How to Create an Employee Wellbeing Strategy

18th October 2021

76% of workers feel that their employers should be doing more to protect the mental health of their staff. 40% say that stress has caused their productivity to decrease and their decision-making to become worse.

The pandemic has further highlighted the importance of all organisations having an effective employee wellbeing strategy. Employees are vital to the success of any company, so their wellbeing needs to be handled accordingly.

The aforementioned statistics aren’t sustainable for any business that wants to succeed, regardless of the industry. If employers want to become more competitive in their respective fields, they need to plan, implement and improve an employee wellbeing strategy.

In this article, we’ll explain the value of employee wellbeing strategy and how to structure it, what it means for a business’s future and how we can help to improve staff’s wellbeing in an organisation.

What are the Different Types of Employee Wellbeing?

‘Wellbeing’ means general health and happiness. Add the word ‘employee’ to the mix and this literally means the general health and happiness of a member of staff. It’s a term that covers many aspects of an employee’s life. In a working environment, it can be broken down into the following main categories:

PsychologicalSocialPhysicalFinancial
Mental HealthExternal interpersonal relationshipsAdequate amount of sleepRedundancy support
Motivation levelsBereavementHealthy dietDebt management
Engagement levelsInternal interpersonal relationshipsRegular exerciseRetirement planning
A medical conditionFinancial planning
InjuriesSalary reviews

 

Psychological

Mental health – Arguably the most important type of health, our brain is the CEO of our body. If it’s not in good condition, there can be dire consequences for the person and the people around them, including their colleagues and managers.

Motivation levels – If an employee isn’t motivated to do their job anymore or has lost motivation for other things outside their job that, in turn, affects their work performance, it can lead to negative consequences for their employer.

Engagement levels – Employee engagement is a vital part of productivity at work. The more engaged a staff member is at work, the more likely they are to perform at a higher level.

Social

External interpersonal relationships – These are the relationships an employee has outside of work. To avoid being overbearing, we’ll focus on immediate connections such as spouses, parents and children.

As part of a wellbeing strategy, employees should be encouraged to not let work come between building and maintaining healthy relationships with their immediate circle. For example, managers can encourage staff to leave work at 5 pm so they can spend time with their loved ones.

Bereavement – Death is the worst part of life. Unfortunately, losing someone we love is something we will all likely have to experience at some point. It’s important that, if or when this happens, employers put initiatives in place to support staff as they’re dealing with their grief.

Internal personal relationships – Staff have to work together to get things done at work, so having healthy working relationships with their colleagues is vital to their wellbeing.

Physical

Adequate sleep Sleep is vital to a healthy mind and body. No matter how powerful we may feel, our body and mind need enough time to rest and recover. As part of an effective employee wellbeing programme, employers need to do their best to ensure that their staff are getting enough sleep, for instance, not pushing them to work into the night and expecting them to start work early the next day on a consistent basis.

Healthy nutrition – Similar to working towards a goal, when it comes to food, what we put in (our bodies) is what we get out. Poor nutrition can lead to poor performance at work. An employee wellbeing programme can alleviate this by providing fresh fruit in the office or offering discounts at stores that provide healthy food options.

Regular exercise – Exercising regularly has a long list of benefits, including reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and dementia. A healthy mind leads to a healthy body, which leads to a more productive employee.

A medical condition – Whether existing or something that developed whilst working for the company, a medical condition — depending on the type and severity — can affect an employee’s ability to do their job. This is something that should be considered when building an employee wellbeing strategy because the employer may need to make adjustments when taking their condition into account.

For example, if a staff member is in a wheelchair, the office (if they need to visit it) needs to meet the necessary accessibility requirements so that they can move around the office without any difficulty. If this isn’t possible, then remote working should be an option.

Injuries – Physical injuries can have a negative effect on an employee’s level of performance. If an employee is injured outside of work, they should be given the correct amount of time to recover from an injury.

Financial

Redundancy support – No employer ever wants to do this, however, sometimes it’s the only option to keep the business afloat. How an employee leaves a business is equally as important as how they arrive. An often forgotten consideration of a wellbeing strategy is support for employees that are made redundant. Redundancy can be a traumatic event for many people. Supporting them adequately can make it a little easier for them.

