With another national lockdown in full swing, if there was ever a time to address the concerns of employees and focus on what makes a happy, healthy and productive workforce to survive the remote working revolution, it’s now.
So why do some employers still put employee wellbeing to the bottom of their to-do list?
Ignorance is bliss
As the saying goes: “If one is unaware of an unpleasant fact or situation one cannot be troubled by it.”
But is that always the case? Employers that are turning a blind eye to their employee’s mental health, particularly during the current circumstances can expect to experience a detrimental effect on their business.
MHFA England recently revealed that mental ill health is responsible for 72 million sick days and costs businesses £32.9 billion each year.
Along with these eye-opening figures, organisations that ignore mental health are likely to notice a lack of motivation, commitment and poor decision-making from their employees.
With the above in mind, those that are guilty of putting the interest of their organisation above the wellbeing of their colleagues (we’re looking at the 62% of managers that confessed this in a recent BITC survey!) must consider, is it really worth it?
Is the mental health of employees really my responsibility?
Supporting mental health at work can often be shunned off as another HR initiative that the human resource team should manage. However it’s so important that business leaders and managers contribute towards creating the right culture where staff can open up.
CFO of Siemens, Angela Noon emphasises how business leaders communication is key in a recent CMI article. She explains “people are naturally looking to leaders to steer the company through those challenging times. That's a different type of skill set and it's a very different type of leadership.”
Angela warns that openness about mental health must come from the top, warning “if you're not talking about mental health right now you're not a good leader.”
Employee benefits improve wellbeing, right?
Not enough businesses have a deep enough understanding on what makes an effective employee wellbeing strategy.
Supporting the wellbeing of your workforce must consist of more than a generic package of ‘employee benefits’. Don’t get us wrong - team beers, healthy snacks and pool table perks are undeniably a treat in the office, as are Zoom quizzes, staff discounts and flexible hours in the remote working world.
However, these things are short-lived and need to be part of a wider, more cohesive strategy to have a positive effect on mental health.
The key to developing an effective employee wellbeing strategy
The Coronavirus has urged businesses to rethink wellness quickly and if you’re an employer that’s failing to meet the changing demands, chances are you’re going to be left behind. So what are the steps to developing a wellbeing strategy that actually works? We suggest that employers consider the following…
Are you aware of what your people need?
It’s important to remember that no one-size-fits-all, employee wellbeing strategies are unique to each organisation and its people. To gain a better understanding of what your staff need to help them cope with the current challenges that they’re facing, you need to meaningfully check in with them. A good way to do this is with an Employee Wellbeing Assessment.
Have your employee perks past it?
Now is the time for organisations to assess whether their existing benefits are meeting the needs of the ‘new normal’. Two in five UK companies have already changed their employee benefit programmes due to Covid-19 (HR Magazine) with many planning to enhance their wellbeing initiatives and ramp up mental health and stress management services.
Can you afford to be left behind?
It’s true what they say, happy workers = productive workers. Implementing a proven workplace wellbeing programme that builds a mentally-aware and highly supported workforce is one of the biggest performance gains that businesses can make right now.
Here at Key Wellbeing we can help you and your employees thrive, not just survive both now and post-pandemic.