How to promote a culture of employee wellbeing in your workplace

Written by Gerrit Brouwer

Gerrit is a SaaS HR Tech and employee wellbeing entrepreneur with a true passion for People and Technology. He has a diverse background working in the military, the enterprise world and the last 10 years as a startup CEO and SaaS sales specialist for people technology companies. Co-founded Keypath in 2019 as employee well-being platform. He is coaching startup and scale up founders to better deal with stress from investors and family related matters whilst still scaling their business.

5 ways to contribute to the employee experience

First and foremost there is an epidemic problem globally, that correlates to the state of employee wellbeing sitting at an alarming all-time low. According to a study done by Cushman & Wakefield, over 76% of the employees are struggling with their wellbeing leading to high levels of stress. Whilst stress can be driven by various situations such as life events or financial challenges to name a few. It is noteworthy to mention that stress is in a majority of situations caused by structural circumstances like organisational changes, excessive workloads or job pressures, and emotional disturbances with conflicts. Let’s not forget our current 24/7 work mindset, where people are “switched on” for too long when their manager is checking via Whatsapp, calling in the late evening or sending messages through their Enterprise Social Network.

Did you know that 40% of the millennials is experiencing financial stress?

Of course, there are many more causes for high-stress situations, but the question that keeps sticking around is: why are organisations prioritising individual job performance while neglecting the real problem, which is employee health.

Healthy is the new happy

You can not talk about an Employee Experience if your team is facing presenteeism, absenteeism and above-average sickness ratios (and don’t say we have that covered) because of stress. In our opinion, it is not about avoiding stress but about how to respond to it.  Employee wellbeing will play a vital role in helping companies across the globe to better connect to their employee experience and to realize its full potential and help to make the workforce more sustainable.

Every day your employees are struggling to cope with the high demands of their jobs and their private life. A true balancing act. We have listed 5 key examples that organizations already can start to embrace from now on.

1. Lead by EXAMPLE

Leaders of teams, business, small or big, listed companies or startups like ours, have the unique opportunity to demonstrate the right behavior towards the employees and inspire them. No, it is not about your employees simply having facetime in the office behind their screens and demanding them to just be in the office. This so-called presenteeism is so 2000s.

It starts with your own routine by paying attention to your own health first and stimulating employees to go out for a run or do walking meetings. Create a solid own routine and surprise your employees with it, they will love it and initiatives like office planking sessions before lunch (not after 😉 or boot camp at the end of the workday are a great alternative for drinking outside.

2. Stimulate your internal “influencers”

You will have this group of employees in your team for sure. They share their ideas and opinions through Instagram for instance and their initiatives within your team or company. They need to be given a podium to accelerate your culture of wellbeing. They will breathe your energy and will organise the after-hours events. Let’s not forget the importance of your own internal support network within your company. They might be the best coach or person to speak with when you are experiencing stress or when you are in trouble for instance with private challenges (divorce, health problems, kids, etc.). Don’t forget in job interviews that the person sitting in front of you might be such an influencer. They are precious people and bring a ton of impact.

Providing your internal influencers with a podium will stimulate your culture of wellbeing and your employer brand in the long run

3. Reward people by being vulnerable and not just their performance

It is not a surprise that sharing underlying personal and work-related problems are not something for everyone, it can simply be too confronting or personal. However, you can also change the stigma here to reward employees in case they are helping other employees. Think about that, what it will do for the health of your team if a colleague helps out someone who has been in stormy grey weather. Also, appreciate vulnerability, and yes that’s a long shot, but promoting a culture of wellbeing will go hand in hand with being open and transparent and rewarding also vulnerability.

Connecting the various generations internally will already make a big difference. Some colleagues have been through hardships in their life and can offer a helping hand

4. Communication of your wellbeing programs

Bigger companies, especially overseas have a multitude of wellbeing programs in place such as a subscription to a local health club, free massage at work, contribution to your monthly health insurance, and many more. Though it can be a jungle to find out what your company is already doing around wellbeing, it makes a ton of sense to include an overview of the initiatives, benefits, and perks already in the new hire integration or as part of your own intranet. Whilst in several enterprises wellbeing is included in the portfolio of HR or a dedicated employer benefits team, it will still have the risk that wellbeing is overshadowed by other tasks and responsibilities.

Have your influencers as your focal point for everything related to wellbeing is a big winner

5. Be Exclusive and inclusive

In line with your own internal communication efforts, it is key to differentiate yourself as an employer. It will allow you to gain a competitive advantage when compared to other employers.

Wellbeing is for everyone, not just for the few the proud, companies should make sure their group is as inclusive as possible. If you are spearheading the creation of a support group, it is your responsibility to make sure every employee gets the message that they are being heard and taken care of by your company. By including everybody, taking out the potential thresholds (re communication and traditional cultural behaviour), having an open door, your employees will be aligned for achieving that one common goal: contributing to your business and organisation in the long run and letting your workplace truly thrive.

Communicate what your company is already doing about wellbeing on your company career page. It will allow you to gain a competitive advantage

About Keypath. Our Story.

A winter vacation inspiration …

While having downtime in the frigid cold city of Toronto, Canada, Keypath started with nothing more than a mutual belief.

Our encounter with work-related stress and fatigue shaped the belief in putting employees’ physical and mental wellbeing first especially while they spend the bulk of their day and their lives in the workplace. We believe that employers have a civilized duty to keep their employees physically and mentally healthy.  Wellbeing is for everyone and that is what we want to support with our technology and our support every day.

Why do performance surveys and employee evaluation get priority while physical and mental health often get neglected?

These are the challenges we look to overcome and as a result changing the workplace standard of wellbeing. With Keypathhealthy will become the new happy.  

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