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Employee Experience

4 ways to boost your people’s well-being

Enhancing your employees' health and well-being can help them become happier and more resilient. But where do individuals and leaders begin when attempting to understand and improve their people's well-being – as well as their own?

As the world around us continues to change, the bulk of people's thoughts turn to 'well-being.' Many people have suffered a major loss in their sense of well-being as interactions with our loved ones grew fewer (if not non-existent), uncertainty is still the norm, and everyone's physical and mental health continues to be challenged.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

- World Health Organization

On the other hand, there have been times in the previous few years when some of the same people have reported improved levels of well-being. Some people have been forced to slow down, reducing the need to commute to work every day, freeing up time to complete those pesky life admin tasks, exercise, or just relax!

Because work and home life are becoming increasingly linked, it is commonly acknowledged that your personal circumstances and how you feel can alter at any time, regardless of where you think you are in terms of your personal well-being.

“Stress isn't always a bad thing – in moderation, it can improve motivation, efficiency, and cognitive performance. However, excessive stress can lead to burnout”

HR and people team leaders have turned their attention to well-being while working to support their employees. There's little doubt that enhancing their employees' health and well-being can help them become healthier individuals and better position their company to withstand the current challenges and beyond.

Unfortunately, our recent research has found that 27% of people we spoke with said that their manager doesn’t support their work-life balance. And more worrying, more than half (58%) of people say their job is the main source of their mental health challenges.

But where do individuals and leaders begin when attempting to understand and improve their own and other people's well-being?

Let’s begin by answering these questions…

What is well-being?

At Qualtrics we use The World Health Organization’s definition, which is: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Why focus on well-being?

A healthy sense of well-being is essential because it aids in reducing the negative effects of stress. Stress isn't always a bad thing – in moderation, it can improve motivation, efficiency, and cognitive performance. Excessive stress, on the other hand, combined with a lack of well-being, can lead to poor health and burnout.

What impacts well-being?

Demands and resources are two competing factors that influence how well your people can navigate the stresses of the workplace and home. When demands outnumber resources, the result can be stress and fatigue. These depleted resources result in lower levels of well-being, affecting employees in a number of ways:

  • Poorer working relationships between colleagues
  • Less trust in managers and senior leaders
  • Increased absenteeism and presenteeism (when employees are present but less productive due to poor well-being)
  • Work not being completed effectively and to a high standard
  • Poorer health outcomes (i.e. lack of sleep, burnout)

As part of our Well-being at Work solution we have focused on 4 areas that we know have a big impact on how we manage workplace demands and resources. These 4 areas are:

1. Alignment

Having a good level of alignment between the individual, their role, and the organization as a whole can help to mitigate work pressure. Feeling a sense of belonging, having career opportunities, and believing your job makes excellent use of your skills and abilities are all part of achieving alignment. Employees have the best chance of feeling connected to their work and the business if these conditions are created, and they are less likely to feel overwhelmed by their roles, which can result in harmful pressures.

2. Support 

Having the right support system in place is essential for maintaining a good level of well-being and managing stress in general. Managerial support is critical in the workplace for employees to achieve healthy levels of well-being. It's crucial to know how employees feel about the availability of ongoing support, from managers, as well as the business as a whole (i.e. services, information & resources).

3. Resilience

Well-being and resilience go hand in hand. 'Resilience' refers to a person's predispositions or attributes that enable them to cope with job pressures and, as a result, manage their well-being. These predispositions are mostly subjective perceptions, such as perceived goal achievement, ability to gain mastery knowledge from previous experiences, and self-confidence in one's ability to succeed.

4. Balance

When we think of 'balance,' we think of how well a person can cope with the demands of work that necessitate long-term effort. An employee's workload becomes negative only when the workload's expectations and pressures surpass the individual's available resources and capacity to meet them. When these expectations surpass resources, undesirable health effects such as stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout are common.

The HR leader's guide to creating a culture of well-being

How you can take action

In order to make a genuine and long-term difference in employee well-being, action must be taken at all levels of the business.

Our Well-being at Work solution includes validated survey questions as well as best practices for sharing and acting on individual employee, team and organizational results.

Unlike other frameworks, we believe that putting the individual at the center of any well-being programme is critical.

Change is impossible if a person cannot reflect on their own personal well-being and feel empowered to act. With this in mind, our solution includes a personalized report for each employee that offers best-practice advice on how to improve their individual well-being.

To guarantee that improvements are made at every level of the business, a team and organizational reporting dashboard is also offered, along with best practices that a people manager can take to improve team well-being (while protecting individual employee privacy).

Take action now to start improving your people's well-being