Employee Wellbeing: HR Advice from 4 People Pros [Webinar and Summary]

Wellbeing Webinar Feature

Table of Contents

If employee wellbeing wasn’t already a top priority for organisations before lockdown, it certainly is now. 

HR practitioners everywhere have been forced to take a stumbling step into the unknown. But since there’s strength in numbers, we thought we’d hand-pick a few expert minds from the Hive network to join our Director of People Science, Ryan Tahmassebi, and compare notes on managing employee wellbeing through COVID-19 and beyond.

Read on for our 4 key webinar takeaways or👇 skip straight to the main event for all the tips, insights and methods you could need to support diverse and dispersed teams.

Proactivity beats reactivity

This is true in most circumstances; if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. At the beginning of lockdown, the organisations that struggled least were those that were already in a position to support employee wellbeing in a variety of flexible working setups. Many had predicted that flexible working was going to be the norm in the future anyway—but this pandemic has brought that future into reality.

Any pre-COVID flexible working initiatives have paid serious dividends so far. But even though you may still be settling into remote ways of working, it’s time to start prepping for what’s next—returning your people to the workplace. And the best way to prepare, is to listen to what your people want.

“Make sure your people know where to go to have their say—and feel safe to do so.”

Danielle Ware, Head of People Development & Engagement at The Riverside Group

Be open, honest and authentic

Nobody likes uncertainty. Emotions have been running high since the start of the pandemic, and even though many might now be used to lockdown life, it’s still unnerving. So now’s the time for leaders to connect with their people, not necessarily to tell them everything is going to be okay—because, to be brutally honest, it might not be—but to open up and demonstrate that everyone’s in the same boat. 

Time and time again, the data shows that leaders who are more authentically visible are also more trusted by their people—which leads to greater confidence in the future. This is so vital right now, but it’s always been important, and just one act from a senior leader can have the power to redefine an organisation’s culture.

For example, Siemens’ previous CEO shared his mental health struggles at a leadership conference—and it had a profound effect that trickled down through the business.

“It’s never been more important to make people feel like they’re in it together, as one community.”

Sarah Dewar, Director of People at Connect Health

Embrace the positive change

Everything has changed—but that’s not all bad. The HR function has been thrust into prominence and employee wellbeing is now an even more rapidly broadening subject. There seems to be less of a distinction between an organisation’s responsibilities towards the personal and professional lives of their people—many are incorporating nutrition, exercise and personal circumstances in their duty of care. And the displacement of workforces has also meant more of an onus on managers to support their direct reports’ wellbeing.

Hopefully, this pandemic will represent a lightbulb moment for senior leaders to realise that, even remotely, if they empower their people, they will continue to deliver.

“Use common sense, treat people as humans, and really adopt that people-first culture.”

Neil Bestford, People and Culture Strategist at Authentic

Communication is key

It may seem like we’re constantly advocating for better employee voice channels at Hive, but that’s because they’re needed! And the recent data backs it up.

Since lockdown started, response rates to surveys and other feedback channels have spiked—and organisations who’ve run COVID-related surveys with Hive have seen an average increase in employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) of +23 points because their people have perceived them to be prioritising employee wellbeing. 

So, those who have really given their employees a voice during this time have not only had more insight to drive their decisions, but can also depend on a more engaged and motivated workforce going forward. 

“Keep in regular contact with your team—on both a one-to-one basis and group basis—and really deep-dive into how they're feeling.

James Brown, Head of Health & Wellbeing at Siemens Energy Ltd

Now that you’ve had your teaser, it’s time for the showstopper. So sit back, relax, and absorb some employee wellbeing wisdom…

A big Hive cheers to our speakers

👏  Danielle Ware, Head of People Development & Engagement at The Riverside Group

👏 Sarah Dewar, Director of People at Connect Health

👏 Neil Bestford, People and Culture Strategist at Authentic

👏 James Brown, Head of Health & Wellbeing at Siemens Energy

Keen for more content on employee wellbeing? Check out: 

The Secret Formula to Remote Working [Webinar]

5 Ways to Keep Remote Teams Socially Connected (and Why it Matters)

7 Simple Wellbeing Tips for Working from Home

The Effective 5 Step Framework You Need To Make Workplace Wellness Last

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