As an employer, how your employees are feeling is vitally important to their productivity and overall happiness. You should never ignore the importance of your staff feeling happy and healthy.
So understanding employee wellbeing is crucial to the ongoing success of your company. You should do everything you can to help the health and wellbeing of your employees. Failure to do so can lead to you losing your best staff and create a toxic workplace culture.
In this guide we'll discuss what employee wellbeing is, different aspects that make it up, and ways to improve it in your business.
What is Employee Wellbeing?
Wellbeing is how someone is feeling about a variety of life issues. For example their home life, health, and relationships, as well as their job. In simple terms, it's if someone feels well and happy.
In terms of employee wellbeing, you should think of it as how your employees feel about their duties, expectations, working environments and levels of stress. They can all have effects on their overall health, happiness and wellbeing.
What is Employee Wellbeing in the Workplace?
Employee wellbeing in the workplace is the overall employee experience and how people feel about their working life. This includes the workplace culture, and how your employees feel about their daily tasks.
You should never assume your employees are always happy in their roles. Doing so could lead to you sleepwalking into issues with their wellbeing in the future.
Why is Employee Wellbeing Important?
Employee health and wellbeing is a vitally important aspect of running a successful business. And focusing on these issues can lead to a range of benefits, not just for your employees but for the company as a whole.
Some examples are:
- Increased job satisfaction.
- Improvement in focus.
- Higher performance levels.
- A positive workplace culture.
- Reduced sickness and absence.
- Lower employee turnover.
- A reduction in workplace stress.
- An improvement in the work-life balance of your employees.
So, you should never underestimate the importance of having a healthy workplace.
What is the Difference Between Employee Wellbeing and Employee Engagement?
Employers often assume that employee wellbeing and employee engagement are the same things, however this isn't the case. Assuming this is often why employee wellbeing decreases within a company.
Employee wellbeing is focused on the actual happiness of your employees and the effect this can have on their output. For example if an employee is suffering from financial stress, they may lack the required focus for their role.
Whereas employee engagement is focused on the emotional commitment they have towards their work and the company’s goals.
What are the Causes of Poor Employee Wellbeing?
As an employer you need to be aware of what can cause a dip in the wellbeing of your employees, both physically and mentally. Understanding these can help you go a long way in improving the situation at your company, for example:
- Poor management style.
- A demanding workload.
- Misalignment of workplace values.
- A poor workplace culture.
- Unhappy and tense working environments caused by unmanageable targets.
Who is Responsible for Supporting Employee Wellbeing?
It's important you know who is responsible for the workplace health and wellbeing of your employees. And the answer is everyone has a responsibility for workplace wellbeing.
You may be wondering how this breaks down between your senior managers, line managers and employees. So, let's discuss this in more detail:
Senior leaders have a responsibility in supporting and promoting employee wellbeing in your company. Having a lack of commitment from within your senior management towards wellbeing can hinder progress.
Your senior staff are crucial role models to your employees. So if they're seen to be focusing on wellbeing, your employees are more likely to do the same.
It can be argued that daily responsibility of employees' wellbeing lies with their line managers. This is because they're most likely to work and see the employees they manage each day.
Your line managers can spot signs that an employee is struggling with their wellbeing, for example the early warning signs of stress. If this is the case, adjustments can be made to their job quality, for example lowering their workload.
It's important you make it clear to your senior team that their management style can affect people's wellbeing.
Employees themselves have a responsibility for their own health and career wellbeing. It's important they get involved with any wellbeing initiatives you may provide. As well as communicating if they feel their stress levels are rising.
However, you should make it clear how your employees can access any support that can aid their wellbeing. It's important you hold regular catch-ups with your employees to gauge how they're feeling and if there are any areas in which you can improve.
What's an Employee Wellbeing Strategy?
You should consider creating an employee wellbeing strategy for your company. They are a plan that will help to improve the wellbeing of your employees, creating a better workplace culture and an increase in morale.
However to do this successfully, you need to understand the seven aspects that make up employee wellbeing. Once you do this, you can create the perfect plan.
