Employee wellbeing and business success are intrinsically linked, and here’s why:
Wellbeing in the workplace encompasses physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as mental health and feeling valued. An increasing number of companies are noticing the importance of these issues and the impact they have on businesses and individuals.
According to Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey, each employee costs employers 27.5 days per year in sickness absence and underperformance at work, costing the UK economy £73bn per year.
More than a third of work absences are stress-related, while only 2 in 5 employees are working at their peak performance. Worryingly, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England says that while 61% of business owners and CEOs say employee mental health is well supported, only 40% of employees themselves think the same.
Until recently, workplaces have only made token efforts in addressing wellbeing among employees. However, gym discounts, fruit platters and 15-minute desk massages are no longer considered to be enough. There’s a huge drive to properly integrate wellbeing into training, development and the day-to-day life of businesses.
Companies that take wellbeing seriously notice a dramatic upturn in the performance of employees. Meaningfully integrating wellbeing into a workplace can include discussing how tasks will be achieved rather than just setting employees tasks to complete. This helps stop burn-out and stress before it begins. It also involves making wellbeing a topic that can be openly discussed. Training managers to help employees with their emotional health instils a culture where healthier ways of working become the norm.
Improving Mental Health
There’s a broader drive to remove the stigma around discussing mental health, and employers should be leading the way in this respect. Creating a work environment where it’s ok to speak up about mental health issues, anxiety and depression is the first step. Companies that have active programmes for discussing mental health have much higher staff satisfaction ratings. For example, Bupa employees have access to a digital platform where they can work with colleagues to complete wellbeing goals, and all 30,000 Bupa employees use it.
When employers take wellbeing at work seriously, it shows employees they’re valued. Furthermore, when wellbeing becomes part of company culture, the higher level of motivation among the workforce is evidenced in numerous ways. A compelling 74% of employees agree that knowing their employer is committed to wellbeing would make them more motivated at work.
More than Money
Employees nowadays look for more than money when applying for jobs. They want to know about other benefits and what the company culture is like. On top of this, today’s workforce is more transient than ever before. If new employees don’t like a workplace, they won’t hesitate in leaving soon after joining. In fact, companies who manage health and wellbeing properly are 4x more likely to retain employees than those who don’t. Companies with a committed approach to wellbeing have happier, more motivated staff. This has a self-reinforcing effect, helping businesses attract and retain high quality staff.
Companies are starting to clock onto the fact that a brand comes to life through the people who work for it. In the current age of digitalisation and transparency, internal culture and external brand image are one and the same. Happier, healthier and more valued staff offer better customer service, in turn helping businesses thrive.
How to Incorporate Wellbeing into the Workplace Agenda:
- Add wellbeing into performance management templates, so it’s automatically part of the conversation in regular catch-ups between managers and staff
- Give employees multiple options – from face-to-face to digital – for speaking up if they’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or depressed
- Embed wellbeing elements into company conferences and days out
- Give employees more control over how their training and development budget is used and actively encourage participation in wellbeing-related courses
- Promote flexible working to staff at all levels and areas of responsibility
- Ensure everyone takes proper breaks and encourage activity during break times
Demonstrably investing in employees’ health and wellbeing can only be positive for businesses and the people who keep them running. Make wellbeing a priority in 2020 for a more positive, healthy and committed workforce.