In our recent poll on LinkedIn, we found that a shocking 70% of you (at the time of writing) are not collecting data on wellbeing in your organisation.
Although wellbeing as a priority and topic, is by no means a new arrival onto the HR to-do list, the depth and breadth of the topic continues to develop over time. But are we, as HR leaders, missing some of the key information and strategies to really push this wellbeing agenda forward?
Are you struggling to stay on top of the wellbeing agenda in your organisation? Do you find it difficult to get the budget and the buy-in for wellbeing in your organisation? Do you have policies in place that are fit-for-purpose, inclusive, and promote wellbeing for all?
Fear not – we’ve got the expert insights and advice you need, as this month, we highlight these important considerations, showcase the questions you should be asking when crafting your wellbeing strategy, highlight the practicalities of employee well-being, and most importantly, help you as a HR professional and leader, craft and implement strategies, policies, and initiatives to truly embed employee well-being in your organization.
P.S. We’ve also got a very useful webinar coming up on this exact topic, on Wednesday 26th April at 11:15. Register here and get it in the diary!
For now though, let’s read on!
What exactly do we mean by “wellbeing”? Why is it important?
Workplace wellbeing is a critical aspect of modern work culture that emphasises the physical, mental, and emotional health of employees in the workplace. It encompasses a range of factors, including a healthy work environment, work-life balance, supportive leadership, opportunities for growth and development, and employee engagement.
Workplace wellbeing initiatives can include employee wellness programmes, flexible work arrangements, mental health resources, ergonomic workstations, and opportunities for skills development and career advancement. By prioritising workplace wellbeing, organisations foster a positive and inclusive work environment that promotes employee health, happiness, and overall job satisfaction. Ultimately, workplace wellbeing not only benefits employees, but also contributes to the success and sustainability of the organisation as a whole.
But is this reflected in practice? Although we know the benefits of workplace wellbeing, are we crafting the strategies to promote it?
Commenting on the results of the latest Laya Workplace Wellbeing Index, Sinead Proos, Head of Health & Wellbeing at Laya Healthcare said, “Despite emerging out of a once-in-a-generation disruption to working patterns and expectations, 4 in 10 companies don’t have a health and wellbeing strategy, and this falls to 38% for mental health strategy. Our research shows a clear and sustained decline in employee mental health and employers need to take urgent action to provide supports tailored to their needs.”
Although the topic of wellbeing has been spoken about for a long time, the results are clear – there’s so much more to do when it comes to building workplace wellbeing strategies.
So if you haven’t started already, start now.
What do people want?
That’s the short version, but let’s go into a little more detail.
Obtaining feedback and ideas from employees on workplace wellbeing is crucial to creating a healthy and supportive work environment.
- Have you considered conducting regular surveys or questionnaires to assess employees’ thoughts and suggestions on workplace wellness initiatives?
- Do you provide something as simple as anonymous suggestion boxes or feedback portals which can provide a safe space for employees to share their ideas and concerns about workplace wellbeing?
- Importantly, do you encourage one-on-one conversations with employees to discuss their thoughts on workplace wellness and actively listen to and action their feedback?
- Or why not organise focus groups or town hall meetings to discuss workplace wellbeing, which can facilitate candid discussions and generate innovative ideas?
Creating a culture of open communication and actively seeking employee feedback is vital in fostering a positive and healthy work environment. And not just from the supporters, but from the critics too!
Check out some fantastic insights from Sharon Daly, Programme Manager (Health & Wellbeing) at Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, who we speak to in a soon-to-be-released podcast episode about their CIPD award winning wellbeing strategy.
Money is hitting the headlines – should we just look at salaries to solve employee stress?
The Laya Wellbeing Index for 2022 found that 4 of the top 5 causes of employee anxiety and stress related to financial concerns. And with the cost-of-living crisis, inflation and general money worries facing a lot of people in Ireland, it’s easy to understand why. But what can organisations do to relieve some of these stressors, and why should they do it?
