In recent years, employee wellbeing has emerged as a critical player in driving organisational success. More and more organisations are heavily investing into wellness programs that improve the mental and physical health of their employees.
This article is a comprehensive guide delving into the realms of employee wellbeing and exploring its significance for an organisation. It also sheds light on the pillars on which it stands and the obstacles that might come up in the process.
What is employee wellbeing?
Employee wellbeing refers to the overall employee's physical, mental, emotional, economic health and satisfaction within the workplace. It encompasses creating a supportive work environment that promotes work-life balance, provides opportunities for personal and professional growth, cultivates positive relationships, addresses mental health concerns, encourages physical wellness, and values employee engagement and fulfilment.
When an employee feels valued, supported and their wellbeing is at an optimal level, a virtuous cycle is created where satisfied and healthy employees contribute to organisational success through their increased productivity and commitment.
How is wellbeing different from engagement?
Employee wellbeing and engagement are related but distinct concepts. Employee wellbeing focuses on the overall state of an employee's health, happiness, and satisfaction, encompassing physical, mental, and emotional aspects. It reflects how employees feel and thrive in their work environment. On the other hand, employee engagement refers to the level of commitment, dedication, and involvement an employee has toward their work and the organisation.
While wellbeing is about the employee's holistic experience, engagement is specifically focused on their level of involvement and dedication to their work. Both are important for organisational success, as high levels of wellbeing contribute to higher engagement, and engaged employees are more likely to have better wellbeing.
The different pillars of employee wellbeing
Employee wellbeing can be categorised into several pillars or dimensions that collectively contribute to an individual's holistic fulfillment and development.
This pillar focuses on physical health and includes factors such as regular exercise, healthy nutrition, adequate rest and sleep, managing physical health conditions, ergonomic workspaces, and promoting overall physical wellness.
2. Mental and emotional
This pillar encompasses mental and emotional health. It includes managing stress, promoting work-life balance, providing resources for mental health support, encouraging self-care practices, and promoting emotional resilience and coping strategies.
Social wellbeing emphasises the quality of relationships and connections in the workplace. It involves fostering positive work relationships, encouraging teamwork and collaboration, promoting inclusion and diversity, and providing opportunities for social interaction and support.
This pillar focuses on the professional growth and development of employees. It involves offering opportunities for advancement, skill-building, and continuous learning, providing clear career paths, offering meaningful work assignments, recognising achievements, and promoting work that aligns with employees' skills and interests.
Financial wellbeing relates to employees' financial security and stability. It includes fair and competitive compensation, benefits packages, financial education and resources, retirement planning support, and assistance programs for financial challenges.
Environmental wellbeing centres around the physical work environment and sustainability practices. It includes factors such as a safe and clean workplace, access to natural light, proper ventilation, incorporating sustainable practices, promoting environmental awareness, and supporting eco-friendly initiatives.
What is the importance of employee wellbeing?
By prioritising employee wellbeing, organisations create a positive work environment that promotes employee happiness, health, and satisfaction. Highlighted below are a few of the reasons why wellbeing should be a core agenda for the HR department and the entire organisation in general –
Enhanced employee engagement and productivity:
Numerous studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between employee wellbeing, engagement, and productivity. Engaged employees who experience high levels of wellbeing are more committed, motivated, and willing to go the extra mile. A study by Gallup found that highly engaged teams exhibit 21% higher productivity compared to disengaged teams.
Improved talent attraction and retention:
In today's competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for organisational success, employees across the board choose organisations that prioritise their success and prosperity. A survey by Deloitte revealed that 80% of employees consider wellbeing programs and initiatives when choosing an employer.
Enhanced mental health and stability:
Investing in employee wellbeing positively impacts mental health, reducing stress and promoting the holistic development of an employee. A study by the World Health Organisation found that for every $1 invested in mental health treatment, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity.
Improved organisational reputation and brand image:
Organisations that prioritise employee wellbeing help build a positive reputation and brand image for themselves. This can attract customers, investors, and partners who value socially responsible and caring organisations.
Enhanced innovation and creativity:
A work environment that promotes employee wellbeing encourages creativity and innovation. Research by the University of Warwick found that happy employees are 12% more productive. When employees feel content, supported, valued, and motivated, they are more likely to bring forth new ideas and solutions through their innovation and creativity.
What are the risks of neglecting employee wellbeing?
Neglecting employee wellbeing can have detrimental effects on both individuals and organisations. This section highlights the risks and negative outcomes associated with this negligence.
Decreased employee engagement and productivity:
Neglecting employee wellbeing can lead to decreased levels of employee engagement and productivity. When employees feel unsupported, overwhelmed, or dissatisfied, their motivation and commitment to their work diminish.
Increased absenteeism and presenteeism:
It often leads to increased absenteeism and presenteeism. Employees facing physical or mental health challenges may take more sick days or come to work while unwell, resulting in decreased productivity and quality of work.
Higher employee turnover and recruitment costs:
A lack of focus and initiatives around employee welfare can contribute to higher employee turnover rates. Unhappy or stressed employees are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere, leading to increased recruitment and training costs for organisations.
Legal and compliance issues:
Neglecting employee wellbeing can result in legal and compliance issues. Failure to adhere to health and safety regulations, non-compliance with employment laws related to employees, or discrimination claims due to inadequate support for employees' physical or mental health can lead to legal consequences and financial liabilities for the organisation.
Increased workplace accidents and injuries:
Not having a set employee wellbeing program, particularly in industries with higher physical risks such as manufacturing or healthcare, can increase the likelihood of workplace accidents and injuries. Insufficient safety measures, lack of proper training, and disregard for ergonomics can lead to harmful incidents, potentially causing harm to employees and legal liabilities for the organisation.
