Have you been tasked with looking into employee wellbeing at your company? Perhaps you’re looking to improve on your existing programme, or planning to launch something new and inspiring to celebrate and support the transition back into the workplace. Knowing where to start – or how to make it relevant post-lockdown – can be challenging.
Here’s a few useful insights from us that we’ve picked up while working with a number of different businesses prior to the pandemic, and during the past 12 months.
Listen – and give staff a voice
Firstly, listening to employees can give you valuable insight. Providing employees with a voice has helped many of our clients better understand the varying needs and challenges of their workforce, particularly during and coming out of lockdown. Asking the right questions in employee surveys are a great place to start – or restart – your employee wellbeing scheme. The results and insights they harvest allow you to understand the current needs of your workforce and to plan relevant initiatives to create healthier and happier workplaces.
Recognise differences – one size does not fit all
Appreciating what works for you when it comes to wellbeing may not be the same for your colleagues is of vital importance. Your current set-up may differ from the graduate working from a houseshare, the mum with four kids, or the part-time employee caring for their elderly parent.
It’s great to address many common challenges they might be facing for example with digital platforms, policies and wellbeing sessions, but additionally providing a variety of options will lead to higher engagement levels across more staff. The days of a token yoga class as a way to say you look after staff wellbeing are gone. So draw from that survey and provide some options that will appeal to a broad range of people.
A new era for mental health
A positive to come out of the pandemic is that more people are aware of what contributes to their mental health. This in turn can make addressing this topic slightly easier across companies. So don’t address poor mental health in isolation , which can reinforce the notion that ‘mental health’ is negative.
Instead ensure your initiatives on this topic are balanced and: highlight the positive side of mental health too. Shape the narrative to focus on the importance of looking after our mental health with activities like physical activity, good sleep, developing positive relationships, and nutritional advice.
Awareness training for managers and ‘mental health champions’ can help foster supportive working cultures. As can creating policies and guidance so those struggling know where to turn. But remember, not everyone wants to openly discuss their mental health and in a lot of cases that is fine.
Communicate without the fluff
On a related note, we’ve often seen a disconnect when the “fluffy-side” of wellbeing comes out. It can alienate and push employees away who may not want to engage in over-generalised initiatives, or who might feel uncomfortable talking excessively about their feelings. Communicating successfully with clear and relevant options helps staff connect and more likely to engage open and honestly. Straight-talking, practical, actionable programmes offer options for employees to cut through the noise and value the incentives you’re offering. Even the most initially sceptical of employees can start to embrace schemes if they are positioned in the right manner.
And the knock on effects are huge – provide valuable and practical activities and support and you’ll have less stressed, happier staff with stronger bonds between employer and employees.
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