Well-Being in the Workplace

Mamta Chaurdia

June 21, 2022

In the middle of the Great Resignation crisis, employers and well-being officers can reduce attrition and attract talent by putting their best foot forward in the areas that matter most today—employee well-being and health.

Many of us have spent the last couple of years trying to figure out how to re-assimilate back into this new normal that has resulted from the pandemic. The lion’s share of this responsibility sits squarely with enterprises to make a cultural shift towards giving employee well-being a higher spot on that list of priorities.

Enterprises that have otherwise been front runners during job fairs and job searches are now also being looked at under the lens of “But what do you do towards people well-being?”

This is where companies and leadership need to stretch their approach from just employee wellness to full-spectrum well-being. And by the way, this only works when it is being visualized, advocated and executed from leadership down to each team and individual within the organization. If there ever was a self-fulfilling prophecy that can be achieved by leading from the front, this is it!

Let’s start with the difference between wellness and well-being. Wellness is typically associated with a state of good physical health, or at least being devoid of illness. To achieve this, the focus is generally on good nutrition, physical activity, quality of sleep, and sufficient water intake. And all of that is important—but it’s not enough! It’s just a starting place.

Well-being on the other hand refers to an overall and complete state of flourishing and living a good life.

Enterprises thus far have recognized the need for and invested in the former by incentivizing individuals to meet specific fitness goals or stay within an established range of physiological standards. The shift we’ve seen in the last couple of years has shone the light on enterprises and leadership putting their focus on a more holistic view of well-being, so that all aspects of their people are considered. Employees have implicitly stated their needs by way of the large turnover rates, which show that many people are no longer willing to settle for a job that does not take into account their well-being and safety.

Surveys done by the Gallup Panel in 2020 indicate that since the pandemic started, no more than 52% have strongly agreed that their organization cares about their overall wellbeing, and this was down to 46% in mid-July.

Why should employers care about this?

Simply put—to care about your employees’ well-being is to care about the well-being and success of your enterprise as a whole. One cannot exist without the other.

Thriving employees are able to give their best to their work and are in the best position to represent your enterprise in a positive light. Employees with poor well-being simply cannot serve customers as well as those who are thriving. Low well-being employees are less productive, less efficient, and less innovative. They also cost more to insure, are more likely to be absent, and create a more negative bias.

One of the most important discoveries made by Gallup via a study done over the last decade is the “Well-Being – Engagement Paradox”. Studies have shown that employee engagement in the workplace and well-being are reciprocal – each impacts the state of the other. They are also additive, meaning each contributes to the mindset and performance outcomes of employees. For individuals to thrive in the workplace, both engagement and well-being must exist side by side. To create a happier, highly productive, and more effective workforce, a leadership-driven holistic approach needs to be adopted, one that extends beyond health insurance discounts, incentivizing programs, and workplace flexibility.

SO what can be done for well-being in the workplace to drive this change, you ask? Here are a few ideas –

1. Make comprehensive well-being your business imperative

Focusing on the whole-person needs to become the norm in the way enterprises think about well-being.

The wowe wheel defines this with six key aspects that are essential to thriving: - Physical well-being: Your body, physical health and wellness, and energy level - Emotional well-being: Your relationship with yourself and your internal resources - Relationships: You and how you relate to the other people in your life - Environment: Where you live — your home, your community, and your "happy place" - Passion: What most gives your life purpose and meaning - Transcendence: Your values and beliefs, and how you contribute to the well-being of others

Employees that are supported and fulfilled in their whole-person well-being are the ones that can bring that positive energy and productivity to work as well. Conversely, employees struggling with their well-being will inevitably bring that struggle into the workplace as well. All six of these dimensions affect one another and what happens in the workplace affects every one of them too.

Enterprise well-being initiatives must be comprehensive to supercharge and reap the benefits across all six of these dimensions to see sustained success!

2. Be vocal and transparent about your company’s well-being offerings

Well-being is one of the biggest concerns and needs of employees today. The presence of a strong workplace well-being program has become an important differentiator for talent acquisition. Leadership buy-in and participation in these programs is a leading factor in their success; leaders who model this through example are best positioned to authentically share their own experiences and struggles to create a culture of transparency and trust.

The first step is to create a program that supports all aspects of your employee's well-being. The essential next step is to ensure that people at your organization know that it exists! Research done by Gallup has shown that only 60% of US employees are aware that their company offers a wellness program and only 40% of those who are aware participate in it. These metrics can be changed if leaders are vocal about the value of the programs being offered, how they are using these, and actively promote and advocate for their employees to use them.

In the 2022 Deloitte study, 72% of the workers at organizations whose executives were transparent about well-being rated their own well-being as above average, compared with just 57% of workers at organizations with less-transparent executives.

How can wowe help with this?

Our team of well-being ambassadors curates and creates webinars that we provide quarterly for employers and teams to participate in. This helps create a culture of well-being by creating space for well-being conversations to be nurtured and cultivated amongst leadership and their teams.

3. Embed it into your culture consistently and intentionally

The relationship between an employee's well-being and their performance, engagement, and productivity is directly proportional. As a result, for employers, the costs of poor employee well-being go far beyond insurance. An occasional “mental health day” is not a sufficient fix to solve this, especially in our new normal, where people need more leadership support and social connection rather than less. Well-being needs to be added to the conversation, prioritized, and measured on an ongoing basis. Make it part of your written policies, growth strategy, and success metrics.

Only when well-being is measured quantitatively, can you as an organization look to improve in the areas of concern and proactively address those.

wowe provides a quantitative measure of the well-being of your teams so that you can observe the key trends of the well-being activities and habits that are being formed within the enterprise. Taking action on well-being shows that you care about your employees and builds trust not only internally but also amongst your external stakeholders and investors.

If you are ready to take this journey and transform the well-being culture at your organization, connect with us at demo@wowe.app to find out how we can take you from well to wowe!

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