When you experience it, you know it. That sense of safety, support and comfort, a “knowing” that you have landed in the right role, in the right business with the right people. It’s the reassurance of feeling you belong and the company genuinely cares for your Well-being and personal success. We intuitively know it’s never just one element that characterises this affirmation, but more a myriad of exchanges, actions and experiences that work in unison to nurture positive feelings and a sense of wellness. So why do organisations regularly fall short in delivering on the employee Well-being promise despite good intentions and commitment to creating positive impact for their people?

The answer lies in knowing how to optimise and integrate Well-being programs to cultivate an experience that truly sets one organisation apart from another. Many businesses fail to take an integrated and multi-tiered approach to Well-being which includes aligning existing business strategies and operational processes. Without this critical inclusion, businesses may undermine their ability to deliver positive workplace change and sustain meaningful return on investment. Here are two possible contributing factors.

Stand-alone activities generate limited impact:

Well-being agendas that remain independent of people and business strategies can fail to attract long term relevance and consistent employee uptake. Stand-alone initiatives such as flu vaccination programs or gym memberships can generate primary wellness outcomes for specific employee groups, but their value to the wider employee community can be minimal. Without linkage to broader social and emotional Well-being factors, these activities leave little lasting impact across the organisation. If businesses align people strategies and utilise existing work processes, they will elevate Well-being benefits across a range of work contexts and groups, affecting and strengthening positive organisational change at a deeper, more impactful level. More specifically, Employee Experience can be an important channel in profiling and directing Well-being activities across the enterprise. Recent research undertaken in Asia Pacific found that 71% of organisations surveyed are poised to increase their focus on Employee Experience over the next three years [1]. This presents businesses with a unique opportunity to transform work practices, mindsets and behaviours that positively impact both Employee Experience and Well-being agendas while building mutually reinforcing outcomes.

Businesses that endeavor to enhance every exchange and activity across the enterprise are moving closer to co-creating a workplace which allows people talents and critical Well-being capabilities to flourish and mature. Operationalising Well-being through daily work habits can facilitate collective positivity and augment performance results, creating lasting behavior change that benefits the organisational community as a whole. Global networking platform LinkedIn positively impacted workforce retention outcomes through implementing a social recognition program which encouraged employees to acknowledge and appreciate their fellow colleagues for outstanding performance [2]. Integration practices such as this share accountability for Well-being across the enterprise, enabling employees and leaders to undertake daily micro-steps and actions that have lasting positive impact on culture and commercial outcomes.

Leadership can damage outcomes:

Well-being agendas require thoughtful design and intentional stewardship if critical capabilities and practices are to grow and thrive. CEO’s and Leadership teams have a vital role in cultivating positively affirming work contexts by role modelling core behaviours and reinforcing beneficial people skills.  When operational pressures are heightened Well-being practices can fall away if leaders are not proactively following through with purposeful, consistent actions that support wellness. Leaders that fail to consistently prioritise employee Well-being may unintentionally contribute to employee disengagement outcomes, damage team culture and harm talent retention objectives.

The more leaders know about their people and what’s most meaningful to them, the greater the potential for positive performance impact and buy in. Insights drawn from Willis Towers Watson’s 2019/20 Benefit Trends Survey emphasized the importance of identifying employee needs and values when considering Employee Experience and designing successful employee benefit programs [3]. Leaders in tune with their people can target meaningful activities and establish resourceful daily Well-being habits together with their teams, nurturing a fertile climate for ongoing employee development, application and mastery which extends beyond the workplace. Embedding Well-being principles into work roles, relationships and performance outcomes delivers powerful impact through consistent, complimentary activities which holistically supports personal growth and healthy functioning. Given this, Leaders that develop their own Well-being capabilities and practical toolkits are best placed to support their people build resilience, lower stress and cultivate mental habits that enable optimal performance.

Well-being initiatives may never be totally fail proof, but creating an interdependent ecosystem where individuals flourish and choose to stay for the long term because they experience a workplace where they are valued, connected and well is a welcome success story.

Thrive Global APAC is a partnership between Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Monash University with a geographic focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Taking an evidence based approach with partners Monash University and a scientific advisory board from Harvard, Stanford Medicine and Wharton we help organisations and employees increase their performance from a foundation of well-being. To learn more about our approach and to find out more about our work with leading organisations globally, visit  https://thriveglobal-apac.com/programs/

 

Resources:

[1] 2019/20 Benefits Trends Survey – Asia Pacific, Willis Towers Watson 2020.

[2] Global Happiness and Wellbeing Report 2019, Global Council for Happiness and Wellbeing, 2019

[3] Building a positive employee Experience; Modernising Benefits in Asia Pacific – Part 4, Willis Towers Watson 2020.

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