8 Elements For A Happier & More Productive Workplace – A Deeper Look At Employee Engagement & Well-BEing

Life impacts people and people’s choices impact their lives, careers and employer’s culture and bottom line.

In today’s corporate climate, Employees – the people who keep businesses in motion and hopefully successful are distracted, situationally or clinically depressed, confused, emotionally/physically/mentally burnt out and are in pain. 

 Their lives are filled with stressful experiences ranging from the “sandwich generation” (those in their late 30’s to mid 40’s who take care of children and aging parents)to addiction and everything in between. Lifestyle and chronic diseases, addiction, absenteeism and unhealthy employees cost U.S. employers billions of dollars each year. An aging workforce and factors like stress, fatigue and depression all impact employers’ medical costs and employees’ productivity. Considering that employees are a major reason why companies succeed or fail, what is an employer to do? 

A majority of today’s employers provide wellness programs as a solution, which is a step in the right direction, but when we look deeper, most wellness programs focus on physical wellness alone and therefore, leaves room for low participation, lack of commitment, follow through and long lasting change.

With a growing interest in mindfulness in mainstream media and within school systems, people are more accepting now than ever before that humans are multidimensional beings and require a holistic approach to well-BEing. Developing a champion mindset, a clear and confident mind while determining and meeting one’s emotional and spiritual needs are what endorses true and long lasting change, from unhealthy to healthy, vibrant habits.

An openness to expand upon a holistic approach can defend against the critical challenges and “hot topics” that keep companies’ stuck in a closed loop, perpetuating the cycle of high costs, an unhappy, unhealthy, and sometimes hostile environment.

Employers and employees benefit greatly when they focus on other key elements of employee well-BEing. There is a substantial gap between what workplaces currently gain from their well-BEing programs and the gains they could achieve if they broadened their approach.

There are 8 essential elements when addressing the body/culture of an organization and the individual employee’s that include the following:

  • mental
  • emotional
  • spiritual
  • physical
  • purpose
  • social
  • financial
  • community. 

These 8 elements allow an understanding into whether people find daily life and work experiences rewarding, have strong and supportive relationships, are financially secure, are proud of their community and living conditions, are physically healthy, effectively rested and are making smart choices about their health.

 “80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress, while 42% say their co-workers need such help.” – American Institute of Stress

“More than 70 percent of United States employers are feeling the direct impact of prescription drug misuse in their workplaces.” – National Safety Council.

Employees can either thrive, struggle or suffer. 

To thrive our well-BEing is strong and consistent in multiple if not all areas of our lives.

To struggle our well-BEing is mediocre and inconsistent in multiple areas of our lives.

To suffer our well-BEing is low and inconsistent in multiple areas of our lives. (Gallup)

In the U.S., 28% of adults aged 18 and older are not thriving in any of the well-BEing elements, while 7% are thriving in at least five. So for every adult who is maximizing their well-BEing potential, there are 13 who have significant room for improvement in one or more elements. (Gallup)

Those that are thriving in their physical well-BEing alone are less than half as likely to exhibit adaptability to change and are 26% less likely to bounce back fully after hardship. (Gallup)

Furthermore, there are just “4% of adults that are thriving in physical wellbeing, but nothing else.” ~ Gallup

Employees who are thriving in physical well-BEing alone still miss 68% more work annually due to poor health, are about 3X more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim, are 5X more likely to seek out a new employer in the next year and are more than 2X as likely to actually change employers. Studies show that 39% of those who are in good physical health, report that they will look for a job with a different organization in the next year, this drops to just 7% among those who are thriving across all 5 or more elements.

We all know that change is part of corporate life, as are restructuring, layoffs, and mergers, etc. When change happens, employers rely on their employees to be resilient and to adapt. When resilience is measured, those who are thriving in five or more well-being elements consistently outperform workers who are thriving in physical well-BEing alone.

Leaders can help create resilience in their culture now by recognizing and embracing the importance of all 8 well-BEing elements and by providing a strong, sustained commitment to well-BEing.

It is a costly mistake when leaders treat well-BEing as just another benefits program or as a “flavor-of-the-month” initiative. In direct comparison, leaders who demonstrate a strong commitment to well-BEing communicate a crystal clear message to all within their organization. (Gallup)

A commitment to well-BEing must be about more than how a business stands to gain from improvements in employee health and retention or other business outcomes. Employees need to feel that leadership authentically cares about their well-BEing, and that their well-BEing and that of their families really matters to the company and that it is fully endorsed by company leaders. 

Enhancement well-BEing programs are more effective and produce greater results when employees understand and internalize what well-BEing is, how they will benefit from a holistic approach. 

We recommend companies regularly audit their wellness initiatives to determine whether employees are participating in and benefiting from them. If they aren’t, it’s vital to find out why and work with an Enhancement benefits consultant to encourage participation so that financial resources remain intact, credibility preserved and a return on investment occurs over all.

Employers can improve their existing initiatives and current results if they enlist a third party consultant with specific knowledge on how to promote their programs to their employees. Expanding wellness programs to enhance employees’ well-BEing in five or more elements can help companies reduce healthcare costs while improving employee performance, health and happiness.

Pamella Horton – Employee Engagement, Enhancement Benefits Consultant

* Statistics resourced from Gallup.

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