The Power of Prioritizing Employee Wellbeing: How It Impacts Organizational Performance & Engagement
In today's fast-paced work environment, it can be easy to forget the importance of employee wellbeing. However, research has shown that prioritizing employee wellbeing is crucial for organizational performance and engagement. Employees who feel that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing are more likely to be engaged, less likely to actively search for a new job, less likely to experience burnout, more likely to advocate for their company, more likely to trust their leadership, and more likely to thrive in their overall lives.
In this article, I will explore the importance of employee wellbeing and provide specific examples of how organizations can prioritize it.
The Research in Employee Well-Being
According to a recent Gallup study, employees who strongly agree that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing are more likely to be engaged, less likely to actively search for a new job, less likely to experience burnout, more likely to advocate for their company, more likely to trust their leadership, and more likely to thrive in their overall lives. Let's break down each of these points and explore why they matter.
Firstly, employees who feel that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing are three times more likely to be engaged at work. Engaged employees are those who are emotionally invested in their work and are motivated to perform at their best. They are more productive, provide better customer service, and are more likely to stay with their employer for the long term. By prioritizing employee wellbeing, organizations can create a more engaged workforce and reap the benefits of increased performance and retention.
Secondly, employees who feel that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing are 69% less likely to actively search for a new job. Employee turnover can be costly for organizations, both in terms of time and money. By fostering a culture of wellbeing, employers can increase employee satisfaction and reduce the likelihood of turnover.
Thirdly, employees who feel that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing are 71% less likely to report experiencing a lot of burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. Burnout can lead to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and decreased job satisfaction. By prioritizing employee wellbeing, employers can reduce the incidence of burnout and create a healthier, more productive workforce.
Fourthly, employees who feel that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing are five times more likely to strongly advocate for their company as a place to work. Employee advocacy is a powerful tool for recruitment and retention. When employees are happy and engaged, they are more likely to recommend their employer to others and to stay with their organization for the long term.
Fifthly, employees who feel that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing are five times more likely to strongly agree that they trust the leadership of their organization. Trust is a crucial component of effective leadership. When employees trust their leaders, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated to perform at their best. By prioritizing employee wellbeing, leaders can build trust with their teams and create a more cohesive and effective organization.
Finally, employees who feel that their employer cares about their overall wellbeing are 36% more likely to be thriving in their overall lives. Thriving employees are those who are not just surviving, but are flourishing in their personal and professional lives. By prioritizing employee wellbeing, employers can create a more fulfilling and meaningful workplace that supports the overall wellbeing of their employees.
Specific Ways Organizations Can Prioritize Employee Wellbeing
There are several ways organizations can prioritize employee wellbeing. Here are a few examples:
Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting, flexible schedules, and job sharing can help employees better manage their work-life balance and reduce stress.
Wellness Programs: Implementing wellness programs that promote healthy lifestyle choices, stress management techniques, and mental health support can help employees prioritize their overall wellbeing.
Workload Management: Ensuring that employees have manageable workloads and clear expectations can help reduce stress and prevent burnout.
Recognition and Rewards: Recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work and contributions can help boost morale and increase job satisfaction.
Professional Development: Offering professional development opportunities such as training, mentoring, and coaching can help employees feel valued and supported in their professional growth.
These are just a few examples of the ways organizations can prioritize employee wellbeing. It's important to note that every organization is unique and may require different strategies to foster a culture of wellbeing. It's crucial to listen to employees' feedback and needs and to create a supportive environment that prioritizes their overall wellbeing.
Gathering Feedback from Employees about Their Wellbeing Needs
Gathering feedback from employees about their wellbeing needs is an important step in prioritizing their overall wellbeing. Here are a few ways organizations can gather feedback:
Employee Surveys: Conducting employee surveys can provide valuable insights into employees' perceptions of their overall wellbeing and the effectiveness of current wellbeing programs.
Focus Groups: Organizing focus groups with employees can provide a more in-depth understanding of their needs and concerns regarding their overall wellbeing.
One-on-One Meetings: Meeting with employees one-on-one can provide an opportunity for employees to share their feedback in a more personalized and confidential setting.
Suggestion Boxes: Implementing suggestion boxes or an online suggestion platform can allow employees to provide anonymous feedback on their overall wellbeing needs.
Exit Interviews: Conducting exit interviews with departing employees can provide insights into areas where the organization may need to improve its wellbeing initiatives.
By gathering feedback from employees, organizations can better understand their needs and concerns regarding their overall wellbeing and tailor their initiatives accordingly. It's important to create a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their feedback. As leaders and HR professionals, it's our responsibility to actively listen to our employees and take action to address their concerns and needs.
Steps Organizations Can Take to Address the Concerns and Needs Expressed by Employees
Organizations should take the following steps to address the concerns and needs expressed by employees:
Analyze the Feedback: The first step is to analyze the feedback gathered from employees to identify common themes and concerns. This analysis can help organizations understand the root causes of the issues and develop tailored solutions.
Develop a Plan: Based on the analysis of the feedback, organizations should develop a plan to address the concerns and needs expressed by employees. This plan should prioritize the most pressing issues and outline specific actions that the organization will take to address them.
Communicate the Plan: Once the plan has been developed, it's important to communicate it to employees. This communication should be transparent, clear, and actionable. Employees should understand what actions the organization will take to address their concerns and how they can participate in the process.
Implement the Plan: The next step is to implement the plan. This may involve changes to policies, procedures, or programs. It's important to involve employees in the implementation process to ensure that the solutions are effective and meet their needs.
Monitor and Evaluate: Finally, organizations should monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the solutions implemented. This evaluation should include feedback from employees and data on the impact of the changes. Organizations should be willing to make adjustments as needed to ensure that the solutions are effective and sustainable.
By taking these steps, organizations can address the concerns and needs expressed by employees and create a culture that prioritizes their overall wellbeing. As organizational leaders, it's our responsibility to help organizations develop effective solutions and support the implementation process.
Prioritizing employee wellbeing is crucial for organizational performance and engagement. By caring for their employees' overall wellbeing, organizations can create a more engaged, productive, and fulfilled workforce. As organizational leaders, it's our responsibility to prioritize employee wellbeing and create a culture that supports the whole person. By gathering feedback from employees and taking action to address their concerns and needs, organizations can create a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace. Let's work together to create a better future for both our organizations and our employees.
Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.