So will higher salaries solve it all? Although they will provide some semblance of wellbeing for employees who feel like they deserve a raise, do not rely solely on this when building your wellbeing to-do list.
While competitive reward packages are vital to finding and keeping the pivotal talent that organisations need, experts say that a focus on total wellness will bring greater returns for the organisation beyond retention in the form of enhanced productivity and sustained performance.
And of course, remember that many money worries aren’t caused by lack of money, but a sense of confusion or lack of confidence when it comes to finances. Is providing advice and guidance on finances, the next natural development that many organisations will now include in their strategies?
Paul Merriman, Owner of AskPaul and CEO of Fairstone says, why not? After all, look at the ROI it may bring.
Are you reviewing and reflecting what’s currently available?
Similar to Paul Merriman’s point, are you looking at the simple, low-cost but effective tools and information you can give to your employees?
Along with developments in the breadth of the wellbeing agenda, there has also been positive developments in what wellbeing providers are, well, providing. Taking time to review what’s currently available to you from your partner organisations and benefit suppliers may be a quick, easy and free way to revitalise your wellbeing agenda.
Take this piece of advice from Sinead Proos, Head of Health & Wellbeing at Laya Healthcare, who spoke to us on Episode 87 of The HR Room Podcast.
How does this affect my business?
The cost-of-living crisis, and the war for talent are both still raging on, and many employers are still trying to find the balance between pay, benefits, wellbeing and everything else, in the hopes of retaining and attracting talent.
But are effective and holistic wellbeing strategies one of the key ingredients in tackling all of these issues?
In short, yes. The data is telling us that employees want to work for employers who care about and support their wellbeing.
In PwC’s recent Global Workforce Survey, 60pc of employees consider wellbeing one the most important factors to consider when thinking about a job change. This is supported by another finding from Laya which shows that Work life balance (61%) now ranked on par with salary (60%) when selecting a job role.
But even if employees do stay in your organisation instead of looking elsewhere, think about the effects of negative wellbeing has on things like absenteeism, creativity, productivity and so on. PwC’s recent Employee Financial Wellness Survey identified that 76pc of stressed employees say financial worries have had a negative impact on their productivity.
Louise Shannon, Senior Manager, Reward & Workforce Strategy, at PwC Ireland recently gave us some great insights into the PwC findings here, on episode 112 of The HR Room Podcast.
How do I ensure everyone is included?
The area of wellbeing is far-reaching and thankfully is developing hugely over time. Although there has been progress, in practice, is workplace wellbeing truly fit-for-purpose, accessible, and inclusive for all?
To ensure a wellbeing strategy is inclusive for all employees, several key steps can be taken.
First, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough assessment of the specific needs and challenges faced by different marginalised groups, such as employees with disabilities, LGBTQ+ employees, employees from diverse cultural backgrounds, and employees with different socioeconomic statuses. This assessment should involve engaging with these groups directly through surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one conversations to gather insights and feedback.
Based on the findings, the wellbeing strategy should be designed to address the unique needs and concerns of these marginalised groups. This may involve providing tailored resources, support services, or accommodations, such as accessibility measures for employees with disabilities, mental health support for LGBTQ+ employees, or culturally sensitive programs for employees from diverse backgrounds. It’s crucial to ensure that the resources and support provided are easily accessible and communicated clearly to all employees, including those with language or literacy barriers. After all, if it’s not accessible, how can it be availed of?
Regular evaluation and feedback loops should be established to continuously assess the effectiveness and impact of the wellbeing strategy on marginalised groups. Feedback from employees from these groups should be actively sought and incorporated into ongoing improvements to ensure that the strategy remains inclusive and relevant. Yes, employee surveys are very useful, but unless you take a deep dive into the answers and feedback from all groups of employees, are you really getting a true sense of the strategies effectiveness?
