You have probably heard this statistic before, but if you haven’t, it is a real eye-opener.
There is no doubt that happy and healthy employees lead to a more productive workplace. However, when it comes to promoting employee wellbeing as a priority, every company needs a strategy. Do you rely on perception, or do you take a people-insights approach?
Using the terms: data, analytics, and insights when it comes to personal wellbeing can appear to be a juxtaposition. How can a cold and numerical term reflect a vested interest in each employee and how they are faring on an individual level? Throughout this article, we will explore the benefits of taking a data-driven approach to monitoring employee wellbeing. We will also provide tips for implementing this approach in your own business.
What is the definition of employee wellbeing, and how should it be tracked and monitored?
Whilst wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy”, the reality of it extends past this and involves many different facets. This can be defined as any key factors that help develop positive working conditions for individuals, such as their physical health, mental health, social connections with other members of the organisation, as well as outside work roles, financial security, personal growth and personal fulfilment. Conversely, not paying attention to the welfare needs of staff, can have a detrimental impact on the business’s profit margins, staff retention rate, productivity, reputation and more.
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Despite employee wellness programs being around for years, there has been a shift in focus from simply measuring employee health to understanding the underlying drivers. This deeper analysis determines factors that influence an employee’s motivation levels. Analysis of employee motivation is crucial as it reflects how they achieve business objectives. The link between wellbeing, engagement, satisfaction, and productivity is too clear to ignore. A quote from Employeebenefits states “Our recent whitepaper ‘Maximising Your Return on Engagement’ bears this out, showing that a sense of wellbeing produced 31% higher productivity in employees and 59% greater loyalty” [employeebenefits, DVV Media HR]*
Wellbeing needs to be measured holistically, so it can provide employers with data that reflects their staff’s true potential. To track and monitor employee wellbeing effectively, you need to understand what the contributing factors are. Several distinct dimensions contribute to an organisation’s wellness. These dimensions are consistent across many business models, although reworded in various ways, and they are composed of the following:
- Physical health and fitness : Employees who are physically healthy and have a good relationship with exercise are less likely to take sick days and experience more positive moods throughout their day. Whilst a portion of this reverts to personal circumstances, there are ways that employers can support and encourage their employees to care for their physical health. A study conducted found that “Fourteen workplace nutrition and physical activity intervention studies yielded statistically significant changes on absenteeism, work performance, workability, and productivity.” [bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral] This support can range from facilities and programs to health education and resources.
- Emotional health : Employees who feel stressed or unhappy are less productive and have a lower retention rate [bmcpublichealth. biomedcentral]. As a result, employers must strive to create a workplace culture that promotes positive emotions and healthy coping mechanisms. You can set about doing this by providing employees with access to mental health services and resources and training on emotional intelligence.
- Social connectedness : Employees who feel socially connected tend to be more engaged in their work. They are also more likely to have better relationships with their co-workers and managers. This connection may translate into a more collaborative approach when working within a team.
- Financial security : Employees who feel financially secure tend to show a higher level of engagement in their work. Financial security also factors into reducing the crippling effects of stress. Therefore, a business could consider offering their employees financial education programs and resources related to topics, such as budgeting and saving money.
- Work satisfaction : Employees who are satisfied with their jobs display higher productivity and are less likely to leave their positions and company.
The benefits of having a healthy, productive workforce
According to a survey by Pulse of HR, the top issue facing HR experts during 2020 was the health and wellbeing of their employees. Whilst human resource departments are responsible for many different duties, the effectiveness of their work is often judged by how well they can attract, retain and develop people within their organisation. This growth model will help ensure the long-term success of the business.
Through Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions, employers can gain better insight into their workforce. This insight will help them identify challenges facing them today and apply resources in the best way possible to achieve organisational goals. HCM runs on data which means it can also be used to provide these insights into employee wellbeing. These data points create a snapshot view of how employees feel about themselves, their working environment and interact with others. Another area that these data points highlight is what areas of support an employee may need when things get tough at work or outside of it. By gaining a deeper understanding of workplace dynamics, employers encourage the development of a more interconnected, educated, and motivated workforce.