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Increased productivity starts with employee wellbeing

Wellness

Posted on: Wednesday December 14, 2022

Look after your most important asset

We’ve spoken previously about how shifting demographics and changing working patterns  necessitate a renewed understanding of what makes employees tick. With initiatives that target organisational culture, employee engagement, and rewards and recognition, the objective is to develop an environment where employees feel appreciated and happy in their jobs.

Collectively, these kinds of initiatives fall under the umbrella of employee wellbeing. Get them right, and you’ll boost your productivity in no time at all.

Understanding employee wellbeing

Once upon a time, employee wellbeing meant curating an environment where workers were kept (relatively) safe from accidents and illnesses. But we’ve made significant progress since then.

On top of physical wellbeing, employers are now concerned with the mental (and emotional) health of their workforce. This may not always be an altruistic pursuit: it’s been shown that higher employee wellbeing leads to increased productivity.

This seems fairly self-evident at even the most primitive level — Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that individuals are most motivated to do better when their physical and emotional needs are met.

Employee wellbeing, absence and the bottom line

Still not convinced? Consider the phenomenon of presenteeism (where employees come to work, but their productivity is greatly reduced due to factors like injury, illness, or stress).

The Centre for Mental Health found that the cost to the UK economy was a staggering £15.1 billion per annum. The same report attributed a further £8.4 billion in losses to absenteeism.

The fix should come as no surprise: better company cultures (the fair treatment of employees and the provision of support when it’s needed) and a more open environment with regards to mental health. In other words, employees should have a forum in which to voice their concerns to superiors who are trained to respond appropriately.

This approach can be rounded out with a more holistic approach to absence management — for instance, the CIPD recommends conducting return-to-work interviews to get to the bottom of the causes for the absence. They also recommend maintaining frequent contact in case of longer-term absences — with the sensitivity required to deal with potentially difficult personal situations.

The employee wellbeing cheat-sheet

Below is the seven-domain model proposed by the CIPD — which looks at factors that contribute to employee wellbeing. Ensure that you strive towards better employee wellbeing by asking yourself the questions for each category.

Key domain

Questions to ask

Health

Do you adequately promote better physical health (e.g., with health benefits or employee assistance programs)?

Are your workspaces and equipment safe? In addition, are employees trained in personal safety?

Have you implemented mental health initiatives (e.g., stress management or occupational health support)?

Good work

Do you foster an open and inclusive culture?

Are your line managers effectively trained to sensitively handle people?

Do your employees enjoy good work-life balance, clearly defined roles and job satisfaction?

Values & principles

Is your leadership grounded in strong values, trust and clear missions and objectives?

Do your CSR initiatives enrich the community you operate in?

Do you champion diversity through people and processes?

Collective & social

Are your employees’ voices heard in decision-making processes?

Do you foster an environment that rewards teamwork and encourages healthy relationships?

Personal growth

Do you provide a clear path to career development (e.g., via mentoring schemes or coaching)?

Do you encourage continuous learning?

Good lifestyle choices

Do you promote employee initiatives for better physical health and healthy eating?

Financial wellbeing

Do you compensate your employees fairly?

Do you offer adequate support for retirement planning?

Clearly, employee wellbeing is a complex, multifaceted puzzle that requires consideration of all physical, financial and mental factors.

However, with a careful audit of your leadership and organisational practices, you can implement, streamline and refine a workplace that attracts happy and healthy employees.

Want more tips for championing employee wellbeing? Get in touch with a Personal Group Benefits Expert or subscribe to more of our blogs.

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