People First Personnel
Why prioritising employee wellbeing is important
The prioritisation of employee wellbeing in the workplace has become one of the top priorities for modern and forward-thinking businesses, and for good reason.
Reducing employee stress and creating a positive working environment has significant benefits for individuals, which ultimately benefits the organisation itself.
Here we’ll look at the business benefits of investing in employee wellbeing, as well as describe the different domains where organisations of all sizes can initiate strategies to improve and cultivate a positive working environment that results in highly motivated employees maximising their productivity.
Business Benefits of Employee Wellbeing
Some mega companies like Google and Twitter have taken the concept of employee wellbeing to the extreme, practically turning their premises into veritable fun centres with chill-out zones, massage rooms and pool tables. But it’s not necessary to take it so far to ensure your employees’ wellbeing is promoted and protected.
As mentioned above, introducing an employee wellbeing strategy creates a positive working environment where people are far more likely to succeed. Motivated and productive employees help businesses improve their bottom lines by generating more revenue. This could be in the form of more deals or sales, or innovations which help cut costs or broaden the company’s horizons with new opportunities.
Another couple of crucial aspects to employee wellbeing are increased retention and reduced absences. With the work-life balance more important to employees than ever, a positive and rewarding working environment will see more talented employees happy to remain in situ, rather than seeking out a better experience elsewhere. A positive atmosphere will also discourage certain types of absences, especially those related to mental health.
Talent acquisition will also be enhanced once an employee wellbeing strategy is introduced, with organisations who implement them far more likely to be recommended as potential employers to the best talent. This is especially true when it comes to employee referrals, which is one of the more creative recruitment methods that can identify ideal candidates for roles within the organisation.
Now let’s look closer at the different aspects of a well-rounded employee wellbeing strategy, with the three domains being the practical needs of employees, their health and purpose, plus their own personal ambition and achievement.
Practical Employee Needs
The practical needs of employees cover a variety of aspects including the physical working environment, infrastructure and company values, so let’s look at each in turn.
The physical environment should be ergonomically designed wherever possible so the working areas are comfortable and inclusive. Thought should go into the layout of departments and team members who need to coordinate with each other, as well as access to and communication with decision-makers and leaders.
Efficient infrastructure incorporates good line management and effective people management policies, including holiday and sickness absence management. Employees should be able to enjoy a level of autonomy which allows them to manage their job load and constantly improve the quality of their performance, with leaders effectively communicating any and all demands and expectations.
Employee wellbeing is also influenced by the values and principles of their organisation. To generate positivity in this aspect, leadership should be values-based with the organisation having a clear mission and objectives. This includes the wellbeing strategy itself, but also covers the likes of corporate governance and social responsibility, as well as general trust between superiors and subordinates. Ethical standards such as inclusion and diversity must always be maintained in order to afford employees sufficient dignity and pride in their work.
Employee Health and Purpose
There should adequate promotion of good physical health in the workplace, including check-ups and wellbeing benefits such as health insurance, disability management and employee assistance programmes. The first step is always ensuring a safe working environment along with safe working practices. Equipment must be in good working order, and personal safety training provided wherever necessary.
Mental health also factors in, with a big emphasis on reducing stress in the workplace. There should be risk assessments and occupational health support for those who need it. Other aspects to consider include line managers receiving conflict resolution training and training to steer difficult conversations towards a positive resolution.
Another aspect of this domain include giving employees a voice in decisions that affect them. Provide genuine dialogue between employees and decision-makers with communication and consultation, cultivating teamwork and togetherness as well as employee ownership of their role and purpose within the organisation.
Personal Ambition and Achievement
Personal growth and career development also play a big role in the wellbeing of employees. Try to provide training and mentoring along with performance management and a development plan that uses and enhances each employee’s skills.
Really, anything that expands an employee’s skill set and knowledge will be worthwhile and a benefit to the company. Some organisations might want to take it even further by providing training, advice and assistance beyond the confines of the company’s primary objectives. This could take the form of personal resilience training or career reviews that can help sharpen an employee’s focus and help them rediscover their professional motivation.
Finally, of course, financial remuneration practices should be fair and transparent. They can also be supplemented with non-financial benefits such as special recognition, extra holiday days and other perks as performance rewards.