The 4 Pillars of Personal Wellbeing – Category 6

Employee Engagement – Personal Wellbeing 

Everyone wants their team to feel great – why wouldn’t you? Seeing people beaming at you from across the room brightens your day and lets you know you’re doing something right. 

And keeping your team well does more than just giving your workplace some positive energy – when your employees are thriving in their lives, productivity goes up and burnout goes down. 

And when an average of 15-20% total payroll is spent on people leaving due to burnout, why wouldn’t you do what you can to stop your employees from feeling it? 

To help you keep your employees feeling their best outside of work, we’ve split the Personal Wellbeing category into 4 pillars that you’ve got the power to improve. 

Pillar 1 – Finances 

Money’s awkward to talk about. It’s awkward to say you’ve got a lot and it’s awkward to say you haven’t got enough. So to make sure your employees are never having secret money troubles, it’s really important to make sure you’re looking out for their financial wellbeing. 

There’s a lot of talk these days about paying a living wage, something that covers all your basic needs. But if your employees are just about covering their expenses and they’re not able to save some extra money for a rainy day fund, they’re likely to feel pretty hopeless. Depressingly enough, this is the case for tonnes of us Brits – 41% of us don’t have enough savings to live for even a month without income, and 9% don’t have any savings at all.

“Raises all round!” is something every great boss would love to say, but in reality, that isn’t often practical. But if there’s no room in your budget for that right now, fear not! There are a few other ways you can help. 

You could think about giving your team early-wage access to stop them from racking up debt throughout the month, or holding financial planning classes for your employees who feel a little lost. And for your employees who get a bit existential about what their lives are going to look like in a few decades, introducing a digital retirement programme could provide some reassurance.

These kinds of stress-avoidance initiatives are a no-brainer if you want your team to come into work feeling calm and collected. Not only could you make your employees feel better, but you could also improve their performance; because when people aren’t viewing their job as a lifeline, they’ll be more comfortable pitching their big ideas  and giving their honest opinions. 

Pillar 2 – Health  

When people are healthy and happy, their solo performance shoots up, and they’re more likely to help their colleagues out just by creating a positive atmosphere. If you’re already a kale-and-smoothies kinda person and you already feel the benefits of a healthier lifestyle coursing through your veins, then you know what I’m on about, and you might already be tempted to try converting all your employees into a wellness cult. 

But it’s useful to remember that health is a spectrum, and where one person is comfortable falling on it will be unique to them. With that in mind, the goal here should be to encourage a healthy lifestyle rather than to enforce it. 

Take exercise. Exercise is great, right? It proven to give you a boost of energy and concentration that puts you in a better mood and a clearer state of mind. Simply, it makes you feel better, and helps you work better. But being mindful of how you implement exercise-based initiatives is crucial in making sure they benefit your team. Be sure to focus on the mental and physical health benefits of exercise, as opposed to changes in physical appearance.

So when you’ve hatched a plan for a great health initiative that focuses on all the right things, how do you get the most out of it? You make sure that you and the rest of your leadership team are getting stuck in too. Getting involved gives your team the go-ahead to take part themselves, and if you bond a bit more along the way, that’s got to be great for everyone – including the business. 

Sick of talking about stuff that makes you sweat? Same! Luckily, there’s some lower effort ways of improving health through the workplace, like encouraging people to take breaks so they don’t burn out, investing in ergonomic chairs and other equipment, and stressing the importance of self-care. 

I’ll be the first to admit that this pillar sounds like a bit of a snowflake rant, but if you’re getting this stuff right, you’re likely to see a difference in how your employees are feeling in themselves and towards your company. This study showed that when companies are committed to well-being initiatives, 89% of their employees said they were likely to recommend them as a good place to work. Imagine 9 out of 10 of your employees getting their friends to send you a CV! 

Pillar 3 – Balance

‘Work-life balance’ is a much shunted around phrase that just means we all want to enjoy the important stuff outside of work. But having the room to do that isn’t just down to the time split between work and pleasure; it’s also about how balanced you feel at work. When your work life itself is stable, it’s a lot easier to switch off when you clock out and give your free time your full attention. 

So how do you make your employees’ work lives stable? A study by Gallup found that when realistic performance goals are set, employees are 2.4 times more likely to strongly agree that they have a good work-life balance. 

Talking to your employees about what you expect of them and how they’re dealing with their workload are great ways to make sure you’re setting realistic goals that give people a sense of challenge and accomplishment. I’m sure we’ve all had days where we walk out of work in a state of despair having failed to complete an impossible list of tasks, versus days when we’ve left feeling proud of what we’ve done and positive about tomorrow. I don’t have to tell you which makes for a more present and enjoyable evening. 

And if you are in the position to give people things like flexi-time, remote working and unlimited time off, these things could really help avoid burnout. Plus, flexibility is one of the top perks people say they would change jobs for according to this study

Finally, one last thing to think about is whether your employees are able to support their family while they’re working at your company. Ask yourself whether your schedules allow for the school pickup, or if you could run some sort of onsite daycare or a childcare support scheme. Because when your workplace is family-friendly, it takes some strain off your employees and means they’re more likely to be able to plan a future with your company in it.

Pillar 4 – Taking a Break  

Okay, so this one actually is about the ‘life’ bit of work-life balance. Everybody needs a holiday, even if it’s just to clock a few more hours on Netflix. But asking for time off can be difficult if you’ve got a lot on your plate, and you’re worried about letting people down.

In fact, 28% of employees surveyed in 2020 said they didn’t use their PTO that year because they were scared of being fired or hurting their chances of a promotion. Quite sad, right? Also quite counterintuitive, since people who take all of their holiday time actually have a 6.5% higher chance of being promoted or getting a raise (compared to those who leave 11+ days of PTO untaken.)

Getting away from the monotony of your daily life decreases your stress levels and increases your creativity and brainpower – so it’s no wonder that regular holidays go hand in hand with high performers!

And that doesn’t just go for your employees. If you’re not taking breaks yourself, you’re going to be getting just as burnt out as they are. Take a week off! You’ve earned it. (and get your staff to do the same).

That’s about it for Personal Wellbeing, thanks for sticking with us! If you haven’t already, feel free to check out any of our other Categories blogs. See you on the flip flop. 

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