Why employee wellbeing should be your number 1 priority
Published on : 12 Oct. 2020
A great employee is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.
We’ve probably all heard the phrase at some point in our working lives. Or perhaps read articles about “unicorn employees”, that near-mythical being who is talented, dedicated, hardworking and team player all at once.
Employers are constantly on the lookout for these perfect candidates, who will come in, like a breath of fresh air and reinvigorate the workforce with their positive attitude and sunny demeanour.
But what if we’re missing a trick? What if the key to reinvigorating your workforce doesn’t lie with fresh blood; the fabled (and likely fictitious) perfect candidate, but is actually already within your existing team? What if a great employee doesn’t need to be found, but formed?
So what’s the secret to creating a team full of four-leaf clovers? We think it’s simple:
Studies show that, on average, 26% of an organisation’s workforce is actively disengaged. Actively disengaged employees are unhappy, unproductive likely to spread negativity to co-workers. If what you’re looking for is a team full of unicorns, this type of worker is undoubtedly your poisoned chalice.
In fact, disengagement is costing UK businesses £52-£70 Billion per year in lost productivity. And it’s not just low productivity; disengagement leads to low morale in the workplace, poor customer service, more sick leave, and higher staff turnover. In short, this is a ticking timebomb for your organisation, with each disengaged employee costing you, on average, £2500 for every £7500 of their salary.
And that’s where employee wellbeing comes in.
Every time we board an aeroplane, we’re reminded that, in the event of an emergency, we must put our own oxygen mask on before trying to help someone else. This is just as true in our day to day working lives.
If our employees are able to look after themselves, and come to work feeling happy and fulfilled, they’re going to do a better job of looking after their colleagues, customers, clients and patients. By prioritising wellbeing and cultivating joy in the workplace, you’re ensuring their needs are met; you’re making a bold statement that you trust them with your organisation, you want to invest in them because you appreciate and value them.
And very quickly these small changes begin to make a huge difference to the work place.
Productivity goes up, service improves, people move from problem-making to problem-solving. Work becomes enjoyable, staff feel appreciated, and so their morale goes up, and they work better with others.
Here are five simple starting points to improve wellbeing at work:
Your team know more about their jobs than you do. No one knows better than they how to improve their working conditions, how to make systems more efficient and, often, how to implement cost cutting measures. By asking them for their thoughts and ideas, you are tapping into a huge wealth of knowledge, whilst also making sure your employees feel valued, trusted and appreciated.
Send out employee surveys, run an employee suggestion scheme, or schedule in regular team and one to one meetings.
It’s important not just to make a show of listening, but to do something with what you’ve heard. Of the ideas you’ve been given by your team members, which can you implement quickly? What can be put into a programme of change? How much can you action?
Let your team know that you’re acting on their ideas will boost their sense of value and their overall morale.
People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. And most specifically, managers that don’t give them the recognition they deserve. A Harvard Business Review study recently showed that the number one reason employees jump ship is a lack of recognition in their roles, and it also has the largest impact on employee engagement. And yet 74% of employees say that they rarely or never receive praise from their managers.
Take the time to celebrate the achievements of your team – recognition certificates, long service awards, and team events are opportunities to say well done for their hard work.
4) Be flexible
Employees increasingly value flexibility from their employers. Even small gestures can make a huge difference. For many, working from home is becoming part of the new normal, but even for those roles where that isn’t an option, flexibility is still possible. Options such as the ability to shift swap, buy and sell holiday days, phased returns after leave and phased retirement, on-site childcare, or job sharing.
Giving your staff members the opportunity to improve their work/ life balance will lead to fewer sick days, and longer service.
5) Play to their strengths
Each member of your team has their own particular set of skills, their own strengths and weaknesses. Whilst we all need to work on improving our weaker skills, the last thing you want to do is to put your employees in boxes into which they don’t fit. Let them flourish by setting them on projects that allow their talents to shine.
You don’t want your talented sales team, or your busy finance team to have to interrupt their flow of work to clean their workstations!
At Samsic UK, we can help to make sure your employees are happy, healthy, and focused on their work. Whether it’s supporting your organisation’s flexible working policy with locking and unlocking services, lone worker support, or keyholing innovations, or whether it’s providing clean, healthy, and attractive workspaces, we’ll be there to help your organisation to shine, and bring a boost to your employee wellbeing.