Employee Wellbeing- More Than Just A Buzzword
DBASS Blog | June 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in us all living in a ‘human experiment’ where it has shed shadow and light into practically every aspect of our lives. Although we may be still waiting for the final results, we can at least look at those areas that have been highlighted as a result of the pandemic. One area that has been emphasised is the growing importance of wellbeing in the workplace. Employees are now prioritising their mental health and quality of life over work.
Given that the estimated occurrence of mental health disorders in Ireland is relatively high compared with other European countries and that 19% of the Irish population suffer from psychological illnesses, businesses need to prioritise and invest in ways to take care of their employees.
So what does employee wellbeing really mean? The term has certainly expanded from being more than just about illness absenteeism among employees. It relates to all aspects of workplace life for the employee from the quality and safety of the workplace physical environment to how employees’ feel about their work, working relationships and company culture.
Understanding the concept is the easy part but businesses can struggle with the execution as there is no “one size fits all” approach. In the words of Confucius, “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” and when implementing employee wellbeing strategies it can be as simple or as complicated as you make it.
As with the implementation of any strategy, policy or project you must always start with:
- The top down – getting buy in from senior level is not only the first step but it is also critical to the success of any employee wellbeing strategy. If this doesn’t happen then it is already doomed to failure. Now more than ever managers need to be leaders. Good leaders’ direct, guide and influence in a positive way. Employees expect support from their managers where approachability is their number one requirement.
- Communication – The content of any employee wellbeing strategy should be based on the unique needs and characteristics of the organisation and its workforce. This all begins with communication. Communicate with your employees, be it on a one to one, a group setting or through quick anonymous survey polls.
Here are just a few simple things you can do now to improve employee wellbeing that will get you started on the right path to implementing a robust employee wellbeing strategy:
- Welcome back – As more and more people are returning to work, after a very long period for some, putting a little thought into welcoming your staff back can go a long way in easing any anxiety employees might have about returning to their work environment. It can be as simple as organising a little welcome gift, a welcome back lunch or adding a few new touches such as the addition of office plants or artwork.
- Employee Recognition – Boost morale and let your employees know that you care, celebrate milestones such as Birthdays, work anniversaries, promotions etc. A few treats and some words of congratulations can make someone’s day.
- Promote working relationships – For so long we have engaged with each other as colleagues through screens. Reinvigorate working relationships by organising healthy team lunches, team building activities or a night out. Give employees the opportunity to get to know and appreciate each other again outside of the work environment.
By Jacky Kavanagh
DBASS Chartered Accountants
This article is for discussion purposes only. For further information on any of the topics covered in this article please contact a DBASS adviser on ph. 01 849 88 00.