better employee wellbeing

Smiles. Laughs. And that joyful buzz around the office. That's what we all want at our workplaces right?

Even so, sometimes this scenario seems like a distant dream. Especially, in times where uncertainty like COVID-19 is a lurking monster breathing down your and the employees' necks. 

In this article, we will look into employee wellbeing, what is it, and how to create a wellbeing strategy, with a few tips. Or maybe the employee wellbeing tips can improve the strategy you've already got to put those smiles back on your employees' faces. 

What Is Employee Wellbeing?

Employee wellbeing is the 'work health' of your employees. It is the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. Furthermore, it can vary a lot from employee to employee what defines being happy or healthy, which makes employee wellbeing a complex size to deal with.

The wellbeing of an employee is multidimensional and can change a lot over a course of time. This can be due to a lot of different factors, for example, the relationship to co-workers and managers, how employees feel about psychological safety, their influence on their job, being able to express their personality, the resources they have access to, and the skills they have available to make decisions and handle their daily tasks.   

Some also talk about the 6 pillars of employee wellbeing, which are: having the right work/life balance, being healthy, feeling secure in their job, being financially safe, getting support, and receiving protection.   

Why Is Employee Wellbeing Important? 

Burnouts, high stress levels, and individuals with zero motivation to do the job. What more is there really to say?

Employees are more unhappy than ever before. This is the result of a recent Linkedin report about employee wellbeing. In the report, you can see a 3.5 % drop in employee wellbeing from October 2020 to October 2021. The reasons are, for example, that people re-evaluated the expectations of their jobs and where they want to be. 

That's why improving wellbeing is key, because when employees are not thriving and doing their best, it affects the work environment and it can be seen on the company's bottom line.

In the end, the employees will leave if their wellbeing is too poor. And it has damaging consequences for both the individual employee, their department, and the company as well. And that is why great employee wellbeing is important. 

This is old news to a lot of workplaces worldwide, who have started to hire more people dedicated exclusively to health and wellbeing and company culture. According to the Global Talents Trend report from Linkedin, they found that since 2019 there has been a 13 % growth in titles related to well-being and company culture.  

This also makes sense, when 42 % of global employees have experienced a decline in their mental health since the pandemic started. Furthermore, WHO estimates that mental well-being indicators such as depression, anxiety, and other conditions cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. So, this is definitely an area that needs a lot of attention in the workplace. 

Watch the video below and see more about how stress affects your brain and can end up in depression and Alzheimer's disease. 

 

Furthermore, we recently have experienced a global movement: The Great Resignation. This movement started out in the US, and in the beginning, it was about people resigning because of poor wages. But now, it is much more than that. Now, people are leaving their jobs because they are sick and tired of toxic work cultures, which is, in fact, 10 times higher a predictor of attrition than poor wages. 

What Is the Difference Between Employee Engagement and Employee Wellbeing?

In a nutshell: Wellbeing relates to the entire human and the wellbeing of that individual; both mentally and physically. This is where work and spare time merge together and either complement or battle each other. On the other hand, engagement is connected to how we feel about the work itself, the tasks that we do, but also how we are rewarded and acknowledged for the work we do, which create engagement, motivation, and loyalty. 

And if you also are confused about 'employee experience' and the difference to engagement and wellbeing, then employee experience is about what an employee sees and yes, experience, throughout their employment. 

Tips to Improve your Employee Wellbeing Strategy

There are plenty of tips and wellbeing initiatives out there to boost employee wellbeing and the employees' mental health in organizations. We have gathered some of the best and merged it with our own knowledge of what works if you want to elevate your employee wellbeing strategy. 

1. Create a Better Work Culture

Get rid of that toxic work culture. That is if you want to avoid attrition or burnouts. Toxic work culture is where diversity is not appreciated and where employees are not respected. Therefore, you need to think about your current state of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in your organization before taking new strategic action steps. 

Furthermore, you might think about whether some or a lot of employees work too long working hours. That is not healthy in the long run, whether the employees say they love their tasks 'and enjoy doing it all the time' or not. You need to find the right balance.  

