Why is it important to take a pro-active approach to Employee Wellbeing?
The space of employee wellbeing can be very misleading and complex for those that have not had exposure in the past. It is scattered with former Brexit and GDPR consultants, who are now branding themselves as wellbeing specialists.
Due to employee wellbeing strategies still being in their infancy, a lot of the information provided lacks substance and evidence. For example, many employee wellbeing providers claim to “reduce employee attrition”. I’m not saying they don’t, but where’s the evidence to support this?
Even those providing what I perceive to be right kind of information tend to focus on solving problems, as appose to preventing issues arising in the first place. As people become more open to talking about their psychological and physical health, I hope to see more businesses taking a pro-active approach, as this will save them time and money.
Today’s blog aims to look at what currently happens in relation to employee wellbeing. Before considering a couple of simple steps that businesses can take to reduce the likelihood of wellbeing challenges occurring. My thoughts are built upon our work with businesses, along with my personal experience of supporting close family and friends struggling with health challenges.
What happens at the minute?
Many businesses have begun to feel pain points such as: long term employee absence and decreased performance, as a result of their teams facing wellbeing challenges. In response to this leadership teams have looked at ways to reduce the impact that poor wellbeing has on the organisation. Solutions range from:
- Yoga, massages and fruit bowls
- Referrals to external partners: occupational health, mental health charities
- Mental health first aider course (MHFA)
Although the above can play a key role in ensuring that your teams are healthy, I feel as though they are very re-active solutions. If it gets to this stage then you already have a problem, so what can you do pro-actively?
3 tips on how to be pro-active when it comes to employee wellbeing?
As wellbeing is a fairly new topic many of us have limited information when it comes to looking after our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us. For me personally education should play a key in an employee wellbeing strategy. Here’s a couple of areas to consider:
- Physical health – what do you currently do to facilitate your employees looking after their psychical health? Have you considered sports days? Cycle to work schemes?
- Psychological health – psychological health is the most common area associated with wellbeing, but for me it is usually a result of poor overall wellbeing. Do you provide support for employees around emotional intelligence? Do you run workshops that help them to understand how to manage their work life balance?
- Social wellbeing – what can you do to help employees socialise more? Monthly get togethers? Informal social events?
- Financial wellbeing – what are you doing to support the financial wellbeing of your team? Do you provide information on how to manage finances? Do you have tools such as Hastee Pay that will help employees under financial pressure? Could you bring in industry experts to talk about their experiences?
#2 Improve your culture
A lot of wellbeing strategies tend to be re-active and focus on team members struggling with their health. However, a lot of these strategies do not address the core route of the issue, which is often embedded into the culture e.g.:
- Leadership and management capability
- Flexible working and ways of working
One of the best ways I have seen businesses take a pro-active approach is through giving employees the opportunity to provide feedback. Whether that be through 1-1’s or even better in a safe, trusted and anonymous environment such as a survey.
#3 Physical health measurement
A lot of time is spent focused on the importance of mental or psychological health BUT I’ve seen both professionally and personally physical health have a large impact. On a personal note I take time out of my lunch time to go for a run and I am given the flexibility to do so. Although this seems like a small initiative, I’ve noticed that getting away from my desk and clearing my head has a large impact on my health, but also my performance. Although I do appreciate that running will not work for everyone, there’s other alternatives such as:
- Health assessments – this is a great way to create awareness for individuals. We partner with a company called LiveSmart who provide this a service and I’d be happy to answer any questions about my experience or introduce you to my contact, Craig.
In summary the world of employee wellbeing is becoming a very saturated space. I’m by no means claiming to be expert (I do not believe anyone can at this point) but I can draw upon my experience of supporting businesses in this area. Today’s blog is very focused on wellbeing from an organisations perspective, rather than the individual.
One of my pet hates at the moment is seeing organisations treating their wellbeing strategy as a marketing and PR exercise, for example running a wellbeing week. Why form a strategy that is only going to impact your organisation one week of the year and in reality to tick a box?
As always keen to hear people’s thoughts on this so please comment or get in touch with any questions.
Employee Engagement and Client Delivery Consultant