Today’s workplace demands, societal pressures, and global events greatly impact a person’s overall well-being, which spills into effectiveness on the job. That means employee well-being isn’t just a HR buzzword — it’s an essential factor for employee productivity and organizational success.
Organizations that take a holistic approach to employee well-being can ensure all employees have access to the resources they need most. Read on to learn what strategies to implement, risks to consider, and how your organization can thrive with a well-being culture.
The standard offering of mental health benefits through your medical insurance or employee assistance program is no longer enough. After a global pandemic and in the midst of economic uncertainty, employees today are under more pressure and endure greater stress. Organizations striving to elevate their well-being efforts should develop a full suite of mental and wellness services to meet their needs. Ranging from in-office stress management training to mental health rehab coverage, a holistic approach ensures access to necessary support.
Create spaces in the office that promote mental wellness, like quiet spaces to attend online therapy or take a sensory break. Host resilience training sessions regularly during the workday. Incentivize attendance by catering lunch or offering rewards to gamify your organization-wide wellness efforts. These strategies can encourage attendance by otherwise reluctant employees. Make offerings accessible, ensuring a range of times, locations, and events are offered so everyone has an opportunity to attend.
Collaborate with your leadership team to ensure they participate, too. Their presence sets the expectation that prioritizing well-being is important, all the way to the top. If they’re comfortable doing so, encourage leaders to offer stories of pursuing their own well-being. This sharing of experiences can further reinforce your initiatives.
Integrate your support offerings with other benefits options, like paid time off and work location. Expand your paid leave offerings to cover more than just vacation, offering time away for mental health support, too. By ensuring your employees’ financial well-being doesn’t compete with their mental health needs, they’ll be more inclined to seek support.
Your organization has a culture, whether it’s intentional or not. Take a step back and look at the drumbeat of how you work, speak, and behave during the workday. Are your team members’ calendars booked with back-to-back meetings? Is there an unspoken rule that a 40-hour workweek means an employee is doing less than expected? If this scenario seems too familiar, it may be time for a culture reset.
Conduct a pulse survey focused on employees’ perceptions of and expectations for well-being. Review this new assessment with your management team, providing background on the “why” behind the initiative. Prepare for some pushback and questions, as any change in the status quo can feel disruptive.
Consider how generational differences among your team may bear on workplace well-being, too. Today five generations — the most ever — are working side by side. And while this provides major benefits, it also can pose new challenges for organizations, especially during times of change.
First, strive to normalize conversations about wellness, mental health, and taking the time to care for one’s needs. Begin a well-being narrative through internal communications initiatives, policies, and leadership forums. Share the goals surrounding wellness initiatives, letting employees know that their needs are understood and that meeting them is important.
Make tactical changes within the workplace that create space for employees to utilize the tools and support provided. Establish an organization-wide “no meeting day” or “no meeting morning” where these events are banned. Encourage employees to instead focus on deep work, access well-being tools, or get a break from constantly being “on.” If possible, support work location choice, whether hybrid, remote, or onsite, according to an employee’s best fit and preference.
A lack of leadership training is a common theme among organizations that struggle to reach their potential. Sometimes individuals are promoted for being great at their contributor role but lack the skills and knowledge to manage others.
As you devise your organizational well-being initiative, it’s important to view your management team as a unique audience. A manager is often the first point of contact for employee performance, and the same goes for wellness. Managers and employees have daily interactions that can often be the first indicator that the latter require additional support for their well-being.
However, managers may not know how to discuss mental health, stress, or anxiety, erring on the side of caution instead. Host specialized training for managers that covers how to identify well-being needs and best practices to support their employees. Provide guidance on what questions are appropriate so leaders can feel comfortable having these often candid, vulnerable conversations. Coach them on trust-building strategies, which can further improve well-being conversations in the future.
Teach middle managers how to take care of and advocate for themselves, too. Positioned between front-line employees and upper management, these individuals experience the stress of dealing with demands from both sides. When your management team understands your wellness initiatives, has support implementing them, and can use them themselves, organizational well-being will soar.
Employees with access to holistic wellness tools and programs are more loyal and committed to their organizations. As companies compete to attract and retain top talent, well-being strategies can boost their competitive advantage while benefiting employees.
When team members are encouraged to tend to their health and wellness needs, the benefits trickle down. Compare these holistic wellness strategies to your current initiatives and most recent employee feedback. You’ll likely discover opportunities to better care for your employees’ well-being and maximize your organization’s effectiveness.