By Wendy Sheaffer, Chief Product Officer, The Omnia Group
The idea of prioritizing employee well-being has been floating around the workplace for several decades. Unfortunately, many managers and business owners haven’t fully understood why it’s so important or what true employee well-being entails.
As we maneuver through a year that’s tough on a myriad of levels, we’ve seen some up-close-and-personal examples of the importance of employee well-being. The year has presented challenges that impacted our collective psyche both personally and professionally.
Being “well” in the workplace exists on various levels. It can involve:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- A complete sense of workplace engagement and overall happiness that stems from a fulfilling career
It’s important to understand how, when you put an emphasis on the well-being of your employees, it will pay you and your business forward with numerous benefits.
Employee Well-Being Equals Business Success
Think about how much of their lives your employees spend in the workplace, more so if the lines are now blurred by working from home. It’s no mystery why employees who feel like they’re appreciated in the office also feel better about other areas of their lives, such as relationships and health. There’s a clear connection between a positive work environment and happy workers.
Let’s take a look at why employees that are happy are also more beneficial to the company.
Increased Employee Engagement
A worker who enjoys positive physical and emotional health is much more likely to show a higher level of commitment to their job. Because of the support and appreciation they get from their employer, they’re much more willing to go above and beyond what’s expected of them.
They know their extra efforts will get recognized and rewarded in some way.
Employees who are healthy emotionally and physically are also much better equipped to deal with customer demands, daily deadlines and the continued stress of the work environment. A sense of well-being on the job allows employees to work at a higher level of production and add more value to the business.
Happy Employees Call in Less Frequently
Workers who struggle with physical and emotional issues tend to call in sick quite a bit. And even when they do show up, they’re probably not performing to their highest potential.
When business owners and managers focus on well-being, they can expect employee sick days to taper off. It’ll also become obvious that these same workers who used to call in sick all the time are now putting in a lot more effort during the day.
This drives business growth forward.
A Happy Employee Is a Long-Term Employee
When you choose to provide an environment of support that focuses on wellness, you create a team of happy workers. When you couple this positive environment with competitive salaries and benefits, you’ll be surrounded by a group of employees that won’t be leaving you anytime soon.
A person who truly feels valued by their supervisor is much more likely to stay with your company through thick and thin. They won’t jump ship to a competitor just because they’re offering a slight increase in pay.
How to Boost the Well-Being of Your Workers
Sure, it’s easy to see the connection between employee well-being and business success, but how do you create and nurture a culture of employee wellness?
Give Individualized Feedback
Genuine feedback is one of the most critical parts of developing an engaged and supportive work environment. When company leaders provide positive, constructive feedback, workers can make simple adjustments that lead them (and the company) down a path of success.
The biggest key to providing effective feedback is to make sure it’s tailored to each individual employee. General feedback that gives no individual direction, such as “you need to bring these numbers up,” only further demoralizes a worker. Instead, approach this situation by saying, “You’re doing great. I have a few ideas you can try that can help you close sales a lot easier.”
It also helps to understand what motivates each individual on your team so you can provide feedback in a way that will stick. An Omnia Assessment helps managers better understand the personal drivers of each member of their team. For example, the concrete thinkers on your team value data and details. If you want to congratulate someone like that for a job well done, it’s important to be specific. A quick pat on the back or a brief nod at a meeting will feel incomplete and possibly even insincere. Take the time to explain why the activity was a success or how the deed tied to the overall success of the team. For example, say something like, “You did a great job helping sales with that proposal. It was thorough and presented the true value of our product over time. The customer felt we answered all their questions in the document and could clearly see how much going solar would save them over the next 10 years. We got the sale!”
Have you considered allowing your employees to occasionally work from home (if they aren’t already), at other job sites, or letting them set their own hours? This type of flexibility helps workers achieve a better balance in their lives. Proper work-life balance is essential to overall well-being.
For example, we recently had some school closures due to an impending hurricane. My employee had to care for her three-year-old but was running low on PTO. While it would have been impossible to work normal hours with a toddler running around, she was able to work on an important, time-sensitive project during nap time and in the evening. She got the project done, just not during our traditional office hours. It was a win-win.
Acknowledge Important Milestones
This is a great way to show your employees that you care about them individually. Make a habit of recognizing milestones such as:
- Work anniversaries
- New certifications
- Sales goals that are met or exceeded
Don’t feel like it’s necessary to do anything overly extravagant to recognize milestones. Often, a simple card with a personalized message will make an employee feel appreciated and valued. Now that our office has gone mostly remote, we send group e-cards. Everyone on the team can electronically sign the card and write their own message. They can even add pictures or emojis. It’s a fun, easy way to highlight a milestone and means something because everyone on the team took a few minutes to say something motivational.
Employee Well-Being Benefits Everyone
A positive work environment recognizes and fully embraces the individuality of each employee. By creating an environment of well-being from your leadership team on down, you’ll reap the reward of a more productive, engaged workforce.
Wendy Sheaffer is Chief Product Officer at The Omnia Group, an employee assessment firm providing the power of behavioral insight to help organizations make successful hires and develop exceptional employees. Wendy is a subject matter expert in using Omnia’s 8 columns as a tool to make more-informed hiring and development decisions and effectively engage staff. She works directly with clients and Omnia staff to provide a deeper understanding of how to use personality data to meet business goals. For more information, visit OmniaGroup.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.525.7117.