The Value of Employee Well-Being CEO Insights 03-17-2021 By Jim Steinlage President & Chief Executive Officer Table of Contents To Everyone’s Benefit Giving Employees the Environment to Succeed Building a Culture of Happiness Understanding the Purpose, Mission, and Important Company Goals A company and its culture are only as healthy as the team that comprises it. Many people, because of the shift to more in-home and remote working, aren’t exercising their minds, bodies, and spirits adequately. Organizations have increased pressure to do more with fewer resources. Technology, which everyone praises for the flexibility it offers, can be a double-edged sword. For many workers it seems to have just extended their workday. Yes, for some, believe it or not, the commute time was a chance to break and have quiet meditation and spiritual time. Walking to work, going out for lunch or even just taking the stairs at the office got workers up and out of their workspace where now some may be sitting for hours at a time, and then ending the day with a home-delivered meal. Oftentimes, all of this is happening with no personal interaction with other humans other than through digital processes. More than half of employees reported struggling with their physical wellbeing, and that was all before a pandemic turned workplaces and workforces upside down. Since April of 2020, adults in the U.S. have demonstrated depression and anxiety at twice the rate of the previous year. To help employees cope and bring things in check, businesses must adopt wellbeing initiatives to help employees manage new complexities and pressures. Companies are finding ways to use technology to not only facilitate remote work but to help employees engage with their work in meaningful ways, giving them a sense of purpose and belonging. To Everyone’s Benefit Decreased wellbeing takes a toll on employees’ physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional growth and happiness. All of this anguish doesn’t stop and get shut off when employees start their work; it hurts companies’ performance as well. For maximum productivity, a person’s success wheel of life must be balanced. When your tires are not balanced on your vehicle, the road is bumpy; the same is true when employees’ life isn’t balanced, causing work performance to suffer. There are massive global economy losses to absenteeism, low productivity, and disengagement, and they will only continue to grow with virtual working environments. Out of sight and out of mind not only applies in our personal life but can become very relevant to your relationships with team members at work. Something has to change. One such change is creating an engaging work environment that helps employees learn how to become more resilient as they face an uncertain future. Helping people build a rounded physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional life can help your employees enjoy their lives and find greater success at work. Giving Employees the Environment to Succeed One of the best ways to deliver a consistent, secure, and reliable experience for employees is by creating the digital workspaces they need to be well and to succeed. New technologies now make it possible to integrate work tools along with other organization well-being programs to: Track and improve employee happiness and wellbeing with quick, non-invasive pulse surveys. Boost employee morale by sharing positive news both personal and business. Foster engagement and community by praising and recognizing fellow employees for their outstanding work and achievements. Help leaders show and set the example for others to follow. Develop an employee Wellbeing Guide and Programs Implement and Inspire VTO (Volunteer Time Off) Encourage and have vehicles for constant learning to help self-worth and growth Building a Culture of Happiness Securing employee happiness is well worth the effort as it: Increases productivity. Improves a company’s reputation, which helps attract top talent. Helps employees become better ambassadors. Builds a healthy company culture. Increases customer satisfaction. Understanding the Purpose, Mission, and Important Company Goals Do your employees feel they are completing a list of daily tasks, or do they feel engaged in a bigger purpose? Those who understand the bigger picture and know where the company is going will have enthusiasm for their work. Knowing your purpose and impact can help to fend off anxiety and depression. Are you teaching servant leadership by example? There isn’t a better prescription for feeling good and nothing much more rewarding than serving and praising others. Does your company have a farmer’s mentality? I learned growing up on a farm when there was work to be done everyone pitches in – no seniority and no titles, just focus on the task. When the task was completed, everyone felt great and fulfilled seeing what they were able to accomplish together. Leaders whose desire is to be inspirational and motivate others will do what they say they will do. It seems simple but for many it is amazing how difficult it is to practice what they preach. We can talk about our beliefs or go through the motion with books we read, plaques we have, or attendance at church services on weekends, but using our behavior and actions to inspire, teach, and guide others by our example speaks louder than any words you say. The connection between employee happiness and customer satisfaction become so evident. Employees who feel good about their work experience, the people who inspire them, and the culture they work in feel better about their personal lives. A workplace culture of wellbeing unlocks an employee’s potential while helping them successfully manage everyday stress. And when employees feel better about themselves and have their wheel of life of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional balance, that feeling will show in the customer service they provide. Building flexibility into your organization’s culture gives employees a new way of working and empowers them to be better team players and workers. A leadership culture of serving and giving lets employees know they are valued and has a positive impact on performance. Adopting practices that strengthen a balance of life provides a meaningful payoff to employees and employers alike.