Do a quick Google search and you’ll find lots of different options including profit, productivity, customer service, growth, cash flow, customer reach, competitive advantage and so on. What's interesting is that it’s very difficult to find a list that mentions any sort of employee-focused business objective…
If companies can have income, growth, and service as an objective, why can’t they have employee wellbeing or even employee happiness as a goal? That’s a very important question to be asking right now. Especially as employee satisfaction could be key to helping you get closer to your growth and money-related goals. It’s been shown time and time again that a happy employee is a productive employee, after all.
The Pandemic Effect
Until now, many employers really haven’t thought to place employee wellbeing or happiness at the top of their list of company objectives. And that's nothing to feel bad about. It wasn’t something that was discussed all that often. But now, in the post-pandemic landscape, things are different. Wellbeing has got to be a priority.
Working from home has directly affected employee happiness. Today, the average worker rates their happiness level at just 6.6 out of 10, but this varies considerably by location and industry, with some rating themselves as just a 4 on the chart.
Why are employees feeling blue? Well, according to the happiness study discussed above, some employees who are working remotely can go for up to 3.5 days without stepping foot outside. In addition, 66% say they’re working harder than they did in the office, and 54% take fewer breaks… It's not surprising employees are feeling the strain.
Happiness = Success?
Making wellness a key company objective seems like the logical next step, particularly as there are so many well-reported business benefits to having contented employees:
● Happy employees work more efficiently
● Happy employees may be up to 13% more productive
● Happy employees create a happy workplace and positive culture
● Happy employees are motivated employees
● Happy employees make better team leaders
● Happy employees are less likely to look for a new job, reducing turnover
Unfortunately, employee wellbeing as a business objective still isn’t considered to be the norm. And, following a year of economic uncertainty, and with a lengthy period of recovery ahead, it’s likely that board members will, naturally, want to focus on growth and profitability. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few small yet powerful changes that can be made at HR level today to give organisations a head start tomorrow:
1. Creating a People-Centric Culture
Simply listening to employees is a fantastic starting point. Consider scheduling 1-2-1 meetings with your staff and giving them an opportunity to share their views, or creating employee pulse surveys to get a feel for trending opinions amongst the workforce. In doing so, you can create a people-centric culture that introduces changes that are shaped by the real needs of real people. And, when the time comes to make employee wellbeing a key company objective, you’ll be armed with a strong idea about what your employees want, and how to meet their needs in the very best way.
2. Prioritising Mental Health
Unfortunately, despite growing awareness of mental health conditions, emotional wellbeing is still very much a taboo subject across many workplaces. According to Mind, 21% of workers have called in sick due to stress, 42% had thought about quitting, and one third don’t feel they can talk to their manager about how they’re feeling. And while 56% of employers want to do more, they’re unsure where to start. So how about creating a safe space to talk? Building an open culture where it’s OK to share feelings? Or adapting employee benefits to provide access to essential support services?
3. Going One Step Further
The term ‘wellbeing’ is often associated with mental and emotional health. But there’s much more to it, and employers need to understand this in order to really boost happiness. It’s said that financial stress has emerged as ‘the biggest mental health burden in the UK’ during the pandemic, so financial wellbeing is a natural starting point. While employers themselves may not feel comfortable or qualified sharing financial advice, they can help to put employees in contact with financial experts through the MyEva app; a digital tool offering 24/7 guidance to help employees spend wisely.
Preparing for the New Normal
While some businesses will be ready to make employee wellbeing a key company objective, others will naturally be more hesitant to make such changes during the upcoming period of recovery. And that’s OK. What’s important to remember, however, is that the future of work is people-centric. So by making a few small changes now, you’re giving yourself a head start when it comes time to adapt goals in the future.
Learn more about MyEva
MyEva is a digital financial wellbeing expert designed to support employees with their financial wellbeing by helping to improve their financial situation with independent personalised guidance and advice.
Follow MyEva on LinkedIn today to discover how Employers are improving the financial wellbeing of their Employees.