5 Things to Remember About Employee Well-Being

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Employees at The Motley Fool enjoy a lot of awesome perks, specifically centered on wellness. Between annual health fairs, active clubs, and subsidized massages, they enjoy working in a culture focused on employee well-being.

It’s not surprising to see the value of building a culture around good health. To put it simply, happier, healthier employees are better employees. As Gallup’s October 2015 study found, they miss less work — engaged employees with substantial well-being miss 70 percent fewer workdays due to poor health.

On a bigger scale, companies often enjoy higher valuation thanks to their focus on employee well-being. In fact, a January 2016 study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that socially responsible companies that invest in the health and well-being of their workers demonstrate a higher market valuation than those that don’t.

However, when it comes time to build your culture around employee well-being, you need to focus on educating employees and making it an individualized, proactive approach. LifeWorks released an infographic exploring how employers can enable their staff to better manage their stress and how to make employee well-being a priority.

You play an active role in enabling employees to be healthier and in creating a health-centric culture, but it’s not as easy as hanging posters and providing apples in the breakroom. Successfully building a healthy workplace culture requires more strategy and commitment.

So, here are five things you need to remember about employee well-being:

1. It’s a Daily Practice

Set-it-and-forget-it strategies fail quickly. Your mindset needs to change. Just like training for a marathon, building a culture around employee well-being is a daily practice.

Start by making awareness your top priority. Your staff needs to know about healthy habits and techniques they can adopt to better manage their health.

Create awareness campaigns that start everyone’s day with health tips. These are your ‘daily do’s.’ They should be simple, actionable techniques your staff can adopt that help with stress management, nutrition, fitness, and other wellness related topics.

For example, guide them in a five-minute stretch session that everyone can do at their desk.

2. It’s Holistic

Think beyond step challenges and walking meetings. To approach well-being from a broader, more effective angle, create themed campaigns that incorporate mental health as well as physical health tips.

What’s surprising is the prevalence of mental health issues. In fact, Mental Health America’s 2017 survey found that one in five adults live with a mental health condition, which totals more than 40 million adult Americans.

Chances are, your employees are living with a common condition, such as depression or anxiety. Break the stigmas surrounding mental health so employees feel supported and comfortable addressing their condition in and out of the workplace.

For example, establish employee resource groups (ERGs) that allow your staff to team up and openly discuss their conditions. This way, employees who live with issues like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can feel understood in group discussions and help one another with positive coping skills.

3. It’s Tied to Performance

Employee well-being can be hurt if you’re not providing feedback and showing employees the value of their performance. Unfortunately, as Leadership IQ’s research from September 2016 found, only 45 percent of employees frequently or always know if they’re doing a good job.

If you leave your staff guessing, they may be left worrying about whether they’re meeting expectations, which adds a lot of stress. Instead, you want employees to feel recognized for their accomplishments and valued for their hard work.

Start a recognition program that is easy for managers and all levels of employees to engage in. Internal social networks make this simple because they empower employees to participate on an ongoing basis. Just a simple shout-out in a company chat room can really boost employee morale.

Each week, appoint a ‘well-being warrior’ who exemplifies company values and who actively participates in awareness campaigns and challenges.

These warriors can be leading in competitions, sharing healthy recipes, or educating others on fun fitness routines. Regardless of how they do it, they are leading your culture and should be recognized for it.

4. It’s Everywhere

Work martyrdom is easy to fall into because employees will often take on too much work out of fear of losing their job or not being enough for their boss. The best way to minimize this is by integrating well-being into every aspect of your employees’ lives.

Their focus on healthy habits shouldn’t stop when they clock out. You failed your staff if you see them disregarding ‘daily do’s’ and eating lunch at their desk. While they should be working hard to meet their deadlines, they should also be building in time to relax and take proper care of their body and their mind.

Create a stress-free environment for work by providing a relaxation room and allowing employees to personalize their work stations — but don’t stop there.

Educate employees on managing their health at home as well. Create an ebook library of educational resources they can explore. These ebooks can cover fitness, nutrition, stress management, productivity, and other similar topics.

Also, provide health tracking journals to enable them to track their food, exercise, and sleep. Then encourage employees to team up with accountability groups so they stay on top of their health tracking.

5. It Starts At the Bottom

Don’t make your culture strategy a stuffy corporate initiative. If it’s merely a directive from bosses, your culture will fall flat.

You want your employees to get excited about their own health. So, invest in technology to engage and inspire all your teams. For example, use your internal social network to create group chats and fuel fun competitions. Employees can use this chat to encourage each other or have fun talking smack to their opponents.

Many organizations steep their entire culture in employee well-being by getting all levels on board. Companies like Fitbit provide free classes and host step challenges. These awesome perks are hard to pass up.

Equip employees with fitness trackers to help them measure fitness and nutrition and to compete in health competitions. Also, appoint a ‘health crew’ of employees from all levels to host fun workshops and to encourage quick workout breaks throughout the office.

Building a culture is a complicated endeavor. However, when you approach it with the right mindset and develop your strategy, you’re setting your workforce up for success.

How are you building a culture around employee well-being?