This Is How Leaders Can Take Employee Well-Being To The Next Level

Skitterphoto; Pexels

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Skitterphoto; Pexels

Skitterphoto; Pexels

More employers are adding exercise programs, office fitness challenges, and mental breaks to their wellness programs in an effort to make the workplace employee-centric, but these initiatives benefit more than just employees. In fact, Xerox’s October survey, Working Well: A Global Survey of Workforce Wellbeing Strategies, found 59 percent of employers are focusing on well-being to improve performance and productivity.

While mental and physical health are crucial aspects of employee well-being, employers are missing out on a few key elements to truly enhance their wellness strategy. There’s more to employee well-being than exercise and deep breathing — here’s where to start:

Ease financial stress

Money woes cause an immense amount of stress. Issues can range from struggling to pay bills to worrying about saving for the future.

An overwhelming 72 percent of adults feel stressed about money at least some of the time, according to Stress In America, a February 2015 report by the American Psychological Association (APA). What’s worse, 22 percent of the respondents also said they experience extreme financial stress. Some even skipped a doctor’s appointment due to financial concerns.

With 50 percent of employees reporting finances have been a distraction at work, according to PwC’s recent Employee Financial Wellness Survey of 1,600 employees, financial issues may be affecting your team’s performance more than you realize.

Tip: Show your employees you understand money is a major source of stress and you’re willing to help by offering financial planning courses and webinars. Schedule a Lunch and Learn with a financial advisor to actively assist employees in easing their financial struggles.

Make mental health a group effort

There’s no doubt short five-minute breaks between tasks or scheduling a half hour for exercise each day is helpful in reducing employee stress, but work stress goes far beyond the office. The harsh reality is employees who are unable to shut down at night thanks to work-related stress are costing businesses more than $63 billion in lost productivity, according to the Journal of Sleep’s Insomnia and the Performance of US Workers.

While employers scramble to make up for this lost productivity, employees aren’t sure where they’re going wrong. The previously mentioned APA report states that 42 percent of adults say they aren’t doing enough or really aren’t sure if they’re doing enough to manage stress.

Tip: Leaders should serve as positive examples for managing work-related stress and anxiety. Having a boss who is constantly stressed or worried about projects only enhances the amount of pressure employees feel. Create wellness programs and initiatives to unite employees in their  mental, well-being journey..

Bring a bit of fun into the office by setting break and meditation accountability groups. Each group should set a daily goal for the amount of time they’ll spend meditating and taking breaks. After chatting regularly for motivation and support throughout the week, have a regular time scheduled where everyone can thoroughly discuss their successes and challenges.

Build healthy relationships

Employees who know their employers have their backs are more willing to put forth extra effort and will feel confident in themselves and their careers. On the other hand, volatile relationships create negative workspaces and affect the well-being of everyone around.

Positive attitudes not only have a huge impact on stress levels, but also nurture productivity. Virgin Pulse’s 2015 Labor of Love: What Employees Love About Work & Ways To Keep The Spark Alive survey found that 60 percent of 1,000 employees surveyed said their relationship with employers positively impacts their focus and productivity.

Tip: Let your team know you have their best interest in mind by regularly checking in on progress, goals, and their overall wellness in the workplace. Implement an open door policy so employees know there’s a safe place for them to discuss any issue or concern. At least once a year, use online surveys to better understand what is working well and where employees need help in bettering productivity, motivation, and well-being.

Don’t forget to encourage employees — and allow co-workers to encourage each other — to build upon the foundation of great working relationships. Find a fun online recognition program where leaders and employees can complement those who are doing exceptionally well.

No matter how you decide to better employee well-being, it’s crucial to find programs and activities that will fit well into your company culture. Openly communicating in brainstorming sessions will allow employees the opportunity to share what they need from leaders. Having an in depth understanding of your team’s needs will help everyone get the most out of the organization’s wellness efforts. .

What employee well-being programs work well for your company? Let us know in the comments below!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It's available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.