Debt management – If a person is in any type of financial difficulty, it can have a huge impact on other aspects of their life. Constantly worrying about money can cause an employee to lose focus on their job and become disengaged. An employee wellbeing strategy (if the data supports it) should contain a debt management initiative to prevent employees from getting into debt as well as helping them get out of it.

Retirement planning – The future is an important thing for most people. Helping with retirement planning can help to give employees peace of mind knowing that their future is in a good place financially. This can consist of healthy pension contributions and access to financial advice that is geared towards retirement.

Financial planning – Money is an important part of life. The better a handle someone has on their money, the better their wellbeing overall is likely to be. Supporting employees with their financial planning can help motivate them to make smarter decisions for a more comfortable, stress-free future.

Salary reviews – Financial compensation is a way for employers to express appreciation to their employees. An increase in salary based on performance can be a boost to an employee’s wellbeing.

Many of these factors are related and will have an effect on one another. For example, if an employee is having trouble financially, it’s likely to have a negative impact on their mental health, which can affect their desire to eat healthily and exercise, further impacting their psyche.

This can create a vicious negative cycle. However, thankfully, the opposite is also true. A more positive example is if an employee’s mental health is in a good place, it’s more likely that they will be able to better manage their diet and finances, which provides a feedback loop to good mental health.

As we’ll see later, an effective employee wellbeing strategy should take all of the different types of wellbeing into account.

The Value of Employee Wellbeing

The common phrase ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ is apt when talking about the value of employee wellbeing. Even the best world-class employee won’t be able to perform well at work if they aren’t in a good physical, psychological and financial state.

If an employer wants their employees to pour into the company’s cup in the form of productivity, they will need to help fill it themselves first. If they do, the return on investment can be huge in the form of the following benefits.

The Benefits of an Employee Wellbeing Strategy

Below are the key benefits of having an effective wellbeing strategy.

Increased Productivity

Productivity is often a key metric of success for many employees. Happy employees are more productive. So, an effective wellbeing strategy can contribute to an uptick in overall company performance by increasing happiness levels.

Investing in the wellbeing of employees can have a significant return on investment in the form of long-term, sustained high levels of productivity.

More Effective Acquisition & Retention

Hiring is one of the most difficult sets of decisions a business has to make. If they get it right, it could cause a huge uptick in performance and push them closer to achieving their objectives. However, if they get it wrong, it could severely damage the viability of the business and result in a decrease in market share, revenues and profits.

Employees are also representatives of their employers, so if they behave in a detrimental manner either at work or outside of it the footage could be easily shared, damaging the brand perception of a company. This could potentially lead to a loss of market share, a reduction in profits and/or a need to make other staff redundant.

Therefore, anything that can be done to make hiring easier could save a company a significant amount of money. Investing in staff wellbeing is one thing that can be done to make this happen.

Once the staff member is onboarded, the next challenge is keeping them around long term. It’s not unusual for employees to get offers of interviews from other organisations during their time with their present employers.

Competition in today’s market is fierce. Employees need a multitude of good reasons to stick around for the long haul. Feeling as though they are psychologically, physically and financially rewarded by their employers goes a long way to fending off approaches from competitors.

From a financial standpoint, replacing employees is expensive. Retention is the most cost-effective solution to human resource management issues. Hiring great people and making it hard to leave will have a huge positive impact on business finances.

The benefits of using tech for employee retention Infographic

Enhanced Employer Brand

If staff members are in a good place holistically as a direct or indirect result of their job, they are likely to happily share this news with either their peers in person or to strangers online. This can help to enhance the company’s reputation as a great place to work, which can also make the recruitment process easier.

The more people that want to work for a brand strengthens its position, as it can choose from higher-quality candidates. Also, it can save a company money in recruitment marketing costs as it can simply put a job ad on its marketing channels instead of paying for a place on any number of job boards.

Positive Customer Perception

If a company prioritises the wellbeing of its staff, leading to a positive working environment, this will start to rub off on the customers. Happy, engaged employees are more likely to give a higher level of personalised customer service. As a result, customers are more likely to be loyal to the brand, spend more money with the brand and, eventually, become an evangelist for the brand.

