Last updated: 1st August 2022 at 20:41pm

We all know the mantra: look after your people and they will look after you. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Engagement (the level of enthusiasm and dedication a worker feels towards their job) and wellbeing (the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy) are highly dependent on one another, after all, you can’t expect people to be engaged if they are feeling neglected and burnt out. However, employee wellbeing engagement are also additive, with higher levels of wellbeing enhancing the benefits of engagement alone. Employee performance has always been vital to business outcomes and great leaders recognise that they need to pay attention to how their employee’s wellbeing needs are being met.

A word of warning: don’t fall into the trap of thinking wellbeing is just about offering free fruit and flexible working. Wellbeing comes in a variety forms including social, financial, mental and physical, and many employers are now choosing to introduce wellbeing programmes, which help to ensure a focus on all aspects of wellbeing. Some smart cookies design their programmes around national or internationally recognised days, weeks or months so as to ‘piggy back’ off media campaigns – think Mental Health Awareness Week.

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If you are inspired to introduce a formal wellbeing strategy, or even re-invigorate an existing one, there are a few important things to consider to ensure you are maximising the impact on engagement:

  • Firstly, and not to be underestimated, ask people what they want! Include them in the conversation. After all, there is nothing worse for engagement than the feeling that things are being done ‘to you’ rather than ‘with you’.
  • You will also need to ensure you are linking your wellbeing strategy to your company’s purpose and mission, and ensure that people can see a clear link and rationale for what you are doing to avoid this being seen as ‘another initiative from management’.
  • Ensure your wellbeing budget is proportionate – spend too little and it may be seen as half hearted, although spend too much and you risk people seeing it as an indulgence and commenting that they would rather see the hard cash in their pay packet.

And if budgets are tight, there are many things you can do to improve your workplace wellbeing which don’t need to cost the earth:

  • Social – think about the opportunities you offer outside of the formal work environment. Remember, some people will feel energised from being around lots of other people and a high level of ‘hustle and bustle’, while others will find this a real drain on their energy and are likely to prefer opportunities to get to know each in smaller groups. Think about a range of activities to ensure there is something for everyone.
  • Financial – don’t panic, we don’t mean ‘give everyone a stonking great big pay rise, job done’! What we mean is arming people with the tools and resources to help them manage their finances. Try offering workshops on things like budget planning, pension planning and savings and investments planning. There are lots of free resources online and look out for advisors who will run workshops free of charge (start with your current pensions provider!).
  • Mental health – since the pandemic, we have seen a shift towards greater transparency, acknowledgment and support with mental health, and with this comes greater responsibility on employers to do more. If you haven’t already done so, consider the introduction of mental health first aiders and training for all staff on looking after their mental health. Check out mind.org.uk for lots of free resources you can use to raise awareness.
  • Physical exercise releases endorphins which trigger positive feelings in the body, improving not just physical fitness but also mental wellbeing. Some people find exercising easier than others, some are disciplined and make the time, others (myself included) have all the best intentions to start… tomorrow! Consider the introduction of walking meetings or lunchtime walking clubs or even introducing yoga classes, or something similar, for the more committed!

If you would like some help with your employee wellbeing and engagement strategy and what steps you can start taking, do get in touch with our team. We would love to speak to you.

[Featured image c/o Canva]