Employers, Are You Focusing on Employee Well-Being?

Focus on employee well-being and see your company culture grow.

Happy female employee smiles and celebrates.

High employee turnover rates and increased reports of burnout may indicate that employee well-being should rank higher on the list of company goals than was previously recognized. A shift has occurred across all industries and companies of all sizes, pushing employers to focus on their employees’ needs and how to better support their well-being.

What is employee well-being?

Well-being is a term that refers to the state of being happy, healthy, and comfortable. When considering employee well-being, employers often focus more on the health aspect, offering comprehensive health benefits packages that help their employees maintain their physical health.

However, well-being is more than just the state of a person’s physical health. Mental and emotional health both factor into an individual’s overall well-being, as well as their ability to manage stress, form social connections, and feel prosperous.

Since many of these factors can come from employment, well-being must be addressed within the workplace. When an employee feels negative about their economic situation, they might have feelings of resentment toward their employer as the source of their income.

A full-time employee typically spends forty hours a week at their place of employment, which represents a significant portion of their waking hours. It’s becoming more important to employees that their employers invest in their well-being and offer ways to decompress, get support, and live happier lives.

Related: Wellness vs. Well-Being

Why is employee well-being important?

Well-being impacts how an individual feels about their life. When well-being declines, they may feel down or hopeless, which can impact both their personal and professional life in a variety of ways.

Well-being in the U.S. appears to be on the decline. Everyday stresses and challenges can contribute to the drop in self-reported well-being. As a result, making improvements in the area of employee well-being can be difficult if someone doesn't know where to start.

Providing opportunities for employees to enhance their well-being can make a significant difference for employers. This effort can translate to lower turnover rates, improved morale, and increased loyalty from employees.

Additionally, high well-being can lead to fewer illness-related absences and lower healthcare costs. Employees who report often or always feeling burned out are over 60% more likely to call in sick than employees who don’t feel as burned out. It’s no secret that investing in employee well-being is well worth the effort put forth.

5 ways to support employee well-being

Now that you understand its importance, you may want to consider what steps your organization has taken or is taking to improve employee well-being. Perhaps the company has a wellness program in place or provides incentives to employees who care for their physical health.

But if your organization is lacking in this area, here are five ways to boost well-being and provide a more supportive workplace.

  1. Praise and support employees

    Creating a culture where employees feel supported and praised for the work they do can have a significant positive impact on morale. Nearly three-quarters of employees feel that recognition makes them happier in their personal lives and more emotionally connected to their coworkers. The feeling of being disrespected at work is the second leading cause of employees leaving their jobs.

    Younger employees tend to be particularly motivated by praise as many have grown up hearing it from their parents, teachers, and other influential adults. The impact of praise-heavy company cultures shouldn’t be ignored or understated.

  2. Encourage gratitude and appreciation

    As a company builds a culture around employee praise and support, it can also cultivate a culture of appreciation and gratitude. Expressing appreciation and support for employees can lead employees to look for others around them to motivate and praise in turn. By encouraging gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of another, your organization can build a stronger and more social culture.

  3. Hand out swag

    If your budget and policies allow, look for opportunities to reward your employees with gifts. This can boost their morale and positively affect their well-being. Health-related swag pairs well with a wellness initiative, such as an activity tracker branded with the company logo or a beach chair that might encourage them to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

  4. Offer opportunities to build friendships

    When an employee feels that they have a friend in the workplace, they are seven times as likely to be engaged in their work. They’re also better at engaging customers, less likely to get injured at work, and produce higher-quality work than employees who feel that they don’t have a close friend.

    Look for ways to encourage friendships within your organization. You might support special interest groups or start a mentorship program where more established employees can pair up with newer or younger team members. When hosting meetings, you might set aside a few minutes for employees to share something they’re interested in to foster friendships among people with similar interests.

    Related: 5 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relationships at Work

  5. Provide a personal development program

    Employees who feel stagnated in their roles experience less job satisfaction, are more likely to quit, which can negatively impact their overall well-being. By allowing every employee to develop new personal and professional skills, an organization can support their staff’s desires to learn new things and become better at others.

By showing employees that the company they work for cares about their well-being, you have the potential to improve the morale in the workplace and decrease turnover rates. Beyond these benefits, you’ll know that your efforts contribute to reduced rates of stress, anxiety, and mental illness in the workplace.

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