Imagine the scene...We’re at XYZ Inc. and it’s Wellbeing Hour. This is part of a week-long series of events that HR has put together with the intention of improving employee wellbeing. Team members are preparing themselves, both at home and remotely, for a virtual yoga session that’s starting soon. There is excitement and, if you look closely, some eyerolling, as people roll out their mats.
Here’s the thing. It’s not mandatory per se, but there does seem to be an expectation that employees are to show up if they have no scheduled meetings. So although well-meaning, this company’s wellbeing initiatives are turning out to be more focused on providing physical activities for employees to do - taking more time out of their already busy work days.
Sounds more like “well doing” than wellbeing. And, according to the most recent employee survey, what employees really want are resources and strategies to help them be proactive about overcoming feelings of overwhelm and burnout.
Like at so many other organizations right now, there are growing concerns about employees’ mental wellness as they’re facing the unique challenges of hybrid working. In some organizations (maybe yours?), employees are returning to the office after nearly a year away due to the pandemic. These issues alone create an underlying anxiety that could be triggered and overwhelmed by inevitable work stressors. When work begins to feel overwhelming, and there are limited opportunities for proper rest, then burnout and panic is to be expected.
This is crucial for businesses right now.
- Wellbeing reduces employee stress and health risk factors by up to 56%
- Wellbeing increases employee engagement by over 40%
- Wellbeing boosts creativity and innovation by over 50%
- Organizations that implement wellbeing strategies are 4x less likely to lose talent
*data taken from the Global Leadership Wellbeing Survey
As in the case of our earlier example, employee wellbeing matters to most. However, wellbeing initiatives that are temporary or “one size fits all” will usually miss the mark. That’s because you work with dynamic, distinctly different individuals. Customized coaching could be the answer for impactful wellbeing programming. Hold that thought.
Here are 3 reasons to prioritize leveling up your employee wellbeing efforts:
1. Wellbeing fuels inclusion and belonging. Wellbeing is an area of DEI culture that has been unfortunately overlooked and understated. Yet, it’s foundational! Stress tends to cause people to lean into certain default coping strategies like disconnection or withdrawal, especially towards people they see as being different from them. And social psychology research shows that when a person’s wellbeing wanes, there can be an increased tendency towards prejudice and biases. In other words, an “us vs. them” way of thinking sets in, whether that’s against a particular race or gender, or towards leadership as a whole. This is detrimental to workplace culture engagement. To effectively support employees’ emotional resilience, wellbeing programming must be thoughtfully considered for its impact (for better or for worse) on inclusion and belonging.
2. Wellbeing promotes authenticity. For a lot of the people you work with, there’s a work self and an outside of work self. You might be the same way. It’s like when we were in elementary school and we saw our teachers only as teachers. Not as people who had an actual life. That’s why we would be so shocked to see them at the grocery store or gas station. Because it never occurred to us that they could do those things, too!
Likewise, your employees have full range of experiences and ideas that they may rarely (if ever) bring to work. Your organization could certainly benefit from the creativity and contributions that come from such uniqueness. When workplace culture supports the sharing of wisdom and knowledge from a person’s lived experiences, it increases employee self-esteem, which in turn boosts company morale.
3. Wellbeing leads to exceptional and sustainable performance. Although a person’s state of wellbeing is not something that is usually apparent, it is definitely something that shows up in performance. Wellbeing affects an employee’s ability to get work done and their motivation to do the job well.
Employees who are being supporting in their mental wellness will have remarkably greater energy, engagement, and results. They’ll also dodge burnout, have fewer sick days, and be resourceful with balancing work and personal commitments.
Helping your team get there could look like:
- Allowing for flexible work styles or schedules to accommodate the different needs of employees.
- Considering family demands, cultural backgrounds, and physical abilities when planning team meetings and events.
- Examining the work environment and expectations for potential risks to psychological safety.
- Providing easy access to mental health resources.
Wellbeing is the foundation of everything that we do at Talking Talent. We want to support you in providing customized wellbeing solutions and support for your employees AND for yourself.
Ready to learn more? Let's talk.