The world of work has seen some significant changes in recent years, not least due to the pandemic. This sent millions of employees home in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
As we head into the middle of 2022, employee wellbeing is being increasingly recognised as a priority for a huge number of companies. This can be seen with workplaces discussing mental health more openly, a greater focus on a more balanced work life, and an increase in hybrid working.
To help supplement this shift in employee satisfaction, we’ve devised seven things managers can do to improve the wellbeing of their staff to increase engagement, and avoid a visit from an employment law solicitor. We’ll also be discussing why wellbeing and productivity go hand in hand. Take a look…
Why Wellbeing and Productivity Go Hand in Hand
Long gone are the days of treating employees as dispensable assets and enforcing rigid rules and regulations within the workplace. In the enlightened world of 2022, employers are recognising the fact that the key to productive and engaged employees is through wellbeing initiatives.
The philosophy behind this is as simple as it is effective – when employees are healthy and happy, they feel more invested in the company and in their work and, therefore, do a better job. Satisfied employees also have a tendency to stay put, which can save a company a considerable amount of money in recruitment.
These days, businesses are increasingly aware of the fact that they need to do much more than just pay their employees a living wage – and this has been very much highlighted during the global ‘Great Resignation’ which began late in 2021.
7 Ways To Boost Wellbeing To Increase Employee Engagement
It’s one thing to acknowledge that wellbeing is important for employee engagement, but what exactly does that look like? In this section, we’ll take you through seven ways in which managers can proactively promote employee wellbeing in order to improve engagement and productivity:
1. It’s Good To Talk
Great communication is absolutely essential when it comes to employee wellbeing and this should always be prioritised by forward thinking managers. This became more important than ever during the pandemic when remote working left many employees feeling isolated and unsupported.
Managers should be proactive in making sure that they effectively communicate with employees, both as a team as well as one on one. This way, you can identify any concerns to make sure that all employees feel supported at all times.
For effective communication, it’s vital that managers get into the habit of actively requesting feedback from employees. This can be done in person or anonymously, and will help the manager to figure out what’s important to their employees and what will help them to become more engaged and invested in the company.
2. Efficiency And Effectiveness
Many managers make the mistake of operating on a basis of ‘well, this is how we’ve always done things’. Figures show that, in many companies, outdated and inefficient systems and processes are responsible for wasting around 26% of an employee’s working day.
When employees spend a significant amount of their time performing repetitive and dull tasks due to inefficient systems, they can quickly become disillusioned with their work and start looking elsewhere, as well as becoming less productive. Managers may want to consider making some changes, such as introducing work automation software which will free up employee’s time for more interesting tasks.
3. Reward And Recognition
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When we think about rewarding employees, we often think in terms of cash – something which is pretty tight for a lot of employers in 2022. Thankfully for employers, rewarding staff needn’t cost a fortune – there are lots of ways of making employees feel valued, including:
- Wellness vouchers for local facilities
- Coffee vouchers for a local store
- Subsidised memberships to local gyms and leisure centres
- Free fruit in the workplace to promote a healthier lifestyle
- Therapeutic services such as counselling, which may enable employees to grow in confidence
Rewards such as these tend to have a high perceived value for employees without costing the company the big bucks (which is always a winner). They are proving to be extremely popular within a lot of major companies in the UK. Having said that, as valuable as these rewards are, there is no substitute for making sure that your employees are paid fairly and competitively.
4. Making Time
For most employees, time is a precious commodity and one which they rarely have enough of. Since people began working from home in early 2020, the value of a better work and life balance has become abundantly clear, with many reluctant to relinquish this as they return to the workplace. Managers can strike a compromise here by introducing time-based initiatives such as:
- Flexitime, to allow employees to balance their work with other responsibilities.
- Hybrid working, with some days worked from home to allow employees to tailor their own working day to fit in with interests, hobbies and commitments.
- Summer hours, for example, finishing work at 1pm on a Friday if employees work an extra half hour a day Monday to Thursday.
These initiatives can significantly improve wellbeing for employees, including reducing stress for those who are juggling their work with childcare and other commitments.
5. Making A Connection
It’s time to talk about bonding – for many, this will conjure up images of the dreaded team building event, but it doesn’t need to be quite so structured. Managers can improve wellbeing by setting a standard for social interaction within the workplace. This can be as simple as starting each morning with a coffee and chat as a team or organising drinks on a Friday.
Many traditional managers are of the opinion that they need to keep a distance from their employees in order to retain respect and present a professional front. While professionalism is, of course, vital, an amount of informal and social interaction can have a significant and positive impact on employee morale and wellbeing.
Although social interaction as a team can be helpful as well as improving wellbeing, managers should avoid asking employees to give up their own time for this.
6. Company Culture
The term ‘company culture’ gets bandied around a great deal in 2022, but what does this actually mean? Building and maintaining a great company culture is all about improving the employee experience from the ground up, and should begin at the onboarding stage.
The first couple of weeks in a new job can be nerve wracking for any employee, so putting in place a comprehensive and inclusive onboarding process can make a huge difference. Managers should make sure that new employees are made to feel welcome and are given a proper induction. Company culture should also include:
- Inclusivity – ensuring that your business is open to a diverse range of employees, including those with disabilities and those from different racial and gender backgrounds.
- Openness and transparency in terms of what is expected of employees.
- An open-door policy to allow employees to voice concerns.
- Comfortable spaces for downtime.
- Flexible working, including options for working hours.
- Ongoing support from management both in terms of work and on a personal level.
- Therapeutic services available to employees.
- Promoting connection between employees and management through team meetings, team events and different communication channels, for example, Slack and Whatsapp.
As well as improving employee wellness, creating a great company culture makes the business more attractive to potential new talent. Attracting talented new employees has become an increasing concern for many employers in 2022. As candidates become more and more demanding, an attractive company culture including competitive benefits is vital.
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7. On Track For Training
A lack of training and development can quickly make an employee feel disillusioned within their role and may lead to them shopping around for a new position. Managers who take a proactive interest in their employee’s career development are much more likely to be repaid with loyalty than those who don’t.
Managers should, therefore, put a comprehensive training and development policy in place which is introduced during the onboarding process. By doing this, managers are able to keep employees engaged by mapping out a clear path for progression within the company. Similarly, training and development should be made available to managers to help them better support their employees in a changing world.
For the best results, many companies are now choosing to have bespoke training programs designed for their businesses. This is extremely effective and, surprisingly, affordable, even in comparison to off the shelf solutions.
Are You Ready To Build A Happy And High-Performing Workplace?
Having made your way through this article, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that a lot is expected of managers in 2022 – and you’d be right. The way we work underwent a sea change during the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result, managers now need to wear a number of different hats as they take on further responsibilities – including employee wellbeing.
The manager of the future is one who is able to incorporate employee support and wellness into the day-to-day operations of the business. This should create a company culture which is centered on its people – which is exactly as it should be.