Taking care of your people is taking care of your business. When people are healthy, respected, and cared for, it results in higher productivity, engagement, innovation, and customer satisfaction. Why is employee well-being so important? Should leaders take responsibility for the health of their team members?
Employee well-being is key to business success. If companies want people to deliver at a top level, their employees also need to be at their best. Can we expect more companies to invest in well-being programmes?
According to a report by Deloitte, 84% of employees have experienced symptoms of poor mental health where work was a contributing factor. What does this mean for employers? This means that employees don’t deliver to their best or they need to take time off work.
There’s not much research about the return on investment of employee well-being programs, but SAP reports indicated that a 1% increase in business health culture index impacted their operating profit by between €90 and €100 million. Major companies such as Google, Apple, Nike and Aetna all take employee well-being seriously. They all invest in mindfulness programmes.
Aetna research found that a quarter of its work-force participated in at least one mindfulness class. Those who attended experienced
28% reduction in stress levels.
20% improvement in sleep quality.
19% reduction in occupationally related pain.
They also became more effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity.
Employee health benefits should go much further than a free gym membership.
Work-related stress, depression or anxiety
The rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety has increased in recent years. In 2017, it was reported that 15.4 million working days were lost because of this.
Long term stress and depression can lead to burn out. A recent Gallup study of nearly 7.500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out very often or always, an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes.
Mental health is still a big taboo. People are afraid to discuss this issue with their line managers because of fear they can be seen as weak, incompetent or become a centre of unwanted attention from colleagues. Managers don’t feel comfortable discussing it as they often lack the knowledge or experience.
It’s important to focus on work-life balance. Overworked and stressed employees make more mistakes. However for some people a mistake can be fatal. You can have a job which involves “only” working on a computer and commuting to the office. Imagine working long hours regularly, driving every day for at least 1 hour each direction. How focused are you while driving back home?
Top companies try to provide an environment and culture which supports an employees private life, well being and social life. It’s often the workplace that most fosters a culture that promotes or harms health.
A Delloite report showed that 76% of line managers believed that employee wellbeing was solely the employees’ responsibility. I believe that we are going to see more managers who will be role models for a balanced lifestyle in the near future. They will encourage their teams to follow suit.
A great leader will want to keep themselves and their team healthy. This is crucial for high team performance. It’s important to educate leaders on what healthy leadership means:
The business impact of employee health and well-being.
How to encourage your team to have a healthy work-life balance.
Encourage an environment where employees discuss ways to keep healthy, engaged and happy at work.
Understand the wider definition of health and well-being encompassing satisfaction at work and a sense of purpose.
Recognise how healthy behaviours tie into leadership principles and support employee engagement in different programs.
The mental health of your team.
In the future, more companies (even small and medium sized) will implement well-being programmes, promote a balanced lifestyle and company culture that promotes well-being and health of their employees. As a consequence, their employees will see opportunities, where others see problems. They are engaged. Healthy and engaged employees will move companies to the next level.
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