Why you need to rethink your wellbeing strategy to make workplace wellness last
Today is Blue Monday—so-dubbed for being the ‘most depressing day of the year.’
For many businesses, this means launching one-off initiatives or circulating timeworn tips on how to promote good mental health.
The benefits of investing in employee wellbeing are well-documented. Besides improved employee engagement, productivity, and retention, evidence also shows it can increase the bottom line.
But employees are often critical of wellbeing programmes—if not, their promotion. At times, a tone of leaping aboard the ‘branding opportunity bandwagon’ seeps through.
Even the mental health charity Mind has been critical of Blue Monday.
In an alternative #BlueAnyDay campaign, the charity sends the message that Blue Monday may be trivialising serious mental illnesses that many people suffer from on a daily basis.
What should you do instead?
To create a wellbeing programme that works, organisations need to move away from ad hoc workplace wellness activities.
Instead, they should embed wellbeing as a part of their culture. 🌱
To reap the business benefits of a strong wellbeing strategy, organisations need to focus on long-term impact and evolve their approach over time.
Here’s the effective 5-step framework you need to make workplace wellness last.
1. Foster psychological safety
Research Advisor at the CIPD, Louisa Baczor, describes psychological safety in the workplace as “employees’ feelings about taking risks and sharing thoughts with others in the organisation, and it provides a bedrock for employee voice.”
Without psychological safety at work, employees may not raise important issues, concerns, or potential solutions to problems at work. 🤐
Feeling uncertain about how feedback will be received, employees will remain silent.
One way to remove this barrier to employee voice is through confidential employee surveying.
An intelligent surveying platform like Hive can help you create these conditions, so that employees can offer honest opinions, ideas or feedback.
By understanding how employees really think and feel at work, you’ll be in a better position to evaluate the effectiveness of your wellbeing strategy.
And that will put you a big step closer to achieving your organisational goals!
2. Engage employees in the planning process
To support individual employee wellness you need to know what makes people happy at work. Of course, this can be radically different from individual to individual!
For instance, working parents may desire greater flexibility to support their sustained happiness and wellbeing.
In contrast, financial planning may be a benefit more sought-after by millennials.
Fortunately, you can uncover the unique drivers of wellness at your organisation through employee surveys!
People will appreciate the opportunity to feed into your strategy.
With their insights, you’ll be able to better match employee benefits and wellness programmes for greater impact.
What’s more, you’ll have a fantastic segway for launching personal wellness plans—giving employees a greater sense of ownership; and demonstrating your organisation is taking proactive steps to prevent burnout.
3. Seek continual feedback; keep your offerings fresh
The world of work is evolving. Your wellbeing strategy should evolve too!
Don’t just ‘set it and forget it.’ 🚫🖐️
Seeking feedback regularly can alert you to emerging health and wellbeing needs.
Timely employee insights will enable you to adapt quickly. This way, you ensure your offering remains relevant and meaningful to your people.
Whereas temporary employee wellbeing initiatives and one-off surveys are likely to deliver in-kind results, an ongoing approach supports long-term success.
By gathering ongoing feedback, you’ll ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of your total approach to workplace wellness.
4. Communicate action-plans (or lack thereof) clearly
Once you’ve gathered employee feedback to improve your wellbeing strategy, it’s crucial to communicate how you are actioning that feedback.
Otherwise, employees may suffer survey fatigue or lose motivation to share their ideas and feedback in future.
Even if no changes will be made, explaining why that is and reinforcing the value of employee feedback is vital. 🗣️
People will create their own stories, believe they have not been listened to, and feel disengaged if their feedback is met by radio silence.
Communicating action-plans (or lack thereof) affirms the value of employee feedback.
Your transparency will build trust and ensure employees are motivated to participate in your next survey (and the one after that, and the one after that…).
5. Measure & adapt for maximum impact
Say it with me now: ‘You can’t improve what you don’t measure.’ 📣
Without analysing changes over time, you won’t be able to tell if your wellbeing strategy is working.
Surveys can help you to measure employee sentiment toward your wellbeing strategy and identify trends to improve it further.
Seeing how different wellbeing initiatives are being received on an individual and collective basis can inform positive changes.
With more frequent employee surveys, you’ll also gather useful data to build a strong business case for wellbeing at your organisation! 📊
Why wait for an awareness day to enact change?
Blue Monday reminds organisations to start conversations and introduce programmes for educating, understanding, and supporting mental health at work.
But if you’re serious about employee health and wellbeing, why wait for an awareness day to enact change?
Frequently surveying employees is an easy, effective, and sustainable way to help you make workplace wellness last.
Avoid making the mistake of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to workplace wellness by connecting with your people. Book a Hive intro today to dig even deeper!
If you’re in the North East of England, join Hive’s Lead People Scientist, Jen Southern for an interactive workshop on the foundations of wellbeing in the workplace.
You’ll leave with practical techniques and takeaways on how to measure wellbeing through effective employee surveying. Here’s the deets!👇
Can't make it? 😔
You can also connect with Jen on LinkedIn. 🙋♀️
Want to boost your happiness right now?
Click here for 7 science-backed ways to feel happy at work! 👈
Mikaila is the Marketing Exec. for Hive HR, handling all-things events, social media, and awards. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and writing; mostly in the subjects of philosophy and spirituality. (More amusingly, she once walked 9km to an airport in order to save on cab fare—securing the informal office title of “The Cheapest Woman Alive.”) Connect with Mikaila on LinkedIn