Effective well-being in the workplace is a global concern, and employees are becoming more vocal about their health issues and needs. Disengagement, burnout, digital overload, lack of sleep and mounting anxieties are having a profound impact on employee performance. Recent research from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, found more than a third (34 per cent) of Canadians cite workplace stress as the primary cause of their mental health issue.
Human Resources departments are listening and are taking notice of this. There is no shortage of research that proves that engaged, happy employees with higher productivity result in increased profitability for the business. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace study found that only 13 per cent of employees are engaged, which is defined as having a proud connection to their company. The remaining 87 per cent are emotionally disconnected from their workplace.
In response to these growing needs, companies are expanding their wellness programs year over year, with a bold mission of driving employee engagement and doing the right thing for their employees.
The downside is that even with all these great intentions, there are so many options to consider. These options include diet exercise, stress management, digital programs, health coaching, gym memberships and massage therapy. The choices for businesses are endless, but if not targeted well, they can become a waste of money.
For organizations using EAP at the core of their Wellness strategy, according to Benefits Canada, the average Employee EAP usage is 11per cent. EAP is still predominantly perceived as a service employee’s access only when they are sick, or have a health problem. The question then becomes what can companies do to ensure their well-being strategies are prevention based, driving performance and making employees happy and productive?
Create action-based solutions for segmented employee groups
A recent global wellness report from Josh Bersin, entitled Well-Being Around the World: How HR Departments Are Jumping into Action, found great value in segmenting the workforce to find out what employees really need. It is vital that HR and management be responsive and provide a multitude of solutions that resonate with various employee groups. The onsite mindfulness program may work in the Operations Department but may not bode well in Sales. The cool new wellness digital application with more screen time may appeal to certain demographics but not to others. The onsite massage program may be perfect for your front-line employees but will completely flop when offered at the corporate level. Unsure what you employees want? Ask them. Do surveys, meet with different teams and see what segments value the most.
Be transparent and articulate to your employees what your company’s mission, values, and goals are. If well-being is a key value, then don’t miss the opportunity to communicate. It’s also important to note, says Josh Bersin, that “[w]ell-being cannot be a “Band-Aid” over poor management practices, lack of flexibility, unclear goals and rewards, or inflexible work conditions. We need to think about well-being as a management opportunity, ranging from a focus on health and wellness to a focus on productivity and creating a sense of purpose driving the business.
At the Great Place to Work Institute, one of the key elements of cultivating trust and creating a great work place, is the Employee experience around how connected they are to the organizations vision and mission. Don’t miss the opportunity to communicate and connect with your employees and tap into what’s important to them. Create a line of sight from the company strategy to your team’s work. Employees like to feel good about their work and how they contribute to the greater good, which includes serving customers better and meeting the organization’s business goals.
Make it easy for the workforce to do quality work
Workers are inundated with technology and constant distraction. In a recent discussion with HR at a Dutch Bank, Josh Bersin found that after surveying the entire employee base to ask them what benefits they wanted – #1 thing people asked for was more free time. People want to clear the clutter out of the workplace and give the employees time to think.
Foster a Culture of Continuous Listening
Creating a culture of continuous listening builds trust and fosters an inclusive environment where people feel respected and heard. This drives engagement, as employees have input into program design and implementation, which helps to create a healthy, inclusive culture. A 2014 joint study conducted by Queens University’s School of Business and Aon Hewitt found that organizations with highly engaged employees experienced 26 per cent less employee turnover, 20 per cent less absenteeism, 15 per cent greater productivity and 100 per cent more unsolicited employment applications.
Celebrate your employees’ successes. Recognize outstanding teamwork, client service, and extra effort. A simple ‘thank you” can have the greatest impact. Thanking does not have to be a company-wide town hall recognition event. Simply fostering a daily thanking culture builds a sense of gratitude, happiness and respect and trust in the work culture.
The purpose of a well-being program is to make employees productive and happy, both of which are deeply linked, says Josh Bersin. We at Well Street couldn’t agree more. Companies need to get serious about employee well-being and integrate wellness into their business strategies. This creates a workplace where people feel valued, trusted and respected, while being able to wind down and get home in time for family and dinner.
Well Street is a National Wellness Company helping organizations take a proactive approach to total wellbeing in the workplace. Don’t wait to react; companies can integrate health and wellness prevention strategies to empower wellness and drive employee engagement and happiness. Learn about our most popular total wellbeing programs: Mindfulness and Healthy Stress and a broad range of inspiring wellness Seminars. See what our Client’s are saying!
By: Karina Rasmussen | Co-Founder Well Street.
Karina is the co-founder of Well Street and the leading force behind driving the vision and developing Client Relations at Well Street. Karina’s passion for health and wellness shines, helping clients plan and execute the right programs for their employees.