May 16, 2021

People need to feel happy and motivated at work. If they don’t, organizations end up taking a hit with lower productivity and higher turnover rates. That’s why employee well-being is crucial for a company’s success. 

Unfortunately, companies are demanding more and more from their employees in order to compete with other businesses. This type of pressure generates vast amounts of stress, toxic work environments and exhausted employees who longer feel engaged at work.  

When businesses don’t invest in their employee’s well-being, it costs them much more than they realize. For example, a study from The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), has shown that more than 50% of working days lost have come from work related stress and anxiety. This doesn’t have to be the case and in fact, similar studies have shown how investing in employee well-being programs like coaching, have actually benefited an organization’s work culture and significantly improved their return on investment. 

How to evaluate employee well-being

More recently, organizations are modeling their work environment around the “hip” start-up culture to retain staff. Employees are given access to cool office-based perks like fancy espresso machines, nice office layouts, table tennis and afternoon drinks. However, the imbalance in an employee’s work/life, plus additional stressors has led to more workers who prefer having mental and physical wellness programs instead. 

For leaders to understand exactly what employees need, so they can work efficiently and effectively, they really have to be empathetic and start seeing them as people first. Buying their affection or making statements like, “You guys are the backbone of our company,” or “This wouldn’t be possible without you,” may come across hollow or rehearsed, especially if they’re performing countless hours of overtime with little to no recognition. 

To achieve a sense of well-being it’s important to consider the following:

1. Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction consists of several components. Employees need to be able to work in a safe and healthy work environment in order to sustain productivity. It’s also important for managers to avoid favoritism and treat each individual fairly, especially when it comes to responsibilities, promotional opportunities and salary.

2. Work Engagement

For employees to be dedicated with their work, they need high levels of engagement. Being a leader means you have to stimulate and inspire your employees so they can perform at the best of their abilities. Studies have shown that engagement leads to high levels of creativity, task performance, organizational behavior, and client satisfaction.

3. Stress

“I feel stressed,” is probably the most common phrase a person uses when they aren’t feeling great about their job. It also takes a huge toll on their mental and physical well-being. Common factors include performance pressure, work environment, job uncertainty and issues with coworkers. That’s why it’s extremely important for leaders to listen to their employees’ struggles and show empathy and understanding.

4. Personal Happiness

It’s important to remember that each person has a life outside of work. Leaders have to consider that a person’s low performance can be a result of a family member’s sickness, problems in a relationship or even depression. Leaders should frequently check in on their employees and provide them with a safe space to open up. This helps create a bond and allows the employee to trust their employer. 

How coaching improves employee well-being

Coaching is a very powerful tool for achieving well-being, not just professionally, but also personally. Coaching is centered on a personalized relationship that is encouraging and compassionate and built to help others overcome obstacles.

Research shows that coachees are twice as likely to stay at their company after experiencing higher levels of engagement and happiness. For employees, having a coach increases their ability to feel relaxed and helps them understand their individual value. 

Coaching is also customizable, so leaders have a choice on what skills they would like to improve on and how they can further advance their well-being goals. Several studies have shown that coaching creates ripple effects of well-being throughout a company. When a coached leader experiences psychological well-being they often generate positive interactions with their employees. Thereby, creating waves of positive change in well-being amongst the team.

The Effects of Covid-19 on Well-Being

No one could have anticipated that an entire workforce would have to transition from an office to their living room, especially in such a short amount of time. Prior to the pandemic, remote work was seen as a job perk that was offered to some, but not all. While the effects of Covid-19 on an employee’s well-being is still being measured, there have been early studies that have shown negative effects.  For example, according to Forbes, “Only 20% of leaders believed they were effective at leading virtually,” (Forbes, 2021). Managers are under immense pressure to respond to conflicting demands and attend to every team member’s needs quickly, which has led many to exhaustion.

Another study from Oracle revealed that, “78% of employees felt impaired in their mental well-being,” (Oracle, 2020). Similar studies have shown that prolonged lockdowns have had huge effects on mental illness and anxiety. Employees are feeling more vulnerable as ever, as there has been a great concern on job security. Also, burnout is on the rise and there are clear signs that the pandemic will lead to serious retention issues. 

Even more alarming is how Covid-19 has harmed the progress towards diversity and inclusion. For example, prior to 2020 women were steadily increasing their presence among senior-vice-president staff and were less likely to opt out of work than men. However, this trend was halted by the pandemic as it brought more challenges and pressure for women, particularly working mothers, women in senior management positions and women of color. It was reported that 1 in 4 women were more likely to leave or downshift their position compared to men. (McKinsey, 2021)

These are just a few reasons why it’s even more important to invest in better people centric programs like coaching. Coaching has been cited by experts as a powerful tool to help provide management the support they need in order to remain resilient. Coaching also supports workers by giving useful tools and strategies to feel healthy and happy while working. 

As Ben Wilmott, Head of Public Policy CIPD said on the topic of workplace well-being during and post Covid-19, “Employers have a fundamental duty of care for physical and mental well-being under the Health And Safety At Work Act.” 

I think one of the biggest learnings from the pandemic and remote tools is that it brings the focus back to a human centered approach. This varies from flexible working to emphasis on health, safety and well-being. Not only do companies want to find solutions that support the practical and logistical elements of working remotely, but also foster and cultivate the human aspects of working, which are ultimately, what makes work meaningful and fulfilling.” 

– Rosie Evans, Senior Behavioral Scientist at CoachHub