Not long ago, employee wellbeing was just another corporate buzzword. Today it is considered a key priority for many businesses. With employee retention numbers higher when delegates feel looked after and listened to, investing in employee wellbeing should be a no-brainer.
Not just a free gym membership
Contrary to belief, employee wellbeing doesn’t just relate to physical health. Whilst the origins of ‘employee wellbeing’ consisted of complimentary gym memberships and free fruit, we’ve come a long way from this standard.
Wellness in the present refers to keeping your body and mind in good condition and considering the physical, social, mental, and emotional side of your employees.
Many companies and organisations have been incorporating mental wellness into their company culture and are doing more to provide support for their staff. The most successful wellbeing programmes are designed to enhance overall employee quality of life, with emotional, mental, social, and environmental factors addressed.
The effect of the pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic raised concerns about safety and wellbeing to the top of the business agenda. Employers played a key role in protecting employees from infection by implementing work-from-home policies where possible.
Whilst these measures were effective in controlling the spread of the virus, many faced various struggles, with one in five adults suffering from moderate to severe depression in England. It is well recognised that in many cases, the risks to people’s health at work are psychological. This has led to a growing recognition of the need for employer wellbeing practices to address the psychosocial aspects of wellbeing.
Building trust in the workplace
Wellbeing programmes are fundamental in building workplace trust. A 2015 survey reported that 38% of some 2000 participating employees admitted they were more engaged, and 18% are willing to go the extra mile, when they felt their employer cared about their wellbeing.
Employers are showing an increasing willingness to invest in employee wellbeing, because of the advantages that come with it. Investing in employee wellbeing practices lead to increased resilience, better engagement reduced absences, and higher performance and productivity. There is a growing expectation for companies to take responsibility for supporting employees’ emotional stability. When recruiting new talent, applicants are more likely to apply for jobs that offer wellbeing as well as other benefits such as flexible and remote working.
Combining team building and wellness
Strengthening teamwork and wellbeing are two goals that go hand in hand. A team of colleagues who work well together is vital to any company. The best team building activities offer solutions that cover all aspects of wellbeing.
Progressive companies are turning to team building activities to cultivate more positive outlooks, nurture self-confidence and help motivate colleagues to collaborate One of the primary purposes of team building is to foster deeper personal relationships between delegates. Team building exercises are designed to help individuals bond and form relationships that are long standing and sustained.
Meanwhile, The Carrot Principle (Elton, 2007) presents the findings of a 10-year motivation study, in which more than 200,000 employees and managers were interviewed. In their analysis of the results, authors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton report that when managers are considered to be effective at ‘recognising’ their employees, they have lower turnover rates than other managers, achieve better organisational results and are seen to be much stronger in goal setting, communication, trust, and accountability. Employees who receive regular praise are more productive, engaged and more likely to stay with their organisation, than those who do not.
Team building activities are not the only way to boost employee morale and show appreciation. Events such as awards dinners, summer parties and Christmas get-togethers are just as important for celebrating delegates achievements. Rewarding employees can come in a variety of formats. From corporate festivals to evening awards dinners, there are lots of solutions for saying thank you to your staff.
Overall, employee wellbeing might seem frivolous, but we know that it is the core of any business.
So why bother?
Supporting workplace health initiatives can reduce absenteeism as well as reducing employee turnover. According to experts, it can cost twice an employee’s salary to recruit, hire, and train a replacement. Having a high turnover can also damage morale among your remaining employees, decrease productivity and make it harder to acquire new talent.
The CIPD identified 7 key areas of employee wellbeing:
An employee should feel in good physical and mental health in order to carry out their workload. Consider how as an employer you can help employees be healthy. Initiatives such as health insurance, providing proper accommodation for people with disabilities, offering occupational health support, as well as mental health days and time off where necessary. Offering initiatives such as stress management and mental health awareness decrease the likelihood for burnout and turnover.
It is an employer’s job to ensure that all employees are engaged and enjoying their work. Ergonomically designed working spaces, and an open company culture contribute to the feeling of being safe and heard at work.
Ensuring that job demands are reasonable and not beyond scope of work, as well as being engaging for the delegate will ensure that your employees are switched on at work. Pay and reward are also big factors for employees when considering their time at work. They should feel fairly compensated for the time given to the business, and in turn will be more satisfied overall with their jobs.
Values and Principles
As part of the recruitment process, applicants will research your companies values and principles to ensure that these align with their own. If an employee ultimately feels that they do not work for a ‘good’ company, this may affect how they view themselves and the work that they do. In turn, job satisfaction (as well as engagement at work) can be affected by company principles and values.
Collective and Social
Employees need to be satisfied that their voice is heard at work. Communication and involvement are extremely important in feeling satisfied that you are respected and heard in the workplace.
Opening dialogue and inviting employees into a decision-making process will offer new opinions as well as encouraging confidence and leadership values. Creating a space that encourages positive relationships with peers and managers is extremely important. In fact, a Gallup study reported that women who strongly agree that they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%). Healthy relationships between employees are important for growth, satisfaction, and managing turnover.
Career development includes mentoring, coaching, performance management, and planning. Employees that feel there is no progression or learning opportunity within the company are less likely to stay on long term and may be actively pursuing other opportunities. This not only impacts the employee, but also the employer as high turnover drives up business costs.
Mental and physical wellbeing go hand in hand. Physical activity such as yoga clubs and lunchtime walks can help to break up the day and leave employees feeling refreshed and ready for the afternoon. Not only will this benefit their mental and physical health but will also ensure that they stay motivated and engaged.
Financial stress has a great bearing on employee’s mental health and wellbeing. Paying your employees a good wage will make employees feel valued and appreciated, as well as encouraging loyalty. This may seem like a high price to pay but in turn will lower recruitment and training costs. Other financial motivators could include commission, bonuses or raises based on hard work.
Embedding wellbeing values into your company
The protection of employee wellbeing should be embedded into company values as well as in management methods and systems. Ensuring that your employees are happy, healthy, and fulfilled in every aspect of their jobs will increase motivation and productivity as well as reducing company costs.
In considering how your company can embed wellbeing practices into your business, consider what would really make an impact. What would your employees really appreciate? How can you ensure that your employees do not burn out, and want to come to work?
Team Building Events
Connect your employees through shared experiences such as team building will not only strengthen team bonds but offer employees recognition for hard work whilst allowing them to let off steam on the company’s dime. Team building activities have myriad benefits, from boosting morale to engaging your employees. Find out more about the benefits of teambuilding here.
Health-conscious benefits include private healthcare, flexible time off to attend appointments without worrying about making up hours, as well as flexibility when taking care of dependents such as relatives or children. Companies should ensure that employees take their vacation days as well as offer flexible PTO or good holiday packages. 60% of employees say they’d feel more motivated if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing. Flexible working hours offer more active personal lives as well as ensure that employees are fulfilled at work. work from anywhere, at any time, as long as you get the job done. This offers trust and responsibility to employees and offers them more freedom in how they work.