Because people are finally talking about issues openly that have gone unnoticed or ignored for decades. Mental health is one such topic that is finally getting the attention it deserves. A lot of influential people including powerful leaders and celebrities have come out with their personal stories, giving hope and a voice to many others.
It has been proven over years that mental health troubles such as anxiety, stress, and depression have a tremendous effect on productivity. Prolonged exposure to such conditions can take a serious toll on our well being, making productivity dip lower with each passing day. Without easy and constant access to wellness programs, employees are going to be lethargic, disengaged and unhappy. And we all know the brunt of this on a business.
Organizations need to care about this, especially if they want to stay ahead of the curve. Ensuring employee well being is not just a strategy for growth, but also a human responsibility. Perhaps this is why employee well being is finally getting the attention it deserves and 2019 seems like the year of opening up and helping each other cope. With massive employee turnover rates, workplace-related stress and declining health of employees, it is finally being talked about.
Here are a few ways to get started in the right way:
It is for them, so let it be by them
There is no point in asking an external expert on how to achieve higher well-being levels without even taking a look at the heart of your organization – your employees. The answers lie with them. First, try to understand what really is going on. Do a preliminary check on the health of your organization through staff surveys. Survey data can reveal interesting trends about the workforce that can make organizations rethink not just their wellness initiatives, but also their talent management, training and engagement programs. Data-driven strategies should start with the employee.
In doing so, it is important to create a safe environment where employees can feel comfortable to express. Involve your employees for ideas as health and wellbeing is an area that interests everyone, and allows the scope for everyone to bring something to the table. A good start can be with an introductory level wellbeing workshop, where everyone can be acquainted with how they can contribute and benefit from the efforts.
Make it a company-wide effort
Well being programs, even though carried out by HR teams in no way mean it should just be restricted to one department. Achieving high levels of well being can only be possible if everyone in the company is educated about it, and encouraged to make their own contributions. The intrinsic motivation of talent is shifting from compensation and perks to factors such as the quality of the workplace and the value of the work. The HR function is responsible for achieving this, but without support from upper management, it will not be fruitful.
C-suite needs to take initiative and deploy actions. They need to talk about budgets and strategies allocated to wellness programs. And most importantly, look at well being from a holistic perspective, and not just a silo program focused on physical fitness or nutrition.
Each and every department should be run through an employee-centric lens. Managers should be trained to be more empathetic, and understand how to deal with employees going through a tough phase. Staff should be encouraged to talk freely about their issues with their peers. And there should be efforts aimed at connecting employees to one another and fostering collaboration.
What is important to remember here is that there isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to wellness. The kind of program you carry out will depend on your understanding of your employee needs. Once you understand the pulse of your company and the needs of your workforce, only then can you create the conditions for the employees to succeed.
With the information overload at work and home and a seemingly blurred line that separates personal and professional, employers need to pay attention to each employee’s condition. Organizations should equip themselves with the ability to offer the right resources, tools, and information to each person at the time of need. This will not only engage people but also make them feel like they are being cared for.
Your wellness resources need to be as tailored to each employee’s unique needs as possible. You should be able to analyze who needs what and aim at offering solutions to individual pain points and interests. Put in place innovative programs for financial wellness, mental health, physical fitness, exercise, sleep, stress management, mindfulness and more.
Consistent investment in employee well-being efforts will lead to marginal gains and small, incremental changes will have positive business impacts. The benefits of conducting wellness programs are multiple. From lower absenteeism rates, increased staff loyalty to higher creativity and engagement, wellness programs have a lot of advantages. But they are only going to work when planned strategically and with the right intention.