Despite the billions spent annually by companies on various forms of marketing and advertising, arguably the most effective form of marketing is a recommendation from someone in your circle who you trust. This is also known as a form of social proof. People tend to respond better to word-of-mouth than ad campaigns because they believe the claims that are made are more genuine.

A Proactive Approach Prevents Problems from Arising

An effective employee wellbeing strategy can prevent problems with employees from ever occurring in the first place.

Conflict resolution in the workplace can be difficult at the best of times. Taking a proactive approach and creating conditions where conflict is minimised is more effective than trying to solve things when the situation worsens. As we like to say, an employee wellbeing strategy prevents molehills from becoming mountains and prevents embers from becoming infernos.

What is an Employee Wellbeing Strategy?

An employee wellbeing strategy is a set of clear, measurable, joined-up actions that are solely geared towards incrementally improving the wellbeing of employees. Any effective employee wellbeing strategy should be completely integrated with the overall business strategy of an organisation in order for it to achieve its full potential. If it’s siloed from the rest of the business, it won’t be as effective.

The Stages of an Employee Wellbeing Strategy

Below we’ve broken down the different stages of an employee wellbeing strategy.

Employee Insights

Before embarking on building a strategy, an employer must get accurate insights from the people who the strategy is for: the employees. It enables more informed decision-making, which enhances the relevance and quality of the strategy. Going in blind, on the other hand, can be a danger.

Data gathered from staff via employee engagement platforms such as Trickle are an invaluable asset at every stage of the strategy.

Real-time insights are crucial to ensure that the strategy doesn’t lose steam over time. Even negative feedback from employees, whether it’s labelled or anonymous, must be embraced to achieve success.

Anything to do with the company should at the very least include the opinions of the employees. Managers may end up making a decision that goes against the viewpoints of their staff, but as long as they clearly communicate their reasoning and acknowledge the feedback it can still be a positive mood.

Staff don’t always expect what they ask for to be implemented. However, they will always appreciate their opinion being taken into consideration when decisions are made.

It would be easy for us to tell you what we think you should put in the strategy, but that would be disingenuous of us. No two strategies look the same, no matter how similar the company. Our advice is to use our platform to gain the insights you need and have an open conversation at every stage of the process. We’ve outlined the sequential process below to help keep you on the right path:

Trial Run

This is where there is a short period of time where the employer implements what they believe is the most effective strategy based on the data they receive. During this period, it’s important not to be disheartened if things don’t work as well as you’d hoped. It’s early stages, and working out the kinks is to be expected.

Employee Feedback

After this period, there should be a stage where everyone involved steps back and reviews the experience. Honest feedback is vital at this point, as any data that is gathered from this stage will form the building blocks of the first version of the employee wellbeing strategy.

Implementation Using Feedback

After the feedback from the trial run is gathered and analysed, it’s now time to begin implementing the strategy. Use the employee feedback from the previous stage to guide your actions. If you feel your strategy is large in scale it may be a good idea to introduce segments of it in stages.

Start with what is most important to your staff (employee insights) and begin to work your way through from there. A specific end can be a good target but try not to rush the process, push the date back if necessary, it’s better the strategy is introduced properly than quickly. Staff are likely to be more forgiving of delays if they can see tangible progress being made.

Repeat

Regular communication between employer and employees is required whether it’s monthly, quarterly or any other regular period of time. Whenever this happens, employees will give feedback on what’s working and what’s not working. Over time, things will change, so the strategy will need to be tweaked regularly. An employee wellbeing strategy is a constant commitment — there is no designated ‘endpoint’.

Improve your Employee Wellbeing Policy With Trickle

Now that you know the incredible value of an employee wellbeing strategy, it’s time to get started on your own. The first step in that process is engaging your employees by getting their thoughts on what that should look like with Trickle.

You can get real-time insights from your employees, empower them to use their voice to enact positive change and celebrate great performances or company successes. We can help you to power your employee wellbeing strategy.

The return on investment can be massive for everyone involved.

Click the link below to get your free demo today.

Stay in the know!

We produce a monthly Newsletter about all things HR and People Engagement.

To subscribe to our Newsletter, simply fill out your information.