Employee well-being has become increasingly important to businesses in the last two years. The pandemic has had a significant impact on employees' physical and mental health. According to the American Psychology Association's (APA) Work and Well-Being survey, 59% of employees experience work-related stress.
In this blog, we discuss how employers can create an empathetic environment for their workforce and support their employees' well-being holistically.
To begin with, employee well-being in HRM focused on the physical aspects of an employee’s health. However, the term has broadened over the years.
Today, employee well-being refers to the physical, mental, emotional, and economic health of your employees. It defines how the employees feel about their work life, their physical work environment, and the culture at work.
Well-being can also be affected by the relationship among employees, the tools and resources they work with, workplace safety, wages, and the number of hours an employee spends at work.
A survey conducted in 2020 reported a 37% increase in stress-related absenteeism at work. The pandemic paved way for a significant increase in burnout and stress among employees. Working remotely meant more responsibilities and a lower work-life balance for several workers.
Arthur C. Evans, CEO of APA believes that “Stress at work can have broad, negative consequences for employers and employees alike, including loss of productivity, high turnover and repercussions for the employee’s physical and emotional health”. “A workplace that pays attention to worker well-being is better-positioned to recruit and retain engaged and productive staff,” he said.
Future Workplace identified the following as the seven pillars of employee well-being:
1. Physical Wellbeing: The sleep cycle, food habits, lifestyle, and overall health of an individual impact their cognitive processing factors like focus, creativity, memory, etc.
2. Career Wellbeing: Employees seek better compensation plans, work-life plans, and learning opportunities to grow in their careers.
3. Financial Wellbeing: Stress caused by insecurity related to their finances can distract employees from their work.
4. Social Wellbeing: Meaningful relationships can impact the loyalty of the employees, their quality of work, absenteeism, and presenteeism.
5. Community Wellbeing: Participation in community activities allows employees to connect to their community and promotes sustainability.
6. Emotional Wellbeing: Mental health of the employees largely impacts their work performance and may lead to frequent absence from work.
7. Purpose-driven Wellbeing: Employees may engage well with work when their values and ethics align with the organization.
Despite the pension and health plan benefits, employees lack physical and mental health wellness. Here are some additional measures you can take to improve employee well-being:
While employees are rewarded for achieving goals and objectives, their efforts are often overlooked. It would thus pay to appreciate the employees for their hard work, patience, and resilience. Addressing their personal and professional growth makes the employees feel valued.
Micromanagement may lead the employees to feel restricted in terms of their tasks. Employers can reduce this by providing employees with more fluidity over how they decide to carry out their jobs. This may lead to a significant reduction in stress and anxiety for employees.
A little social and emotional support can help an individual feel more motivated. Instead of creating a competitive work environment, encouraging care and support can make a healthier workplace. Good relationships would not only make the employees support each other but also facilitate collaboration and teamwork.
Maintain a workplace where an employee feels safe and heard, just like they would, at home. An inclusive and diverse work environment brings new perspectives that may not exist otherwise. This may improve employee engagement and reduce burnout.
The programs offered by companies such as gym memberships or access to healthcare may not be completely utilized. Instead of providing everyone with the same solutions, businesses can focus on the needs of individuals. The employees should enjoy the same health benefits, regardless of their job status.
Employees often lack the skills to maintain their finances or reach their financial goals. In such cases, employee assistance programs that include financial advisors, sources of free advice, or debt counseling can be helpful. It would relieve employees of financial stress and reduce turnovers.
Certain measures taken in the workplace can encourage employees to make healthy lifestyle choices. Some examples can be standing up during small meetings, serving healthy snacks during work hours, meditation rooms for employees, and so on. Leaders can thus set a positive example for their teams.
Nurturing employee well-being is connected to improved productivity and work outputs. When it comes to employee wellness initiatives, it is advised that employers chose the ones that fit their organizational needs. Well-being at work can serve as a reminder for employers as well as employees to focus on their own health as much as the organization's goals.