Employee wellbeing is a two-way street 

For any wellbeing strategy, initiative or programme to be impactful, a company and its people must meet in the middle. Leaders can be highly invested in their employees’ wellbeing but there must also be acceptance and participation from employees so that they embrace and engage with whatever the company might be offering. Individuals may be disengaged with the concept of workplace wellbeing because they do not know what they need to feel well. The leadership first needs to take stock of what their people need to feel at their best and then educate them.  


Employee wellbeing starts with leaders’ commitment  

When an organisation invests in employee wellbeing, the positive effects can filter through the entire establishment. For the best success, it is essential that the organisation’s leadership is openly and visibly invested in their employees’ health and happiness. It is vital that leaders “walk the talk.” This includes modelling a healthy lifestyle and practices – and demonstrating company values and acceptable behaviour.  


Employee wellbeing should be tailored to employee-needs 

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to creating a health and wellbeing strategy. As mentioned above, the best outcome is realised when companies do their homework to invest in wellness strategies that are relevant and appropriate to their employees’ needs. When such initiatives are specifically tailored, employees are more likely to be more receptive, with a higher percentage partaking in the initiatives and programmes then applying what they have learned. The outcome of feeling supported and having their wellness needs met is that employee loyalty grows. Engaged employees are inspired to plough their time, passion and expertise into their work. It creates a win-win partnership where both the employees and the organisations thrive and flourish. 


Employee wellbeing is multifaceted 

Today, in the wake of Covid, with a rapid rise stress, burnout and the early onset lifestyle diseases, it is important that organisations invest in their people holistically to nurture employees across all areas of wellbeing. 


Here are 7 facets to holistic employee wellbeing taken from a list published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)1. These include a range of practical examples of workplace initiatives and activities that can be instituted in support of employees’ health and wellbeing across micro, small, medium or large organisations. 

1. Health

  • Physical health - Promotion of healthy practices and lifestyles, health checks, wellbeing benefits, health insurance protection, managing disability, occupational health support, an employee assistance programme. 
  • Physical safety - Safe working practices, safe equipment, personal safety training. 
  • Mental health - Stress management, risk assessments, conflict resolution training, training line managers to have difficult conversations, managing mental ill health, occupational health support, an employee assistance programme.

2. Good work

  • Working environment - Ergonomically designed working areas to suit a diverse and inclusive workforce. 
  • Good line management - Effective people management policies, training for line managers, sickness absence management. 
  • Work demands - Tailored job design, clear definition of job roles, ensuring job quality, a manageable workload, reasonable working hours, promotion of work-life balance. 
  • Autonomy - Control, encouraging innovation, supporting whistleblowing. 
  • Change management - Communication, employee involvement, strong leadership. 
  • Pay and reward - Fair and transparent remuneration practices, non-financial recognition.

3. Values/Principles

  • Leadership - Values-based leadership, a clear mission and objectives, appropriate health and wellbeing strategy, good corporate governance, conscious building of trust. 
  • Ethical standards - Dignity at work, corporate social responsibility, community investment, encouraging volunteering. 
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion - Valuing difference, cultural engagement, training for employees and managers. 

4. Collective/Social

  • Giving employees a voice - Communication, consultation, genuine dialogue, involvement in decision making. 
  • Fostering positive relationships - Up-to-date and quality management style, teamworking, healthy relationships with peers and managers, dignity and respect. 

5. Personal growth

  • Career development - Mentoring, coaching, performance management, performance development plans, best skills utilisation, succession planning. 
  • Emotional - Positive relationships, personal resilience training, financial wellbeing. 
  • Lifelong learning - Performance development plans, access to training, mid-career review, technical and vocational learning, challenging work. 
  • Creativity - Open and collaborative culture, innovation workshops. 

6. Good lifestyle choices

  • Physical activity - Walking clubs, lunchtime yoga, charity walks. 
  • Healthy eating - Recipe clubs, healthy menu choices in the canteen. 

7. Financial wellbeing

  • Fair pay and benefit policies - Pay rates above the statutory National Minimum Wage, a flexible benefits scheme. 
  • Retirement planning - Pre-retirement courses for people approaching retirement, managed lead up to retirement. 
  • Employee financial support – An employee assistance programme that offers responsible debt counselling, signposting to external sources of free advice and access to independent financial advisers. 


Employee wellbeing is good for the bottom line 

Happy and healthy employees are a company’s greatest asset and companies have the unique opportunity to positively affect the long-term physical and mental health of their employees. Properly done, the outcome of investing in employee wellbeing is that workers become stronger and healthier – they are absent less often and more present in their jobs. They are more motivated – and they inspire one another to go the extra mile. As a knock on, this healthy working environment becomes conducive to high levels of productivity, collaboration and innovation – all of which leads to success. More than just feeling the impact internally, employees who are healthier and engaged in their work help the company perform better through providing better service to customers and creating a positive image for the company in the marketplace.  

Over to you for sharing your comments and experiences.

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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