The Seven Aspects of Employee Wellbeing
There are seven different areas that make up the wellbeing of your employees. Understanding them will help you create a strategy to make them feel valued by both you and their managers.
Let's discuss each of them, along with ways to improve each area for you to consider when making your strategy.
1 - Employee Health & Physical Wellbeing
Employee health can be broken down into three parts: physical health, physical safety and mental health.
You can improve the physical health of your employees by encouraging health checks, health insurance protection, occupational health support, wellbeing benefits, and health promotion.
The physical safety of your staff can easily be improved. As long as you provide safe working spaces, practices and personal safety training then you're doing all you can to keep them from harm.
The mental health of your employees is crucial. Poor mental health can lead to a range of negatives, such as work-related stress. You should encourage conversations and undertake risk assessments where possible.
2 - Good Work
The good work element of employee wellbeing is broken down into six areas that are all vitally important.
- Working environment: The culture you foster, as well as providing ergonomically designed working spaces.
- Good line management: Correct sickness absences management, training for all line managers, along with effective people management policies.
- Work demands: This covers all areas of employees' work. Including job design, job roles, workload, working hours, and overall job satisfaction.
- Autonomy: Innovation, whistleblowing and control.
- Change management: Involvement, communication with employees and leadership.
- Pay and reward: Ensuring you pay your employees correctly, whilst also providing non-financial recognition.
3 - Values
Values and principles are arguably the most important element that make up employee wellbeing. It's broken down into three areas, leadership, ethical standards, and inclusion.
It's important you have strong values and principles within your company. This should involve any corporate social responsibility, creating an inclusive and equal workplace for all, and having a clear business mission.
Failure to have strong values can lead to both you and your employees working out of alignment, which could have a major effect on your company's output.
4 - Social
The social aspect of your company is vitally important to employee wellbeing. We don't just mean going for after-work drinks, it goes further than that.
You should encourage the voice of your employees as well as building positive relationships.
Involve your employees in decision making, and hold genuine dialogue and communication with them. This'll help to build strong relationships between employer and employee.
5 - Personal Growth & Career Development
The fifth element of employee wellbeing is personal and career development. You shouldn't underestimate the importance of this element. Many employees choose to move on from employment because they feel their development isn't prioritised.
It's broken down into four important parts, such as:
- Career development: Mentoring and coaching employees, introducing performance development plans and succession planning.
- Emotional: Creating positive relationships, personal resilience training and financial wellbeing.
- Learning: Access to training, ongoing performance reviews, and giving your employees challenging tasks.
You should work with your employees and come up with plans that are tailored to their individual needs and goals.
6 - Lifestyle Choices
Lifestyle choices are an important element of employee wellbeing. You should try and encourage both physical activity and healthy eating for your employees.
A way to do this is to create a walking club, provide healthy meals in the canteen or host lunchtime yoga.
7 - Financial Wellbeing & Fair Pay
The final element is the financial wellbeing of your employees. This is broken down into three separate parts:
- Fair pay and benefits policies: Pay rates being above the National Minimum/Living Wage, providing a flexible benefits scheme. As well as other benefits, such as profit share bonus.
- Retirement planning: Phased employee retirement and assistance for people looking to retire.
- Financial support for employees: Debt counselling if needed, providing free advice.
How to Create a Successful Employee Wellbeing Strategy
As an employer, you should promote wellbeing within your company.. So to do so, you should create a wellbeing strategy.
There are many employee wellbeing initiatives that you should include in your plan. Creating a health and wellbeing strategy for your employees can lead to a range of fantastic benefits.
So, let's discuss what makes a successful plan:
Communication is a key part of your employee wellbeing strategy. Having poor communication in your business can lead to your employees being unmotivated.
A good way to improve this is to create digital surveys for all your staff. These surveys help you to get an idea of how your employees are really feeling, You should include the following questions in yours:
- Are you comfortable in their working environment?
- Is your workload manageable?
- Are you happy with where they are in their career?
- How is your work-life balance?
- What can the company do to help you improve your situation?
