Most industries are finally doing away with the old-school mindset of everyone for themselves and workers being just a cog in the wheel. Instead, they’re choosing to treat employees like valuable assets. For HR professionals, this is a huge relief, as the workforce truly is the lifeblood of every organization.
However, taking care of employees’ welfare and well-being is a major responsibility, and it goes far beyond ticking boxes and following procedures. In today’s world, this means looking after their physical and mental health and ensuring that the right tools and systems are in place to do so. HR professionals who can do this will boost employee satisfaction, encourage higher retention rates, and help to create a more productive workforce.
Use these tips to create a culture of care and ensure that employee well-being is always a priority.
Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik
Take Mental and Emotional Health Seriously
Prior to the pandemic, employee mental health wasn’t much of a talking point, even though it should have been. Now, however, mental health in the workplace has become a major focus, as it’s clear how it affects productivity, output, and overall morale.
To ensure employees stay in the best possible mental shape, try the following:
- Create a company culture that discourages gossip and encourages diversity and inclusion. If employees feel accepted and welcome, they’re less likely to suffer from poor mental health.
- An Alight International Workforce and Wellbeing report reveals that 62% of responders would use a mental health app if it were available in the workplace. Implementing an app like this, or even suggesting a few for employees to use, is a great idea to boost well-being.
- Companies that implement mental health care strategies find that employees are better able to tackle the opportunities and challenges involved in work, along with having a healthier work-life balance. Even a basic strategy that’s used company-wide can make a major difference in promoting good mental health.
- A McKinsey & Co study noted that having a workplace free from mental health stigma was vital in ensuring employees’ well-being. They list numerous ways to achieve this, including active and ongoing mental and emotional health campaigns.
Create A Healthy Working Environment
Having a clean and healthy work environment is crucial to employee well-being. A tidy and well-maintained workspace not only boosts productivity but it limits the chance of absenteeism from illness, boosts morale, and creates a sense of pride.
To create a healthy environment, do the following:
- Ensure the office’s cleanliness standards are always maintained.
- Have insurance in place for employees—from 401Ks to health insurance to life, disability and dental plans.
- Adding plants to an office is a great way to enhance the working environment and purify the air. Plants have also proven to improve productivity and reduce stress in the workplace, so they’re an excellent addition.
- Prioritize time off to ensure that employees get enough rest, minimize the chance of burnout, and recharge fully.
Invest in Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
There are numerous modes and models of Employee Assistance Programs, each of which offers distinct benefits. The help offered can include:
- Mental health concerns
- Stress resilience
- Assisting in instances of substance abuse
EAPs provide the resources needed so employees can seek help while feeling supported by their workplace. Here’s how they help:
- Companies like Uprise Health have found through framework-based evidence that implementing EAPs reduces company costs. This is done by having at-risk members identified and offered help. Early intervention negates the need to use company healthcare and avoids worker absenteeism.
- Employees who utilize EAPs such as counseling, experience a 94% personal goal achievement and a 47% decrease in absenteeism at work.
- Companies with EAPs have a more productive workforce overall than companies that don’t implement these strategies.
One of the best ways to create a culture of employee well-being is by making employees valued shareholders of the company in small ways. This gives them a sense of ownership as to how the company performs and ensures they also work to a higher standard.
Actively encouraging employees to upskill can result in higher employee retention and greater job satisfaction. This is because they can directly perceive their high value to the company.
Another way to do this is to allow staff to function on their own within set parameters, such as a remote workforce. This gives them the freedom to achieve these goals in a set amount of time.
Catering to staff needs is one thing, but keeping employees motivated and engaged is a surefire way to increase their overall satisfaction. This leads to increased feelings of confidence, knowing that the work they’re doing is being done well. In turn, this boosts company productivity, as shown in a Gallup study.
According to Gallup, businesses with engaged staff saw an 81% difference in employee absenteeism. When you consider how to calculate profit margin, absentee workers can quickly eat into profits, so this is a huge saving in many ways. There was also a 14% difference in productivity. This is directly correlated to staff feeling as if they have a place in their company. It also led to the mindset that they are perceived as being valued.
A 43% difference in employee turnover was recorded too, and this showcases better staff retention.
Create a Culture of Compassion
Less tangible but just as valuable ways of creating a culture of care can involve showing staff compassion and recognition.
By establishing a company culture of compassion right from the onboarding process, employees will feel well looked after and able to speak up if they don’t understand something, have a problem, or encounter any issues.
Having a workplace where employees feel comfortable will help them feel supported during good times and in times of grief, loss, or trauma. Knowing their job is secure and that the company cares builds goodwill, improves retention, and encourages loyalty. All of these contribute to a good workplace culture.
As an HR professional, the responsibility of promoting a culture of care in an organization is no small challenge. However, by taking mental and emotional health seriously, creating a healthy working environment and investing in EAPs, you’re on the right track. Additionally, if you can encourage autonomy, boost engagement and create a culture of compassion, you can ensure that employee welfare has been made a priority.