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The words work and wellbeing are rarely paired. But 86% of respondents to a recent survey say that "happiness at work affects their mood at home, and a majority agree it affects their self-confidence, quality of life, and career trajectory." Layoffs, hiring freezes, and crises on both global and local levels continue to create uncertainty for both employees and employers. In many companies, employee stress levels are high—sometimes so high they need to take a sick or mental health day. As a result, employees are experiencing unprecedented levels of burnout, and this is true for HR teams, too.
These statistics speak volumes:
- 28% of U.S. employees say they feel burned out at work very often or always
- Employees who frequently experience burnout at work are 2.6 times as likely to leave their current employer and 13% less confident in their performance
- Only 20% of employees strongly agree that they like what they do every day
Contrary to popular opinion, the solution isn’t necessarily reducing employee workload. Recent research by Gallup has determined that “how people experience their workload has a stronger influence on burnout than how many hours they work.”
And this is one of the many reasons employee wellbeing begins at work.
The key to a fulfilling life
Only 20% of employees strongly agree that they like what they do every day.
And yet a recent Gallup poll found that meaningful work is a critical and non-negotiable part of a fulfilling life.
In a recent analysis, Gallup researchers identified five areas of wellbeing: workplace, social, financial, physical, and community wellbeing. The results revealed that workplace wellbeing—liking what you do for work every day—has the greatest impact on overall wellbeing. Additionally, meaningful work has the potential to improve all aspects of wellbeing.
Other Gallup surveys in Germany and the U.S. have shown that people actually want to work. “Most employees would continue to work, even if they had so much money that they never had to work again,” as long as they like what they do every day.
Fostering wellbeing in the workplace
To attract, engage, and retain employees, companies must commit to developing a workplace that continually fosters wellbeing at work.
As a starting point, Gallup recommends understanding the cost of a toxic culture, and how to clean up toxic power dynamics in your workplace. It’s impossible to achieve wellbeing at work when just being there takes a toll on mental health.
Here are three more ways to nurture wellbeing at your organization.
Address change fatigue
Many employees are burning out because of change fatigue. A recent survey found that 71% of employees are overwhelmed by the amount of change at their job—and they’re blaming employers.
When changes are made without employee input or an adequate explanation, employees feel like they don’t have the motivation they need to navigate disruption. And this can lead to disengagement:
- 37% of employees experiencing change fatigue say they are less trusting of their employers and 32% say they’re less productive at work
- 83% of employees suffering from change fatigue say their employer has not provided enough tools or resources to help them adapt to changes at work
- More than one in four say their employer has rarely or never asked for feedback or input on changes that have been implemented
But while change is inevitable, change fatigue doesn’t have to be. Work is one of the few places that can level the playing field for all employees. In the midst of continual uncertainty, the workplace can provide a stable environment with structures and EAP solutions in place to help employees and leaders navigate change.
Here are a few ways to do this well:
- Provide company-wide communication whenever there’s a change within your organization and over communicate, to ensure employees have all the available information
- Use a change management practitioner for larger organizational shifts that will require a significant change in behavior for all employees
- Acknowledge that change is both difficult and uncomfortable, especially in our current environment where change seems continual
- Create a safe space for employees to process, talk about how they’re feeling, and ask questions
- Offer a mental health benefit to give employees the option to process their feelings with a therapist or a coach
For an employee to like the work they’re doing every day, they need to feel connected to it. This can be achieved by helping each person understand how their work impacts the goals of the broader business, and also understand what each person needs to feel like their work is meaningful.
Starting points to increase connection can include:
- Taking the time to implement regular one-on-one meetings
- Establishing and sharing both company, team, and individual OKRs
- Ensuring positive feedback is regularly delivered for great work
Implementing these few steps can help employees feel connected to their managers, their teammates, and the work they’re doing every day.
Create open lines of communication
Communication is the linchpin to wellbeing at work. And despite the increasing number of communication channels available to companies, many employees feel more removed from the communication process than ever before. HR is uniquely positioned to lead the paradigm shift to wellbeing at work through enhancing and supporting meaningful and direct communication between remote employees, in-house teams, and company leaders. Especially for companies that are navigating layoffs or hiring freezes, it’s essential to create open lines of communication where leaders can regularly share updates and be available to answer questions.
As we continue to grapple with both local and global crises like gun violence, racial violence, and natural disasters, it’s important to acknowledge these heartbreaking events, create safe spaces to talk about them, and provide mental health support for those who need it.
How Spring Health can help your organization prioritize workplace wellbeing
Mental health plays a key role here, as well. If your employees aren’t mentally healthy, even if they enjoy their jobs, productivity may suffer, they could begin calling out sick, and even leave the company. According to the 2021 Mental Health at Work Report, 50% of surveyed full-time U.S. workers have quit roles due to mental health issues, and respondents also missed an average of eight days of work for mental health reasons. The need for mental healthcare has never been greater, and it’s critical to offer a comprehensive mental health solution to support your employees and their families as well. A landmark study published in JAMA Network Open, a leading medical journal, shows that Spring Health’s mental health solution is associated with clinical improvements for employees and positive financial ROI for employers.
See more of the study results and learn how you can help your employees feel better, faster.