Arecent and comprehensive study* suggests improvement in wellbeing will result in improved workplace performance: in profitability (financial performance), labour productivity and the quality of outputs or services.
What is wellbeing?
The term “wellbeing” covers several aspects of the way people feel about their lives, including their jobs, and their relationships with the people around them. Of course, a person’s wellbeing is to do with their own character and home or social life along with the workplace, but research shows that employers can have an influence on an individual’s sense of wellbeing in the way they run a workplace.
How can individual wellbeing at work be improved?
Employers have the potential to influence the wellbeing of their staff. There is no ‘one size fits all’ but where employers are able to raise wellbeing in their workforce, they are also likely to see improvements in the performance of their workplace and their bottom line.
There will be different factors that influence wellbeing at an individual level, but detailed analysis of a wide range of research studies has suggested that there are 11 key factors for increasing wellbeing to boost performance in general.
• Where employees have a degree of autonomy over how they do their job – this does not mean that people should ignore set processes, but could mean that staff have a level of discretion about how they undertake their work.
• Variety in the work employees undertake, which could be addressed through job design.
• Staff respond positively to a sense that their job has significance within the workplace, as well as the perceived value of the job to society.
• Being clear about what is expected of staff, including feedback on performance.
• Supportive supervision.
• Staff also benefit from positive interpersonal contact with other people. This includes contact with managers and co-workers, as well as with customers or the general public (where the job requires it).
• Opportunities for employees to use and develop their skills
• A sense of physical security is important for employees, including the safety of work practices, the adequacy of equipment and the pleasantness of the work environment.
• A sense of job security and clear career prospects both help increase wellbeing.
• Staff respond well to the perception of fairness in the workplace.
• Higher pay was also registered as a strong positive motivator. However, this relationship depends not only on the absolute level of pay but how this compares with the pay of other workers.
Alongside these factors which can boost wellbeing, the research also showed that when the demands of a job are particularly high this can reduce wellbeing. A key thread that runs through many of these factors is ensuring good, open communication with employees. Involving employees in decision making, especially in combination with good leadership and line management is extremely helpful.
I will discuss this in more depth next month including ways to improve your employees mental resilience and therefore increase productivity & ROI– we’d all like that, right?
*(GOV.UK – Review of evidence on employee wellbeing and its potential impact on workplace performance)