What are the most common obstacles to employee wellbeing?
Ensuring good employee wellbeing requires overcoming various hurdles that can hinder organisations' efforts.
1. Workload and stress management:
Description: Heavy workloads, tight deadlines, and high levels of job demands can contribute to excessive stress and overwhelm an employee.
Rectification: Organisations can implement strategies such as workload balancing, setting realistic expectations, providing clear communication channels, encouraging time management techniques, and promoting work-life balance. Additionally, inculcating a supportive culture that encourages open communication and offers stress management resources and support can help employees effectively manage their workload and reduce stress levels.
2. Lack of work-life balance:
Description: The blurring of boundaries between work and personal life, long working hours, and a culture that values constant availability can impede work-life balance.
Rectification: Employers can promote work-life balance by establishing flexible work arrangements, encouraging employees to take breaks and vacations, setting clear expectations around after-hours communication, and supporting a culture that respects personal time. Providing tools and resources to enhance time management and prioritisation skills can also help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance.
3. Insufficient managerial support:
Description: Lack of supportive leadership and inadequate manager-employee relationships contribute to low morale and engagement.
Rectification: Encouraging regular check-ins, feedback sessions, and open communication channels between managers and employees can help address concerns and provide the necessary support for employees.
4. Limited resources and support:
Description: Inadequate resources and support for employee-centric initiatives, such as mental health programs, wellness activities, and training.
Rectification: Employers should allocate sufficient resources and budget involving partnering with external wellness providers, offering employee assistance programs (EAPs), providing access to mental health resources, organising wellness workshops or activities.
5. Organisational culture and values:
Description: A culture that does not prioritise employee wellbeing or align with its values can impede efforts to build and sustain a healthy work environment.
Rectification: Organisations should actively improve their culture and involve setting clear expectations, aligning policies and practices with wellbeing goals, and promoting values that support work-life balance, mental health, and overall employee happiness.
Initiatives for improving employee wellbeing
These initiatives encompass a range of actions aimed at enhancing the physical, mental, and emotional health of employees.
- implementing wellness programs,
- promoting work-life balance through flexible work arrangements,
- providing access to mental health resources and support,
- nurturing a positive and inclusive work culture,
- offering opportunities for professional development and growth,
- promoting regular communication and feedback,
- and ensuring fair compensation and benefits.
Protecting the wellbeing of remote employees
Protecting the wellbeing of remote employees is of paramount importance in the modern workplace. As the prevalence of remote work continues to grow, employers must recognise that the physical, mental, and emotional health of their remote workforce directly impacts productivity, job satisfaction, and overall organisational success.
By prioritising the wellbeing of remote employees, organisations can foster a positive work culture that promotes engagement, motivation, and loyalty. This includes providing necessary resources, such as ergonomic equipment and technical support, implementing flexible work schedules, encouraging regular breaks, and promoting work-life balance.
Additionally, offering opportunities for virtual social connection, promoting mental health awareness, and providing access to wellness programs can help remote employees thrive in their work environments. Ultimately, safeguarding the wellbeing of remote employees is not only ethically essential, but it also cultivates a resilient and thriving workforce that contributes to the long-term success of the organisation.
Tools you can use to improve wellbeing
There are several digital tools available that can help improve employee wellbeing. Here are some examples:
1. Wellness apps:
Mobile applications focused on mental and physical development can provide employees with resources and tools for physical fitness, mindfulness, meditation, stress management, nutrition tracking, and sleep tracking.
2. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs):
EAPs often have digital platforms that provide confidential counseling, resources, and support for employees dealing with personal or work-related challenges. These platforms offer access to professional counselors, self-help resources, and articles on various topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
3. Human Resources Information System(HRIS):
Solutions such as Advanced HR software supports organisations to implement employee wellbeing initiatives by providing self-service portals that empower employees to manage their own wellness. Through these portals, employees can access and update their personal information, enroll in health and wellness programs, request time off for self-care, access resources for mental health support, and engage in communication channels for feedback and assistance. HRIS streamlines these processes, promoting employee autonomy and enhancing wellbeing by enabling easy access to relevant resources and personalised support.
4. Productivity and time management tools:
Tools that help employees manage their time, prioritise tasks, and maintain focus can contribute to improved wellbeing.
5. Communication and collaboration tools:
Effective communication and collaboration are crucial for remote employees, facilitating real-time communication, virtual meetings, and seamless collaboration, promoting a sense of connection and reducing feelings of isolation.
6. Wellbeing platforms:
Some comprehensive wellbeing platforms offer a wide range of features, including health assessments, personalised wellbeing plans, educational resources, goal tracking, and challenges. These platforms aim to provide holistic support for employees' physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Implementing digital tools can be quite tricky, organisations need to be cautious while deploying any solutions. Various factors such as privacy, accessibility, and ease-of-use must be considered while choosing digital tools. Organisations need to conduct thorough requirement analysis and choose the most suitable solution to aid their wellness programs.
How Advanced HR can improve your organisation’s wellbeing
Our cloud-based HR management software, Advanced HR, can support HR teams in developing and implementing meaningful wellbeing initiatives in many ways. For instance, Advanced HR allows HR teams to create pulse surveys to measure their workforce’s wellness. Results of such surveys can be used to identify trends and root causes behind absenteeism and to help forge an improvement plan.
Advanced HR is the perfect technology to help HR departments implement and manage different wellbeing initiatives such as flexible working hours, internal support networks, reward schemes, access to EAPs, personal and professional learning programs, access to mindfulness perks and apps.
Take your wellness programs to the next level with our people management solutions.