Are Employers Focusing Enough on Workplace Wellbeing? Here’s How To Do More
With World Mental Health Day taking place this month, now is a great opportunity to look at wellbeing with the working environment and discuss whether employers are helping their employees to be fulfilled and happy at work. In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into the current state of play and give actionable advice on solving well-being-related issues and building a company culture you’re truly proud of.
Are companies focusing enough on workplace wellbeing?
Despite gains in mental health awareness in recent years, key indicators show that employers are still failing to put their employees’ wellbeing first. This may potentially be causing falling employee retention rates and may even cause issues regarding acquisition.
The COVID-19 was a wake-up call for many companies who may not have been paying as much attention as they should have to employee wellbeing. Knowing employees were spending hours inside with a lack of social interaction, and financial stress led some to predict that wellbeing issues would be brought to the forefront of employers’ minds.
In fact, a survey conducted by CoursesOnline at the beginning of 2021 found that 66% of employees thought that the pandemic would cause companies to focus more on mental wellbeing in the workplace. However, a recent survey from Headspace has seen the number of employees saying that their employees are doing an excellent or very good job of responding to COVID related issues actually drop from 41% in 2020 down to just 28% currently.
The key takeaway from this data is that companies feel that they are doing enough and are mostly happy with their employee mental health strategies, but that employees don’t share this sentiment. Research shows that 60% of employers thought that wellbeing was a priority within their organisation, but found that only half of employees agreed with the same statement.
Taking the lessons learnt from the height of the pandemic and applying them in seemingly less stressful times can be one way to avoid complacency and build upon the progress made during the COVID-19 crisis.
Negative impacts on productivity and acquisition
For employers, not spending enough time focusing on employee wellbeing can seriously impact productivity, retention, acquisition, and ultimately profitability.
A lack of employee engagement at work can create a vicious cycle where staff will feel less motivated and happy at work as their level of engagement with their work deteriorates. One survey found that employees aged 18-24 years old saw a huge drop of 18% in work engagement from 2020 to 2021. In the same study, 40% of respondents from all ages said that they were currently either neutral, not particularly engaged or not engaged at all in their work.
As well as productivity, poor mental health management in the workplace can result in issues related to retention and acquisition. For example, one survey found that younger candidates were more likely to look for mental health benefits when looking for a job over benefits such as gym and meal subsidies.
This demonstrates that if companies are keen to stop young, dynamic employees from leaving or are eager to snap up eager young graduates, having a clear and demonstrable mental health strategy and support practices in place can make the difference when securing top talent.
If employees or candidates know that your company will choose to support employees needs with a well thought out wellbeing strategy you could draw in talented individuals who are keen to find a workplace that is proactive when it comes to mental health and wellbeing initiatives.
If you’re proud of your approaches to stress management and wellbeing promotion, don’t be afraid to shout about it on social media or through company advertising. Letting potential employees know that you put wellbeing first shows that you stand out in the modern job market and in the world of work.
Creating a culture of learning and progression
Employee training in a range of areas can be one of the best ways to cultivate a culture of motivation, productivity and wellbeing in a workplace. Moreover, there are three key areas to focus on that can allow you to maximise results and improve employee wellbeing quickly.
Emotional intelligence training for managers
Although good managers and senior leaders should already have solid soft skills when it comes to employee management and emotional intelligence, ensuring that staff in senior positions are well equipped in this area with dedicated training can have a trickle-down effect on overall employee wellbeing.
A recent survey found that 72% of employees ranked “respectful treatment of employees at all levels” as the top factor for job satisfaction. This demonstrates that strong emotional intelligence levels amongst those in charge of workload, goal-setting, and employee objectives can positively impact workplace wellness, engagement, and enjoyment.
Emotional intelligence training can be a simple and effective way to boost overall employee wellbeing through manager training. Ensuring that managers are able to manage employee stress levels, develop a positive workplace culture and manage each team members workday in a way that takes wellbeing into account can make a huge difference.
Those involved in mentoring roles can benefit from training in this area, as work-related goals can also reflect specific wellbeing needs for each mentee. Ensuring that task-setting and expectations consider an employees’ work-life balance and can factor in things like flexible working can help reduce work-related stress and improve wellbeing.
Encourage your team to take mental health first aid training
Mental health first aid training can equip employees of all levels with the correct skills to spot mental heath issues that may be occurring in the workplace.
Younger employees are increasingly seeing mental health first aid training as a significant benefit when looking for a role, with those under 25 ranking it as the second most important work benefit in 2021. Factoring training like this into your overall wellbeing programme can help line managers seek out and address mental health and wellbeing needs and help employees early on.
Although dedicated managers should manage mental health management, creating greater awareness within your whole team can be a great way to put mental health and wellness at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Establish clear progression path to increase work engagement
Engagement and enjoyment in work can be a key contributor to overall employee satisfaction and wellbeing. Although a lack of engagement might not usually be considered a mental health issue, tedious, uninteresting and unfulfilling job roles can cause significant wellbeing problems.
Some publications are even reporting on the phenomenon of ‘boreout’. This is when employee productivity and wellbeing dips severely due to a stagnant working environment similar to the symptoms of burnout. This can also create a situation where employees will put in lower levels of effort if they believe that the company values presenteeism over a more practical use of employee work time.
Worse still, extremely unmotivated employees may be more likely to show signs of absenteeism or potentially leave sooner than expected to look for more fulfilling work elsewhere.
Creating a clear path of progression for new and long-standing employees can be an excellent way to boost motivation and wellness. Employees should feel that they have a long-term future within the company. They should be shown how dedicated training will allow them to progress and go further in their careers.
Understanding the best path of progression for each employee is essential. Poor employee training management can cause you to miss out on significant opportunities. As an employer, it’s essential to know how to upskill each employee or find out from them what their personal career goals are.
A tailored approach works best here, as a one-size-fits-all strategy may neglect employees’ individual learning styles. This will allow them to carry a feeling of motivation and purposefulness in every task they do, ultimately leading to higher levels of wellbeing and overall enjoyment within their role.
Businesses can choose to take a variety of different approaches to solving wellbeing issues within their company. Explore our Workforce Training Hub today if you’d like to find out more about how we can help you give your employees training that fosters a feeling of progression and fulfilment.