Another point about work culture is the physical work environment. Encourage people to take healthy breaks, where they do stretches, take a walk, or maybe start an internal yoga hour or a running club. Physical activities are good for wellbeing too. 

2. Improve your Communication across the Organization 

Don't you just hate it, when everyone around you knows what each other talks about, but you feel left out? That's just the thing with communication. You need to make sure, that when you have new strategies or other important messages for the organization, you keep everyone in the loop. And maybe on different communication platforms to get everyone on board.

A good idea is also to involve the rest of the organization in decision processes by creating brainstorm sessions, where employees from different departments together can share their thoughts on how to improve your products, services, or maybe how to attract the right employees. This will give a boost to morale, when people feel the involvement and that they can have a meaningful impact on the organization. Furthermore, this will also make them aware of the next action points for the company, which is good communication in itself. 

Watch the video below to get even more tips to improve communication at work.   

3. Give Better Feedback and Recognition 

People need to get praise and know that they are doing a good job. Some simple steps to give better feedback and recognition is, first of all, to listen more to the employees, tell them what you appreciate about them, and be sure to check in with them often. This is a sure way of getting employees happy.

And this is not only a fluffy statement. In Glassdoor's Employee Appreciation Survey 53 % of respondents said that if they received more appreciation from their manager they would stay longer at the company. 

4. Give Opportunities for Flexible Work 

In these times, it might not come as a shock to you, that flexible work forms such as hybrid work are becoming more popular. Hybrid work is a work form, where you both work at the work office space some days a week and at your own home office (or maybe a sunny palm island) for the rest of the workweek. Here, it is important to have open calendars, for example, so people can see when and where the team members are available.

Furthermore, it is important to give the right resources and equipment, so people can work from home in the very best way, without getting, for example, back pain due to a poor kitchen chair, instead of an ergonomically fit office chair.

Flexible work is not, however, only about hybrid work. It is also about schedules. Maybe you have a young child that needs to be picked up at the nursery or kindergarten a bit earlier, and then you can work an extra hour during the evening instead.

Another example could be, that you work more efficiently in the late evening times, and then need to come in later during the workday. Be open to flexible scheduling to elevate employee wellbeing. 

5. More Team-building & Social Time

Even though you might love your job, it is also nice to have a great relationship with your co-workers. When the company also schedules team-building activities and social time for both individual teams and the entire organization, this is a true wellbeing booster. 

Examples of both regular and virtual team-building activities and social time: 

  • (Virtual) Quizzes and Kahoots w. prices 
  • (Virtual) A cocktail course where people sitting remote get sent a cocktail kit beforehand 
  • Escape Room (Can be virtual too)
  • Yoga class 
  • Running Club 
  • Do a healthy break together with Pleaz (Can be virtual too)
  • Boardgame Day 
  • Silent Disco  

6. Empower Learning New Skills and Personal Development  

Lastly, we all love to gain new learnings and get better at what we do. It gives a little boost to the work experience when you can improve on doing a specific work task or gain the skills to do a new one. 

Learning in the flow of work is important to notice because almost all employees today have busy work schedules. You need to create space to learn, and maybe, instead of only putting employees on expensive week-courses, digital learning such as microlearning and stretched learning are effective tools to give employees the new skills they need. 

Furthermore, upskilling and reskilling are not just essential to the employees to elevate their wellbeing, but also for the company or organization, because the development of the global markets moves faster than ever before. To stay on top and earn greater market shares, you also need the right skilled and innovative employees to do the job. 

Sum-up

To sum-up: The best inspiration to improve your employee wellbeing strategy and gain new mental and physical health benefits is definitely to implement these bullets and translate them to your workplace. However, it is important that all employees are different and some of these bullets might be higher prioritized by some than others. Equip managers with the right skillsets to have these conversations where these topics are markers to map-out what's important for the individual employee's wellbeing.  

  • A Better Work Culture 
  • Communication
  • Feedback & Recognition
  • Flexible work / Hybrid workplace
  • Team building & social activities
  • New learnings, skills, and personal development

Check out our webinar about how you can take your employee wellbeing to the next level. 

And if you are even more curious about employee wellbeing, you can also get your very own learning path about employee mental wellbeing