BusinessDay

Caring for your people (1)

This is a strange topic here in Nigeria. Often, employers just want staff to get on with it. However, a workplace where wellbeing is valued as much as performance is, there are decreased stress levels.

Organisations are trying to embrace flexible work hours, put pension plans, and income protection in place. They put health insurance, life insurance, gym discounts, sick leave and so on in place. Establish office fellowships, coaching sessions, counselling services, parental leave schemes, sabbaticals, and so on in place.

Organisations are increasingly relying on benefits like these to boost employee wellbeing. This makes employers feel confident that their staff will gain a better work-life balance and feel more positive about their jobs and workplace. It is well known that employees experience symptoms of job burnout for reasons ranging from poor management to an unmanageable workload to unfair treatment at work.

Unfortunately, despite all the perks and activities planned, employees do still get overly stressed at work. This negatively impacts both their mental and physical health.

Sometimes, they may request sick leave to disconnect from their duties and recover. In other cases, struggling with bandwidth and work commitments, they might feel an extra urge to work even despite feeling under the weather. These issues do not only affect individual wellbeing, but also the business through decreased productivity and performance.

The employee wellbeing definition refers to the state of employees’ mental and physical health, resulting from dynamics within – and sometimes outside – the workplace. These include their relationships with colleagues, use of tools and resources, larger business decisions that impact them and their work, and many other factors.

As stated above, securing employee wellness leads to more productivity, higher employee morale, better talent, and improved CRM. Employee wellbeing boosts productivity and performance because when they feel well, they display healthier behaviours and better decision-making. They feel more competent and valued when their needs are met at all levels, including physical, mental, and financial.

When an organisation has a good reputation in the market as an employer who respects and supports work-life balance, they are more likely to attract skilled candidates and retain existing employees for longer periods.

Finally, happy employees are the best brand ambassadors. If they are treated well, that positive energy will pass on to the customers. Those employees will be motivated to understand how the products and services best serve customer needs.

However, based on several business examples, even when most of these aids are generously offered by employers, employees can still experience stress at work. Organisations should therefore not perceive and face this problem as solely benefit-related, as it is more complicated than that.

The most common stressors that can negatively impact wellbeing at work are leadership style, workload, reduced or no social support, clarity of task and a lack of external/internal motivation.

There is a saying that employees quit bosses, not jobs. A poor management style can increase employee stress massively. Take micromanagement, having to explain every single nut and bolt of your daily task deliveries to your manager is inefficient and exhausting. It can also make the employee feel incompetent and unreliable.

Read also: Inflation: Innovative strategies employers can adopt to help employees

Employees with heavy workloads due to understaffing or urgent business needs often get very stressed trying to meet deadlines. With less time to work on valuable projects, they often compensate for quality, and they worry that their results are inadequate. Helplessness, doubt, and fatigue are the top feelings in such conditions.

In order to thrive, employees need to be in a supportive environment that puts a positive value on effective collaboration and individual contributions. When competition is high and performance is always compared to one’s peers, a lack of self-esteem and toxic relationships arise, and can be difficult to resolve quickly.

Guidance in the form of training or mentoring, whether it’s practical (e.g. how to use a specific tool) or goal-oriented (e.g. what the end goal of a project is) is vital for employees to get the job done. Without clarity in work, employees feel confused and struggle in determining priorities or setting smart goals.

We sometimes overlook that work should be a positive experience; employees are not merely reinforced by their pay to keep up the good work. The more they enjoy what they do and take pride in it, the better results they will deliver. So, if most of their daily tasks are boring, they might feel less motivated to go the extra mile.

This list is not all inclusive. Each employee has a different background and not everyone is driven by the same incentives and events. For instance, some people find working in a competitive environment exhilarating, chasing bonus after bonus with excitement, while others would simply burn out in such an atmosphere.

Finally, common personal issues outside the workplace (for example, a pregnancy, a relationship conflict, a death of a loved one, moving house, an illness in the family, the list is almost endless.) may also indirectly affect employee wellbeing.

Background, preference, and personal factors indicate the complex nature of employee wellbeing. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to perfectly control all essential wellbeing elements because every single case is unique. However, you can take steps to ensure a healthy work environment for your employees.

Successful health and wellness programs can lead to core benefits such as sales growth and high employee engagement. The outstanding factor in a successful employee wellbeing program is having a work culture that prioritizes wellbeing.

Now that you know this crucial ingredient of the successful wellbeing formula, how can you create such a culture?

Have a great weekend

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