Finally, an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion should be ingrained in the company’s overall policies, practices, and culture. This includes regularly reviewing and updating policies and practices to identify and eliminate any potential barriers or biases that may disproportionately impact marginalised groups, promoting equal opportunities for career development and advancement, and fostering an inclusive and respectful work environment where all employees feel valued, heard, and supported.
Another sneak peek ahead to our podcast episode with Lee Chambers, where he outlines the importance of building wellbeing strategies that are inclusive for all.
What are we missing? Are there foundational steps we can take before building a strategy?
When crafting wellbeing strategies and initiatives, many default to looking at the market trends, the latest developments and the searching for the things that give your organisation the best ROI. While these are all valuable steps in the strategy-building journey, it’s important to not neglect the basics – are people safe and confident in the workplace?
Take for example, Circle K, Ireland’s leading forecourt and convenience retailer, with over 2,300 employees, and a retail network made up of over 420 stations across the island of Ireland. Circle K recently conducted research to highlight the issue of unacceptable customer behaviour towards its own staff as well as employees in other retail settings and the findings set Circle K on a journey to protect their employees wellbeing in a strategic and effective manner.
From the research, Circle K found out that a high number (83%) of retail workers in Ireland have experienced incidents of harassment at work, with 68% experiencing incidents at least once a month. Notably and of concern for the retail sector, of those who have experienced incidents of harassment, 70% of retail workers admit that their experience(s) of harassment from customers has made them consider seeking employment outside of retail.
Although many HR professionals will be well aware that harassment and health & safety are important aspects of business and HR, they may be forgotten as some of the key foundations to wellbeing.
After all, regardless of free fruit, mental health talks, EAP’s and everything else, if your staff don’t feel safe at work, how can they have any sense of wellbeing?
Keep an eye out for our full discussion with Áine Griallais, HR & HSE Director at Circle K Ireland, on the HR Room Podcast when the episode drops on Tuesday 18th April where we discuss the emotional wellbeing/harassment survey results, as well as Circle K’s anti-harassment policies, staff safety procedures, and what other employers in the retail sector should be doing to support their colleagues.
Staying up to speed – what’s coming next?
As mentioned, looking at the market trends, the latest developments and the searching for the things that give your organisation the best ROI are all key steps in staying up-to-date with what’s working (and not working) for organisations like yours. Coupling this with a regular, two-way communication model with your employees, and you’ll be absolutely fine. You’ll know what’s best in class, and your employees will know what’s best for them.
And as we mentioned too, don’t forget the basics. Are your policies and practices up-to-date, compliant, and protecting everyone in your organisation? In the coming weeks we’ll see the arrival of the highly-anticipated Worklife Balance Bill, which will contain a wide range of updates for employers all over Ireland.
Want to hear more about what this bill means for you? Guess what? Yes, we have a podcast episode coming soon, so keep an eye out!
How can Insight HR help?
Insight HR has the experience and expertise to ensure that your employment contracts, policies and procedures, are compliant, effective, and fit-for-purpose. Our partnership approach is also future-focused, ensuring your policies and procedures not only protect your business and your people, long-term, but give you the confidence to build, implement and develop strategies continuously over time.
“With Insight HR, your investment will never just be about fixing a problem or developing a strategy. Instead, our partnership approach arms teams with the knowledge they need to make better decisions. We leave HR teams better informed and more confident in their abilities to resolve future HR issues.”
Mary Cullen, Founder and Managing Director at Insight HR
Do you need further guidance on this topic? Do you want to hear additional insights and ask questions directly to the experts?
Fear not, we’ve got an upcoming webinar where we’ll be discussing Embedding Workplace Wellbeing, as our very own Mary Cullen (Founder and Managing Director here at Insight HR) is joined by one of the leading voices in workplace wellbeing here in Ireland, the brilliant Brian Crooke!
Book your space today before you miss out!
For further guidance and discussion on these topics, and advice and support on anything HR-related, get in touch with us today at 0567701060 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.