Employee well-being is moving to the top of the priority list for most recruiters and HR professionals these days. With a perfect storm of Brexit and Covid and many of us readdressing our work-life balance, employers are finding it hard to attract the right candidates and more importantly to keep them. So what do we mean by ‘employee well-being’ and what makes it vital to the health and success of your business?
Employee well-being speaks to the state of an employee’s mental and physical health resulting from their experiences in the workplace. These factors could include feeling too much pressure, feeling insecure, having financial concerns or experiencing burnout. In companies across the board, many employees admit to experiencing stress and burnout for reasons relating to poor management, high workload and limited professional development. Therefore it’s no surprise that employee are looking to their employers to cement the importance of team well being.
What to consider in when it comes to well-being?
When it comes to re-evaluating your strategy around employee well-being, there are certain areas to pay attention to. These include:
Financial and job security
Every employee deserves the right to feel secure both in their position and also in the earnings they take home each month. Employees can feel separate from the financial success of a company and taking into account the current economic flux, it’s not unusual to feel that a position itself is insecure.
Employees look for a company who supports and protects their own health so that they might deliver for the team. From health checks to well-being benefits, health insurance or support routes for mental health issues. The health of employees is crucial to a successful employer employee relationship.
Social well being
Many employees report that they feel disconnected from management, from other teams, from the overall company aims and achievements. They may feel that they have no voice whether individually or collectively and no relationship with or route to management.
Environmental well being
Workplaces should be comfortable and welcoming. Spaces should be ergonomically designed for the health and comfort of employees. Work load should be carefully managed at a reasonable level.
Work life balance
Increasingly, employee are seeking a more balanced work life split. The idea of flexible working and paid holidays matters and those who do not feel satisfied in this regard might be tempted to look elsewhere.
A job is not just about the job itself but the possibility to grow and to evolve as a professional. Many employees report feeling unsupported in this area, with little or no avenue for continued personal development, education or promotion.
How to prioritise and promote your employees well-being
Now that you’ve highlighted the key areas, turn your attention to developing a Well-Being Strategy. Only 40% of UK companies have a standalone employee well-being strategy but experts suggest that having a real plan around the well-being of your employees is just as important as investing in your product development. Employee well-being is key to the long term success and effectiveness of any organisation.
Very little problem solving does not start with communication. Effective and proactive communication is absolutely central to the pursuance of employee well-being. From the initial job posting to your interview process, to staff training and continued staff engagement, how you communicate is central. Be clear, be open, be honest, and be consistent. Make sure your employees know they can talk to you and you’ll listen. When you have information for them, be clear in how you deliver it.
Take and learn from feedback
When you hear feedback from your team, don’t just nod and set it to one side. Action it. Wherever possible, take feedback and learn from it. Set in place edits to your Well-Being Strategy, make changes to your employee management plan, be creative with way you manage. Whatever it takes to onboard feedback and move forward as a team.
It’s important to feel seen, inside and outside of work. Make sure that you give your employees recognition for their work, for their contributions. Whether that comes in the form of a company reward system, or a verbal acknowledgement, their efforts should not go unnoticed or should not be co-opted as company successes. Great businesses are built by teams, not by one person.
Model Work Life Balance
It’s one thing to option a more flexible way for your employees to work, but it often happens that management set the tone for an office so if you’re working late or over the weekend, your team may feel they need to too. Lead from the top. Model taking breaks, switching off, working hard and focused when you do but taking time away from work. Only by setting the tone will your flexible polices really have effect.
Encourage personal development
Professional life should be about growth and it’s key that you lift up your team through their own personal development. Perhaps you encourage CPD as a company wide policy, or maybe you sit down with each employee to really understand what their growth goals are and how you might be able to help with those? Whatever works for your business, include personal development as a cornerstone of your employee well-being strategy.
The focus on employee well-being is only going to increase with predicted pressures on cost of living, salary squeezes and the challenges facing companies to recruit. Taking small steps to understand what you can do for your team and formalising a strategy you can work towards will undoubtedly be time spent laying a foundation to benefit the company going forward.
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