What is employee wellbeing?

Employee wellbeing refers to mental and emotional health, a positive attitude, and contentment concerning work. Employees who embody wellbeing hold a bright and optimistic perception of their work lives. According to research from Gallup, the five pillars of wellbeing are: 

  • Career: Satisfaction with daily tasks and responsibilities 
  • Social: Healthy relationships with friends and loved ones
  • Financial: Successfully managing finances 
  • Physical: Basic health for energy and daily functionality 
  • Community: Connecting with others in one’s area of residence

Why should HR leaders care about employee wellbeing?

Wellbeing is fundamental to mental stamina, emotional intelligence, and resilience in the workplace. Wellbeing is the bedrock of success, performance, productivity, engagement, and creativity. 

Fear, anxiety, depression, and debilitating stress can remove an individual’s ability to think clearly, function effectively, and cope with daily tasks. Thus, employees must prioritize their wellbeing, enabling them to continue to manage their thoughts and emotions, achieve goals, and take risks. 

What can HR leaders do to promote employee wellbeing?

While it is the employee’s responsibility to take care of their health, HR personnel can coordinate the external conditions for a positive and healthy employee experience through these practices:

  • Evaluate and address the company’s needs. Identify the greatest threats to wellbeing within the organization. Is it burnout, lack of purpose, or an imbalance between work and personal life? Focusing on the costs of the underlying issues and how these challenges compare with external and internal benchmarks can help HR leaders identify solutions to protect employee wellbeing. 
  • Implement a wellness program. An employee wellness program that nurtures the needs of each employee can boost wellbeing. Perhaps the workforce could benefit from an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), coaching and mentorship opportunities, or designated office rooms for meditation, prayer, or exercise. The wellness program should provide practical, tailored solutions for staff, addressing their challenges and stages in life.  
  • Balance work with play. HR leaders can schedule time off for employees to bond with each other over recreational activities. Changing up the routine with mood-boosting, fun activities such as staff hikes or picnics can help individuals release work-induced stress and recharge.  
  • Cultivate gratitude. HR leaders can encourage gratitude within the work culture by recognizing employees for their hard work. Communicating appreciation to employees can infuse their work lives with greater purpose, meaning, and a sense of camaraderie. 
  • Encourage mindfulness. Mindfulness is essential for employee wellbeing. Integrating mindfulness into the workday so it becomes a habit can help employees regulate their emotions, direct their thoughts, and control their speech. Though practicing group breathing exercises or meditation may be awkward for some at first, integrating this ritual before conducting a meeting can lead to more effective team communication and better business results.   

How can employee wellbeing improve company culture?

With the support of leadership, healthy employees can build a thriving company culture. Providing holistic support for individuals to nurture their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health can elevate employee wellbeing and ultimately promote a robust and attractive company culture.