Creating a Strategy of Well-Being: Enhance Employee Satisfaction, Engagement, and Experience

24 May


We all want to be at our best and succeed, including our employees. We also want them to feel inspired to be fully present at work. So how do we do this? We encourage wellness activities that employees can own and drive, we create creative employee incentives for employees to realize…but what else could we be missing?

First let’s examine these perspectives:

  • In a 24-hour day, we spend approximately eight hours at work, eight hours sleeping, and eight hours spending time with family, having fun, eating, and relaxing.
  • Studies show that 8 out of 10 adults wish they could improve their quality of sleep.
  • Eight out of 10 adults cite they have experienced burnout at a current or former job.

Using sleep and relaxation as an example, we do everything from counting sheep to extensive sleep studies to improve quality of sleep. We have endless conversations about how we sleep, don’t sleep, and wish we could sleep. When you wake up from a great night of sleep, you talk about it and try to replicate that experience. We encourage sleep as a self- care and wellness activity. Let’s face it, sleep is good! As part of strategy, we have talked about the benefits of sleep to our employees. But there is more!

More perspective:

  • The 1990s brought forth feng shui with colors, materials, and furniture layout to create a more peaceful office environment.
  • Since then, we have seen a multitude of creative benefit offerings to improve employee well-being with many worksites offering gyms and fitness classes.
  • Phenomenal tools to help improve team building, such as psychological profiles, personality tests, and communication styles.
  • Quizzes to garner significant knowledge about individual temperaments relative to the overall team.
  • Wellness initiatives and programs around health, mental, spiritual, and social aspects.
  • Safety experts help keep us out of harm’s way and ensure we are ergonomically sound.
  • And again, so much more…what is next?

From sleep perspectives to new and trendy employee programs through the decades, what if we, as leaders and organizations, spent time, energy, and effort determining how our employees could be more satisfied and fulfilled at work—the other missing part on strategy of well-being? When you think about your best day at work, you also want to replicate that experience again. Let’s focus on isolating how we drive to the “best” within our parameters of control.

  • Enhancing employee satisfaction and overall well-being would increase retention rates, customers’ satisfaction, and business revenue, while decrease turnover rates.

So, where do we start? Where is the other side of the strategy for employee well-being? Every interaction is an opportunity and leaders are part of that strategy—this is how:

  1. Spend time really getting to know each of your direct reports. This requires more routine and consistent communication than afforded through the formal annual performance evaluation process.
  2. Ask questions, such as “Why did they choose to come work for you? What are their short- and long-term professional and personal goals? What positive/negative experiences did they have working for their prior employer? What are their hobbies?”
  3. What stressors do they experience outside the workforce? Be mindful that this is a tricky question – but understanding their time spent in the bucket of “eight hours of family, having fun, eating, and relaxing” is helpful to see the full picture.
  4. What do they consider to be their strengths and weaknesses? Who is their favorite author? Knowing this information can help you guide them in their personal development plan.
  5. Favorite meal or meal restrictions? This creates inclusion and belonging, especially at your next team event or one-on-one meeting.
  6. Actively listen and take notes when ask how things are going so they know you truly care about them as an individual. (Hint: Minimize distractions during one-on-one conversations. Turn off your cell phone and email notifications.)
  7. Be a mentor and help them grow their career, even if it means their next career may be moving on to a new employer or industry. For example, do they dream of being a teacher or learning a new language? Find ways to support their passions.
  8. What scheduling options can you offer to accommodate commutes to school, pick up/ drop off kids, and/ or manage their life? As much as business necessity will allow, offer flexibility. This one can be tough to implement, and business needs should reign supreme, but is it possible to allow for a longer lunch break so your employee can check in on a loved one, take their dog for a walk, or schedule a workout?
  9. Allow them to get to know you. Being open, honest and a bit vulnerable can go a long way in building and establishing a true long-term professional relationship. Tell stories, share advice, and relay lessons learned.
  10. Determine how your employees best receive recognition. The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White is extremely impactful and can provide you with insight as to how each of your employees receives encouragement and appreciation. Going out of your way to find gifts and schedule the potluck lunches may make the “tangible gift” individual super happy, but the individual who prefers words of affirmation, may consider the potluck a waste of time. How much further would your efforts be received if you were able to customize your approach based on individuals’ language of appreciation? 
  11. Ask your employees to “describe their best day at work.” If they don’t have an answer, ask them to describe what they think would be their best day at work. After employing some getting-to-know-you techniques, keep asking this question. Wouldn’t it be great if their “best day” was every day, or even getting better!
  12. Lastly, have fun! Creating an enjoyable environment will lead to lowering stress levels and ultimately improve overall well-being.

Employee well-being requires a thorough strategy that encompasses all facets of their lives. If you’re looking to explore ways to expand your benefit offerings, VensureHR is your ideal partner. From informational webinars that cover general wellness tips to full-suite benefit options to explore, VensureHR can not only provide you the benefits you need to support your employees but also have benefits specialists to help guide you every step of the way.

Tammy Dawson, Global AVP Client Development
HR Guru and Leader of Client Service and People

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