A Culture of Workplace Wellbeing Is Important
Employee wellbeing, engagement and a culture of wellbeing links to important company strengths such as productivity, health and employee retention, a study by Gallup revealed. Experience shows these factors complement affect one another in ways that CEOs, team leaders and managers can influence.
Yet, creating employee wellbeing and engagement in the workplace remains an elusive goal for many employers. A report by BlessingWhite research, “Employee Engagement Report 2011,” indicated that only 31 percent employees in the study were engaged, while 17 percent were actively disengaged (employees who aren’t happy at work and care little for their jobs and employer). The recent global GFC may have negatively influenced the result of the study. However, this study found that more employees considered looking for new jobs than surveys from 2007 through 2009.
Three Types of Employees
- Engaged – These are employees that work with passion, drive and feel a connection to their company. They promote innovation and drive the organization forward.
- Not-Engaged – Employees who are ‘checked out’. They sleepwalk through the workday. They might put time in, but not passion into their tasks.
- Actively Disengaged – These are a minority but they are employees who just aren’t happy with work. They actively act out this unhappiness. They undermine what their accomplished engaged coworker do.
Jim Harter, Ph.D is Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and wellbeing. He believes individual wellbeing has an effect on future employee engagement and changes to employee engagement. “If people had higher wellbeing in year one, they would tend to have higher engagement in year two and a more positive change in engagement in year two,” Harter says. “People that have high individual wellbeing are more likely to see their workplace as positive, productive, and engaging. Conversely, if they are struggling or suffering, it rubs off on the workplace and the team.”
Engaged Employees Are Happy Employees
Employee wellbeing has important implications for productivity and work relationships. Satisfied, passionate and happy employees are more likely to trust their leaders, comply with tasks given, and company rules, provide suggestions to improve the organisation, help co-workers, and work as a team to achieve goals. Such behaviour contributes to a high-performing organisation that is productive and innovative. Therefore, it is not surprising that research has shown that employee wellbeing is associated positively with customer satisfaction.
In a 2012 Gallup survey of 70,000 people around the world, one of the largest contributors to daily experiences of negative emotions was not feeling respected. As a manager, how can you promote wellbeing and employee engagement at your company? It is important to be aware of your employee’s engagement and wellbeing because there is a strong connection between the two. “Small decreases in wellbeing may not seem like much,” says Harter. “But poor wellbeing is strongly related to absenteeism and ‘presenteeism,’ or when people show up to work but aren’t active, effective, and productive.”
If one employee rates her wellbeing as 75 on the wellbeing scale and another worker rates his as 70, the worker with lower wellbeing will have 18.6% higher risk of sleep disorders, 15% higher risk of anxiety or depression 6.3% higher risk of obesity and 0.6 unhealthy days in the past 30 days.
Be aware of your employee’s engagement and wellbeing
As the research showed above, there’s a strong connection between wellbeing and engagement, and that applies to managers as well. Employees may not be aware of all the wellbeing opportunities a company offers. But a manager can encourage employees to get involved in wellbeing activities such as yoga, improved training, motivational rewards and personal development opportunities. This reflects a powerful cascade effect from managers to employees, Harter says, “When managers care about their wellbeing, their team members take a greater interest in their own wellbeing.” This helps to minimise staff turnover and improving employee motivation.
Give employees a platform
A lot of studies are showing that change happens because of our social environment,” Harter says. “Norms are shared in a way that’s contagious, and companies and managers can help set those norms. But the team will carry them forward.”Employees who are engaged and thriving also have greater agility and resilience. “When people are engaged and have thriving wellbeing, their life situations don’t weigh them down and keep them from performing,” Harter says. “They see changes as opportunities, not problems.” Managers who encourage wellbeing and engagement will help their companies reap the benefits in times to come.
The old saying, ‘leave your personal life at home, not at work’, is not entirely realistic. A Gallup analysis shows that your wellbeing has an impact on the people you work with and on the people who work for you. Work/life balances are important in order for your employees to balance their work and personal lives, which makes them happier and more productive. By creating a positive culture of organizational wellbeing for your company, you are encouraging your employees to take pride in their job, and respect their peers.
It is important in today’s workplaces that a company runs smoothly. Do you want to streamline workflow and improve business operations? To run your company successfully your staff should be priority. By promoting wellbeing at your workplace you increases employee work satisfaction, which in turn reduces stress and save times because there is less pressure and high workloads are often a cause of stress.
Provide a Positive Environment
As a manager or leader it is important to provide an environment for your employees to learn. Paul Monsted, managing Director says it’s wise to get them out of the office. “Take your employees to seminars, workshops, somewhere that is an enriching environment. No hard core training.”
Mr Monsted also mentions introducing fringe benefits to your staff such as trips away, gift baskets to aid a positive environment. “They will see the value,” he says.
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