Prioritising your talent: data-driven insights for promoting employee wellbeing

ByHanover Team
Posting date: 17 September 2021

As the UK emerges from the shadow of COVID-19, another pandemic is stealthily making its way through the workplace: poor wellbeing and mental health.

While employee wellbeing has been long-discussed, the last 12 months have acted as a catalyst for putting it on the corporate agenda. In fact, 2021 data reveals that 75% of employees believe that senior leaders have employee wellbeing in mind, up from 61% in 2020. But will this focus recede as the world gradually returns to its pre-pandemic pace?

To ensure a productive, effective and streamlined workplace, leaders must champion positive wellbeing in all employees. It’s possible to collect, curate and consider employee data, using it to educate the entire workplace on how investing in their own accountability can help promote wellbeing.

The days of annual surveys are dead - once-yearly feedback forms are wholly inadequate, particularly in a post-pandemic age of ultra-connectedness and reduced facetime.

In this article, I look at why employee wellbeing is important, the main factors affecting employee wellbeing, how to assess it, and what both organisations, leaders and employees themselves can do to promote and support it.

Why is employee wellbeing important?

The answer is pretty obvious - looking at it from a leader’s point of view, employees who are mentally healthy are more likely to be high performing individuals who are committed to their role, productive and effective. Their high morale can also have a positive knock-on effect on their colleagues.

Conversely, employees whose wellbeing isn’t prioritised might be less productive and positive, and more prone to absenteeism. These factors materially affect your turnover.

There are also very real benefits to employees when an organisation focuses on their wellbeing. Studies have shown that they tend to be physically healthier and have lower health risks.

What affects employee wellbeing?

In the workplace, there are myriad factors that affect employee wellbeing, including a lack of control over their work, the number of hours they work, imbalance between their work and home lives, salary, career development (or rather lack of), negative relationships in the workplace, how valued they feel, and how much their employer values ethical standards, such as CSR and diversity & inclusion.

But perhaps the more interesting question for leaders right now is how to assess employee wellbeing, and then what to do with that data and information to ensure a strong sense of wellbeing across the organisation.

How to assess employee wellbeing

There are many factors that come into play when assessing employee wellbeing, which depend on whether wellbeing is reviewed on an individual or group basis. This large variation of factors can, however, be broadly separated into the following three areas:

1. Psychological health
2. Job satisfaction
3. Workload

With each of these elements of employee wellbeing come smaller facets, which I explore briefly below.

1. Psychological health

In this category, the topics of resilience, positive outlook, and physical health should be considered. In order to determine these, consider the following questions:

  • How resilient is this person or group dynamic? 

  • Are there genetic factors that come into play in terms of individuals? 

  • Are employees experiencing any physical symptoms of stress and anxiety?

2. Job satisfaction

In terms of job satisfaction, things like engagement, supportive colleagues, and supervision are essential. You can obtain invaluable information about employee opinions about these by asking these questions:

  • Is there enough support being provided by managers and colleagues? 

  • Do they feel motivated to undertake tasks and fulfil their role? 

  • Are they likely to use discretionary effort? 

3. Workload

Workload is a key consideration, and is entirely self-explanatory in terms of what it might mean for employee wellbeing. Relevant questions could include:

  • Does the employee feel overworked? 

  • Does the employee feel like they have enough time to complete tasks? 

What can organisations do to promote & support employee wellbeing?

Whilst it’s understandable (and likely) that both organisations and individuals are growing tired of discussing the effects of the pandemic, an unprecedented event makes for unprecedented impact. In response to the working changes brought about by the pandemic, there has been a welcome increase of investments made into employee wellbeing across the board, with additional measures such as flexible working, comprehensive risk assessments, extra benefits, and better support.

The data you can gather on employee wellbeing, such as through the EWQ (Employee Wellbeing Questionnaire) I use with my clients, provides you with actionable information you can use to start implementing change and further promote wellbeing.

Of course, what these changes are will depend on what the data tells you about your organisation, but they could include:

  • Implementing more effective communication channels
  • Providing recognition
  • Encouraging personal development
  • Flexible working
  • Promoting self-care
  • Raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing
  • Facilitating a positive work/life balance
  • Training for both leaders and employees on how to recognise mental health issues

It goes without saying that leaders have a critical role to play in creating an environment that people can thrive in. But the onus isn’t just on you (and if it is, that can affect your wellbeing, too). Everyone should hold some accountability for their own wellbeing, for example by asking for help when they need it and leading generally healthy lifestyles - and they should be encouraged to look out for their colleagues (including leaders), too.

Ultimately, to assess what your workforce wellbeing currently looks like and take tangible action, you need data. The Hanover Employee Wellbeing Questionnaire can provide invaluable insights into where your workplace is at in terms of mental and physical wellbeing, with tailored options for both individual and group scenarios. This latest addition to our workplace toolkit will help you take the first steps in recognising wellbeing issues and understanding what you can do to promote and support wellbeing in your workplace.

How can you prioritise employee wellbeing within your organisation?

Discover the playbook for nurturing a thriving team by learning about Hanover’s leadership solutions. Or explore our online wellbeing event to uncover actionable insights on prioritizing employee well-being and cultivating high-performance cultures, tailored by Hanover's expertise to elevate your organization's success.

Want to speak to a member of the team? Contact us to start a conversation.

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