Data revealed by WorkBuzz in their recent State of Employee Engagement Report 2022 revealed a key finding that employee wellbeing is still high on the agenda of employers and employees.
We spend an enormous portion of our life at work and, as such, it’s no surprise that our jobs affect our wellbeing. Increasingly, employers are recognising the benefit of employee wellbeing initiatives.
Why do employee wellbeing initiatives matter?
Of course, employee wellbeing ideas benefit the individual employee. But they also greatly benefit the employer.
In UK organisations that develop wellbeing initiatives for employees, employees are engaged, motivated and less likely to leave. Companies with good employee health and wellbeing initiatives are also more likely to have a good reputation with clients, customers and the public, and are more likely to be recommended as good employers.
Studies also repeatedly show that employees with high levels of wellbeing perform better and these organisations have higher levels of productivity.
What is employee wellbeing?
Before we consider some examples of employee wellbeing initiatives, it’s important to understand what employee wellbeing is and what these initiatives aim to achieve.
As an employer, your human talent is your greatest resource. But it is human. This means that to get the best from your employees, they need to be healthy – mentally, physically, emotionally and economically. Employee wellbeing is the state of the overall health of your employees.
Employee wellbeing is affected by many different factors in the workplace, from relationships with line managers and colleagues through to access to daylight during working hours.
What are employee wellbeing initiatives?
Employee wellbeing initiatives in the UK are any initiatives put in place by an employer aimed at improving (and maintaining) the mental and physical health of the organisation’s workforce.
There are many examples of employee wellbeing initiatives from providing mentoring for younger or less experienced workers through to Employee Assistance Programmes which offer free counselling.
Furthermore, employee wellbeing initiatives also include those practices and processes which are designed to minimise any negative impact of work on health. Examples of this may include above statutory parental leave policies to make balancing work and home life easier or imposing strict rules on excessive working hours.
Ideas to boost workplace wellbeing
So, if you’re an employer and want to know some ways to improve employee wellbeing, what are some initiatives and ideas that you can introduce?
Start at the top
Employee wellbeing initiatives are only effective if senior leadership is on board and backing them. If senior leadership genuinely cares about employee wellbeing then all other initiatives are more likely to be successful.
There will be greater buy-in for employee wellbeing initiatives throughout the organisation. For example, the CEO should ensure that all of their direct reports take a proper lunch break and are encouraged to work sensible hours.
Help employees feel greater control over their lives by offering as much autonomy as possible within the workplace. When employees feel respected, they will feel positive about the workplace and will also reward the company with greater motivation and productivity.
Awareness campaigns about mental health in the workplace can help employees feel that their mental health matters and they can be themselves at work. Promoting discussion helps to make employee wellbeing part of the workplace culture and encourages employees to talk about mental and emotional health, reducing myths and prejudices.
From simple ideas such as putting up posters through to organising guest speakers, there are many ways to raise awareness.
Staff involvement and feedback
Employees need to feel they are listened to and are involved in what’s happening within the organisation. It helps them feel valued as individuals, rather than mere cogs in a machine. Initiatives to involve workers in decision-making and feedback processes are some of the best employee wellbeing initiatives in practice. There are many different initiatives within this from employee surveys and focus groups through to away days and staff forums.
Initiatives to make the organisational culture more open are important to improve employee wellbeing. It’s important that an open, fair and transparent organisational culture is promoted so that employees feel able to come forward with concerns.
This allows small issues to be dealt with easily rather than waiting for them to become larger issues and eventually catastrophic.
Promote a good work-life balance
In the UK, we have a tendency to equate long hours with high levels of productivity. It’s a culture of presenteeism. In reality, a good work-life balance with sensible working hours ensures greater productivity, output and even innovation.
Long working hours can cause stress and burnout, causing greater problems in the long run. Flexible working arrangements are also important as part of this and can go a long way to creating a healthier workforce.
Part of this should involve encouraging staff to stay home when ill, and only working from home if truly well enough to. Again, leadership should lead the way here.
Invest in training and development
When an employer invests in the development of an employee, they feel valued, engaged and supported. Perhaps the most common example of an employee wellbeing initiative is to take a structured, planned and valued approach to learning and development.
Peer support systems
Buddying systems, as well as mentoring, are amongst the most successful employee wellbeing initiatives. Away from the stresses of the line manager structure, these supportive relationships can benefit the whole organisation as well as the individuals involved.
Promote positive working relationships and social networks
Good relationships at work lead to healthier and happier employees who collaborate more effectively. Run a range of social activities designed to engage your workers to build better social links.
From workplace volunteering events to a team building trip to an escape room, these social opportunities are incredibly effective.
Reward and praise
Recognition is important for mental health and employee wellbeing. Make recognition a central part of the organisational culture and take the time and effort to reward employees in more ways than just pay and bonuses.
Encourage physical health
From cycle to work schemes to free or subsidised gym membership to workplace fitness challenges, it’s important to promote physical health.
At bloss for business, we’re here to support employers and give them access to a range of resources to improve employee wellbeing.