Last year marked the beginning of the Great Resignation, the still ongoing trend of a record-breaking number of employees quitting their jobs. In 2021 alone, 47.8 million workers quit their jobs, averaging out to around 4 million each month. With a similar trend creeping into 2022, employers are left looking for answers.
Many have identified employee wellbeing as a major cause for concern. Gallup reports that fewer than one in four employees feel strongly that their organization cares about their wellbeing—the lowest percentage in nearly a decade.
From hesitant returns to the office met with an onslaught of life-changing news on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that employees are feeling the burden of global changes as we attempt to adjust back to “normal.” With all these added stressors, employee wellbeing continues to decline, which threatens overall employee engagement and productivity.
Employee wellbeing is a complex issue. What matters to your employees can depend on so many of their personal factors, including age, gender, health, and socio-economic background. Employees vary in their needs, which makes it so their wellbeing cannot be improved by one catch-all system. However, taking the time to listen to employee feedback will offer you the crucial framework to take the next steps.
Before taking action to address those diverse employee needs, it is important to consider the 5 key aspects that compose employee wellbeing. These can offer you a multi-faceted approach to reach the ultimate goal of retaining current workers and finding talented new hires.
Five Key Components of Employee Wellbeing
1. Mental Health Wellbeing
A once-stigmatized conversation, it’s finally becoming a normalized occurrence to open up about emotions and stressors in the workplace. However, these open conversations are likely attributed to the heightened threats to mental health since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to a recent MetLife study, over a third of employees report feeling stressed while working for at least half of their time spent working. Nearly as many also report that stress has made them less productive. It’s becoming clear that meaningful concern for mental health is now an additional player in the workplace environment.
Further Actions: create quality Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), offer free/subsided opportunities for counseling and therapy sessions, support frequent mental health screenings.
2. Social Wellbeing
Highly dependent on a positive work culture, social wellbeing involves feelings of belonging and togetherness in the work environment. Being able to form quality relationships and staying connected with others are essential for workers to expand productivity and happiness.
Just like everything else, the pandemic has severely impacted social wellness amongst workers. A recent JMIRx-Med report identifies social isolation and loneliness as two factors that have been majorly exacerbated by remote working. Whether you’re facing the return to the office or continued remote work, it is important to figure out meaningful ways to cultivate interpersonal workplace relationships.
Further Actions: prioritize inclusion and diversity programs, offer support for improved work-life balance, organize events based on employee interests (games, picnics, holiday parties, etc.)
3. Physical Wellbeing
Encompassing everything from healthy lifestyle behaviors to appropriate medical care, physical wellbeing is crucial to the success of employees. Our bodies could simply not function unless they receive sufficient sleep, food, and activity to keep them moving. Employees should never have to feel the need to sacrifice their physical health for the sake of productivity.
Even beyond daily lifestyle behaviors, employees may still be facing certain conditions, such as pregnancy, chronic illness, and addiction, which will take a toll on their health and performance. Within the context of a deadly pandemic, it becomes even more important to ensure that workers are receiving proper care that doesn’t break the bank and put them under undue stress.
Further Actions: provide quality health insurance, emphasize workplace safety initiatives, encourage opportunities to get active (in-person and remote), offer alternatives to screentime
4. Financial Wellbeing
It is crucial for individuals to feel in control of their finances, feeling as if they have the skills, resources, and planning to manage their money and make informed decisions. This sense of financial wellbeing also encompasses the ability to cope with unexpected challenges.
As a frequent root of deteriorating mental wellness, the lack of financial control can be a major source of stress on employees. In the MetLife study mentioned earlier, they note that 86% of employees consider their finances to be their top source of stress. 27% of employees remark that they feel less productive due to their financial worries.
Further Actions: implement retirement savings plans, offer financial literacy and education courses, create employee emergency loans, set up student loan assistance plans
5. Career Wellbeing
For employees to feel satisfied in their work, it is important for them to make strides towards achieving their own personal and professional goals in the workplace. From feeling recognized for their achievements to finding meaning in their work, employees benefit from the additional support and opportunities that progress their career.
According to The Society for Human Resource Management, employees who feel they find greater meaning in their work indicate higher levels of job satisfaction. This directly relates to enhanced productivity and lower employee turnover.
Further Actions: provide coaching and mentorship opportunities, offer consistent feedback and performance reviews, support efforts to gain new skills and certifications
Navigating diverse wellbeing needs
After exploring these five aspects, it becomes astonishingly clear how unique and complex employee wellbeing truly is. Employee wellbeing is not just as simple as caring for your employee’s current present state, but rather it encompasses all of the elements that affect who they are, what affects them, and their goals now and in the future.
Just like how every employee is different, every employee will have different levels of concern for each of the five aspects that compose their holistic wellbeing. For example, one employee may prefer to have access to mental health services, whereas another may feel perfectly comfortable with the occasional paid vacation time as a mental break. An employee who is looking for retirement savings options may have very different financial wellbeing goals than a fresh graduate planning to pay off their student loans.
With such variety amongst wellbeing needs, it can make it difficult to navigate what benefits and programs would offer the best support for employees. Just applying one standard set of uniform benefits amongst employees truly ignores their diverse needs, not to mention throws away money on an empty, unusable program.
“I don't need an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for my mental wellbeing. I just need less overtime work, more resources, and an occasional day off,” says a Culturebie survey response.
Our data at Culturebie even suggests that 30-40% of employees are neutral about the benefits their employers currently offer. It’s not because they are not aware about these resources, it’s because there is a mismatch between what's being offered versus what employees truly need.
Being able to provide tailored options to your workforce is critical and that’s where employee listening becomes so important. Without asking your employees, it’s impossible to understand the variety of factors affecting their mental, social, physical, financial, and career wellbeing.
Where to start
With Culturebie, we have the tools to discover what your employees are feeling, allowing us to pinpoint areas that need attention and ensure that their concerns are brought to light. By collecting and analyzing employee surveys, we offer the beginning of your journey to truly meet the diverse needs of your employees’ wellbeing. To learn more about Culturebie, meet with our team for a demo to explore what unique employee insights we can help you uncover.