Ensure you use the results wisely and aim to work on any areas that need improvement. Otherwise there's no point providing the survey in the first place.
Provide an Employee Assistance Programme
Introducing a successful employee wellbeing program comes with a range of benefits, such as:
- Focuses on employee mental health and their physical health.
- Helps your employees find the correct support for any issues they have.
- Increases their confidence in you.
You should never underestimate the importance of employee assistance programmes. They're a fantastic benefit that can help you keep your best staff, as well as attracting quality talent to your company.
Give Employee Recognition
A good way to improve the wellbeing of your employees is to provide employee feedback. Giving regular feedback to your employees on their progress will improve the working relationship between both parties. Whilst also avoiding workplace stress.
When employees feel appreciated, the higher the chance they'll work hard to find results.
If there are areas that need improvement, then you should give them constructive feedback. Alongside ideas on how to improve their work. Listen to any feedback they may have about workload, as this will help to avoid employee burnout.
Introduce a Flexible Working Scheme
If you have employees who are struggling to deal with childcare or family issues, offering flexible working is a good way to fit around their circumstances.
This can include early start and finish times, or adding more regular breaks.
However, if you're introducing remote working opportunities ensure you keep in regular contact with your employees. A lack of communication from management whilst working remotely can lead to loneliness or stress.
Help Encourage Personal Development
You must do everything you can to help increase and develop your employees' skills. Focusing on employee development will help to increase their confidence in you and improve their output.
Work with your employees to create unique and tailored plans that fit alongside their goals.
Training line managers on how to develop employees is something you should consider. There's no point trying to focus on growing your employees if their managers don't have the skill set to do so.
Focus on Team Relationships
You should try and focus on creating supportive relationships between your employees. To do this, you should consider team-building activities, informal meetings or work lunches.
However, workplace conflict may arise in your company. So you need to create relationships strong enough to see past conflict and any difference in ideas they may have.
Providing conflict resolution training to your management team is a great way of ensuring it's resolved quickly without the relationships being harmed.
Encourage Social Interaction Between Employees
One of the biggest factors behind a decrease in employee wellbeing is social isolation. So encouraging and arranging social events for your staff can help anyone who may be struggling with this issue.
Support a Better Work-Life Balance
You should do whatever you can to help your employees' work-life balance. Have regular one-to-one meetings with them to find out how each person is managing their workload.
As an employer, the last thing you want is for your employees to struggle to manage their workloads alongside other parts of their lives. And if they are, then suggest ways to help. This can be lowering their workload, extending a deadline or providing extra breaks during the day.
Introduce Work Perks
Another way to help improve the wellbeing of your employees is to provide work perks. There are many you can offer, such as:
- Health insurance plans.
- Yoga classes.
- Early finish on Fridays.
- Work social events.
You should also provide pay rises whenever you can. This can go a long way in improving employee both employee satisfaction and staff retention.
Promote Self Care
Your wellbeing strategy should also focus on both physical and mental health benefits. Promoting self care will help both your employee’s mentaland their physical health.
Making your employees aware of stress management techniques will help them if they ever suffer from workplace stress.
What Happens if You Don't Improve Employee Wellbeing?
It's important you do whatever you can to improve employee happiness and wellbeing in your company. Not doing so can mean you stay behind your competitors, but there are other negatives you need to be aware of.
- Increased employee turnover, which incurs extra hiring costs.
- A decrease in employee morale.
- A negative and toxic workplace culture.
- An increase in workplace conflict between employees.
- Not being able to hire the best staff for your company.
Get Advice on Employee Wellbeing with BrightHR
When running a business, how your employees feel on a daily basis is a crucial element of your success. It's important you don't just simply turn a blind eye to your employees health and wellbeing.
Understanding employee wellbeing in your company should be one of your main priorities. Failure to get it under control could mean you lose your best staff and allow for a toxic workplace culture to be created.
If you need any advice on employee wellbeing, we are on hand to help. Our BrightAdvice helpline. Give our friendly and helpful team a call on 0800 783 2806 (tel: 08007832806).