Human Resources Needs to Prioritize Employee Wellness, Here’s How
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 03-16-2023 04:22 AM
Synopsis: Businesses all over the world have spent the last three years, since the start of Covid, trying to navigate what employee wellness looks like. Suddenly, in a near-overnight shift, entire companies were sent to work remotely, leaving leadership teams fumbling to figure out how to keep employees connected and cared for.
Despite all the time, energy, and money that has gone into companies trying to nail down how to make their employees happy and healthy, those intentions aren’t trickling down. According to a recent Gallup report, only 24% of employees strongly agree that their employer cares about their well-being. Not only is this statistic jaw-dropping, but it’s also frustrating for employees all over the world. They’re looking for more, and it’s time for HR to shine.
Human Resources exist as a functioning department in organizations of all types and sizes. Historically, they have been thought of as the department in charge of onboarding, resolving conflicts, and managing the hiring process. However, the role of HR is just as important from an internally-facing perspective. Locking in employee wellness and building a structure around what that looks like takes a team that knows its organization’s people, isn’t afraid to shake things up, and leads with empathy – that’s HR.
The Importance of Employee Wellness
Researchers at the University of Warwick determined that happiness makes people 12% more productive. Since employee wellness and employee happiness go hand-in-hand, investing in the well-being of your employees will pay off when it comes to their productivity. The harder they work, the better your organization performs; this relationship is symbiotic for everyone.
Aside from productivity and monetary gains, having happier and healthier employees will lead to other stellar individuals wanting to work at your organization. When you’re pulling in talent and actually retaining that talent, it’s priceless.
Cultural Influence on Employee Wellness
Company culture is a major component of employee wellness; without a culture that prioritizes the humanity of its employees, there’s no foundation to build collaborative and high-performing teams. It can be tricky to understand the dynamic between culture and employee wellness because they impact one another.
If your employees are unwell, your culture will suffer, and if your culture is struggling, it’ll be more difficult for your people to thrive at work. As these factors ebb and flow, keeping them both at the forefront of every business decision is important.
Human resources is the glue of any organization. HR is responsible for aligning business goals with the people component of the business. Are people happy? Do they believe in the mission of the company? Do they feel cared for? These are all questions that may not get as much airtime without HR professionals continuously bringing them to the center.
When it comes to employee wellness, HR is the internal body of advocates for this movement. It might make sense financially to cut benefits or reduce workplace perks, but HR can remain steadfast, reminding leaders that these items are just as critical to business function as new machinery or working computers.
How to Improve Employee Well-being
Every company will be at different parts of the journey regarding employee wellness. Some may have zeroed in on employee wellness while others are still trying to define what employee wellness even is. Regardless of where your organization is on its journey, there are many different ways to invest in employee wellness, such as:
Invest in Your Employees
Providing ample training opportunities, ensuring career advancement, and helping your employees develop in professional ways can lead to higher rates of employee satisfaction and retention. Remember, when you invest in your employees, they’ll be more likely to invest their time and energy back into your organization
Get Creative with Time-off Policies
Everyone needs ample rest time. Unlimited PTO policies get mixed reviews; some feel as though there’s a cultural issue that makes it seem like taking any PTO is bad, while others love them. If you’re not interested in ambiguity, get creative! Consider making X amount of days of PTO mandatory each year, closing down the company for a week or two during the holidays, or even having mental health days each month that teams can take off together. Figure out what works for your business, but don’t lose sight of the power of paid time off.
Encompass Mental Healthcare in Benefits Packages
This one seems obvious to say, but not nearly enough organizations are doing it: include mental health coverage in your healthcare package! Therapy and other mental health services can be exclusionary due to costs, but if your insurance plans cover mental health, your employees can get the professional resources they need to stay well mentally.
Identify Distress Early
With large, complex organizations, monitoring the well-being of every employee can be tedious and logistically challenging. Instead of taking that on as an HR organization, train managers and people leaders to recognize signs of distress, triage them, and connect their team members with the right resources. The more you empower your people to do the right thing, the better off they’ll be.
Prioritize Healthy Lifestyles
Whether it’s a monthly wellness stipend, gym membership discounts, or even a walking challenge within the organization, make healthy lifestyles a priority. We can’t control what people do in their own homes, but we can build a culture of health and wellness. Make healthy lunches and snacks accessible to people in the office, cover the costs of standing desks, and equip every workstation ergonomically. There are many ways to champion health, but these are some quick wins.
Be Well Together
Organizations cannot exist without their employees, but that’s not true the other way around. Many leaders in many different industries have lost sight of that, treating employees as if they are expendable or replaceable. In reality, if your people leave your organization, it will cease to exist.
Don’t let it get to that point. Make them feel seen, heard, and valued as people, not cogs in the machine. HR should take pride in leading the charge to have happier, healthier employees all over the world. Invest in the well-being of your people, and the well-being of your company will benefit too.