The Awareness Increase Of Employee Well Being In The Workplace
The challenges and changes to our lives from the pandemic meant employee wellness was thrown to the forefront of individuals, leaders and organisations minds.
The aftermath is a recognition that wellbeing and employee wellness should be prioritised, but our recent research with HR leaders suggests there is a distinct lack of workplace wellbeing programs making a tangible difference to key challenges organisations are experiencing.
Organisation Challenges Impacted By Employee Wellness
Our research indicates the following key challenges, these likely won’t come as a surprise:
Absenteeism and illness
Productivity and engagement
Key staff retention
Team culture and morale (impacted by hybrid working)
Coping with change
Lastly, the distinction between coping with everyday challenges and mental health problems.
There is no doubt, mental health problems need support, and urgently.
However, with a lack of mental strength and resilience, the normal stresses from the challenges and opportunities of everyday work life impact us more than they perhaps would if we had a robust mental resilience foundation.
This means coping with stress is more challenging, resulting in being more easily overwhelmed and flummoxed. This inability to cope with the ‘normal’ stresses can be written off as mental health problems or lead to problems occurring.
The observation here is that many people lack this essential foundation, perhaps due to overload, or never being taught the necessary skills, or the lack of application.
Why Prioritise Employee Wellness?
No matter our role or path we choose, our brain and mind are our greatest tool to thrive.
Yet, we’re never taught how it works, how to optimise it, or how to look after it.
Developing skill and knowledge aren’t enough. It’s our mental fitness that determines how effectively individuals execute their skill and knowledge.
You can’t drive a car without fuel.
Fuel is employee wellness, their mental fitness; focus, motivation, confidence, empathy and resilience.
The Challenge With Traditional Workplace Wellbeing Programs
Employee Assistance Programmes are essential but not enough.
Traditional workplace wellbeing programs like EAPS, mental health first aiders and therapy access are primarily reactive, waiting until there’s a problem to find a solution.
This is like waiting until your car breaks down to service it!
Reactive workplace wellbeing programs are essential to helping people in crisis, to signpost a helpful next step.
However, they don’t address the majority of the workforce who aren’t in crisis, but aren’t working to their potential because of key employee wellness and mental fitness challenges.
Key Employee Wellness Challenges
Easily distracted and procrastinate from important tasks, particularly those that that don’t
have a deadline or reward/quick win attached. Many we spoke to in our workplace wellbeing programs research reported that they didn’t feel confident where they should be focusing their time or what they should be doing.
Feeling deflated when things go wrong, mistakes often lead to a confidence hit.
Caught in limiting beliefs that stop you taking action or stepping out of your comfort zone.
Tough conversations needed to work effectively, communicate challenges and solutions are put off or deferred to managers. This results in unresolved issues impacting relationships and motivation.
Money isn’t enough – once money is off the table, individuals want to have a purpose a ‘why’ that drives them, clearly understand
what ‘bigger picture’ they are contributing towards and want to continue their development to master their craft.
Work/ Life balance:
Unable to mentally switch off from work and feel ‘always on’ has led to many feeling disconnected and not fully present in their home life.
Particularly working remotely, or in global organisations, there’s a pressure to work beyond contracted hours or respond immediately to messages/emails.
If these are the key challenges, and traditional reactive workplace wellbeing programs aren’t helping, then what would?
A Proactive Approach To Employee Wellness
Specifically, mental fitness and personal effectiveness. There needs to be a distinction between mental health support and proactive mental fitness.
Equipping individuals with a ‘way of working’ that helped them unlock their potential and lead more resilient, confident and happy lives.
Our research into workplace wellbeing programs with HR leaders gave us 5 key elements that a proactive approach to employee wellness (mental fitness and personal effectiveness) should cover:
Bitesize live learning
Ongoing Implementation Support (to build helpful habits)