digital communication tools has created a scenario where employees find it increasingly challenging to disengage. This ‘always-on’ culture blurs the boundaries between work and personal life, contributing to heightened stress levels and a pervasive feeling of burnout.
The shift towards remote work offers flexibility, but it can also lead to feelings of isolation and discontent. The lack of clear, physical boundaries between the professional and personal spheres makes it more challenging for employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. And an over-reliance on virtual communication methods can hinder effective collaboration and contribute to a sense of disconnection among team members.
The modern workplace is also often characterized by higher job demands and expectations, with employees facing increased workloads and tight deadlines. This pressure, coupled with the uncertainty and rapid pace of change, contributes to heightened levels of anxiety. As your organization grapples with these challenges, recognizing and addressing the specific stressors posed by the modern work environment is a key part of fostering a culture that prioritizes the wellbeing of your employees.
Elements of employee wellbeing
Employee wellbeing encompasses many aspects of an individual’s experience on and off the job. Fostering a healthy and supportive work environment requires understanding and addressing these elements.
1. Physical health
If employees aren’t physically healthy, the other drivers of employee wellbeing won’t matter much. Organizations can promote physical health by implementing wellness programs, covering the cost of gym memberships, and providing health education services. Ergonomic workspaces, access to healthy food options, and encouraging regular breaks also contribute to maintaining and improving employees’ physical wellbeing.
2. Mental health
Mental health is a core part of employee wellbeing. Employers should work to develop a positive and inclusive workplace culture that reduces stressors and promotes mental wellness. Providing access to mental health resources, counseling services, training employees on how to be mindful, and actively addressing the stigma around mental health issues are all great ways to boost mental wellness at your company.
3. Social connection and team-building
If you feel isolated and doubt that anyone at work truly has your back or understands the challenges you’re facing, chances are that your wellbeing isn’t very high. That’s why building strong interpersonal relationships in the workplace is such an important part of the employee wellness equation. Organizations should encourage teamwork, organize voluntary team-building activities, and create opportunities for social interaction to foster a sense of community and belonging.
4. Financial wellness
Similarly, chronic financial insecurity is almost certain to negatively impact an individual’s wellbeing. This is something companies can directly address by offering competitive compensation packages while helping employees get the most value out of what they earn by providing resources on budgeting and financial planning. Organizations can also combat long-term financial insecurity by investing in employees’ professional growth and development. Offering training programs, providing mentorship opportunities, and establishing clear career paths all provide a sense of purpose and reassurance that employees can better their situation through their efforts.
4 strategies for improved employee wellbeing
Start on the road to better employee wellbeing with these four strategies you can start implementing at your workplace today.
1. Focus on employee recognition
Acknowledging and appreciating employees for their contributions is a key part of any effort to improve employee wellbeing. It creates a positive and motivating work environment, reinforcing a sense of value and accomplishment among employees. To ensure that everyone in the organization is involved in showing appreciation, from leadership to on down, your organization should implement a formal employee recognition program. This involves educating your workforce — and especially leaders — on the impact employee recognition can have. It also requires adopting an employee recognition and rewards platform that lets workers easily show appreciation anytime, anywhere, rather than waiting for an opportunity to share their words of thanks that may never arrive.
To provide employees with something tangible in addition to social recognition, you should also power your organization’s program with a recognition solution that features a points-based rewards system. Team members receive points on a monthly basis that they can give to other employees. The recipients can then redeem them for rewards of their choice, preferably from a wide-ranging rewards marketplace built into the software. With genuine messages of appreciation coupled with meaningful gifts, your company’s recognition efforts can make a sizable impact on employee wellbeing.
2. Build a continuous employee feedback loop
Organizations that want to foster an environment that supports employee wellbeing over the long term must continuously collect and act upon employee feedback. Traditional annual surveys and performance reviews are not enough to keep track of employee sentiment in real time. Instead, your company needs to employ modern, confidential feedback tools like pulse surveys and always-on, AI-powered chatbots that make it easy for team members to provide frequent, honest input. Look for an employee engagement platform that includes these capabilities and has the analytic features needed to guide your people leaders from insight to action quickly — before employees start feeling like their input doesn’t matter.
3. Give employees plenty of PTO — and encourage them to use it
Every organization that cares about employee wellness should understand the importance of a healthy work-life balance. While companies can implement a range of initiatives to support this, from offering flexibility in when and where employees work to EXAMPLE, there are few strategies that have as much impact as giving team members ample paid time off (PTO). Providing a significant amount of PTO is a tangible way to demonstrate a commitment to the wellbeing of employees.
Organizations should actively encourage their workforce to utilize the PTO they’re given, emphasizing the significance of taking breaks to recharge and rejuvenate. Leadership can set the tone by openly embracing time off and communicating the importance of personal wellbeing. Companies can also implement initiatives like mandatory vacation days or “PTO challenges” to ensure that employees take the time they need. A well-rested and rejuvenated workforce is more productive when present and more likely to exhibit sustained employee engagement.
4. Develop a culture of belonging
There’s nothing quite like feeling that you truly belong at an organization. Generating this sense of employee belonging can pay major dividends for sustained wellness, if organizations are willing to pursue the initiatives related to inclusivity, diversity, and psychological safety it requires. This involves implementing diverse hiring practices, providing training on unconscious bias, and actively promoting a sense of community. Organizations should also establish employee resource groups, mentorship programs, and affinity networks to provide spaces for individuals to connect and find support. Finally, companies can support psychological safety by encouraging open communication, treating mistakes as learning opportunities, and welcoming rather than judging employees for expressing their honest opinions. Building a culture of belonging both boosts the wellbeing of your employees and helps harness the power of their diverse perspectives for increased innovation and productivity.
Boost employee wellbeing by enhancing the employee experience
Without addressing all these issues and more, it’s not easy to positively impact employee wellbeing. That’s why adopting a solution that comprehensively addresses the key aspects of the employee experience is so important. The Achievers Employee Experience Platform is dedicated to improving the experience and wellbeing of employees at your organization through a focus on recognition and employee feedback. It includes Achievers Recognize, a recognition solution that makes providing appreciation fun and engaging for the entire workforce and includes a rewards marketplace with options from over 2,500 brands. And with Achievers Listen, your employees can exercise their voice like never before using always-on, intelligent feedback channels backed by a suite of reporting and analytics features for your people leaders.
See why employees using the Achievers Employee Experience Platform are 3x more likely to provide recognition multiple times compared to competitors by booking a free demo today.