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How workplace wellness impacts employee experience

Poor wellbeing is the enemy of productivity, creativity and fulfilment - it can have a huge influence over your employee experience.
Published 28 Jan 2022
5 min read
Employee experience

If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that a low sense of wellbeing is a killer of great work.

When we feel off – whether it’s mentally, physically or even financially – our ability to work is greatly reduced. Poor wellbeing is the enemy of productivity, creativity and fulfilment. It’s hard to be a great employee when you don’t feel your best.

Sometimes, health will follow life’s natural highs and lows. No one is going to be feeling amazing, and working at 100%, every minute of every day. Employers can, however, do plenty of things to boost their team’s health and happiness, so they are more likely to feel their best at work. These strategies are an essential part of a positive employee experience.

What is Employee Experience and why does it matter?

The employee experience (EX) can be defined as the overall experience an employee has over the tenure of employment at a company. This refers to the entire experience throughout the employee lifecycle, right from the initial attraction stage through to exit. It’s influenced by everything from company culture to management style, team communications and wellbeing programs.

A positive EX can see greater levels of engagement, reduced turnover rates and higher levels of team morale. A poor EX, however, can reduce engagement and sour your workplace’s vibe. And remember – people talk! A bad employee experience can contribute to a negative reputation for your workplace, which could ultimately deter top talent from applying in the future.

With the Great Resignation upon us in 2022 – keeping teams feeling healthy and happy to create a better employee experience is more important than ever.

What are the wellness factors that influence employee experience?

How intrinsic is employee wellness to the employee experience? We would argue that if you don’t consider your employees’ wellbeing, the knock-on effect to your EX will be significant. These wellness factors need to be a priority to create a great working environment where great work can happen.

1. Overall stress levels

Have you ever worked in an organisation where everyone seemed a little… intense? Work-related stress is a serious problem for organisations, and it’s often contagious. It can easily become part of a company’s culture.

A report from PWC indicates that workplace stress is costing Australian businesses around $11M per year. In the US, it’s estimated that around one million people every day are absent from work due to job stress. It’s a big issue that employers need to examine.

Work-related stress is a key area where a workplace wellness program and day-to-day company operations overlap. While there are plenty of things that a program can do to support mental and emotional health, it’s also important that employers create a low-stress business environment. This can come from communicating well, distributing reasonable workloads and promoting work-life balance.

Wellbeing initiatives to tackle workplace stress include; 

2. Work-life balance

Poor work-life balance is such a big threat to your employee experience, we figured it was worth its own point.

Our 2021 Wellness at Work Report found that workers with poor work-life balance were 67% more likely to feel burnout from their work. Poor work-life balance also had very little payoff for the employee, or the business, as those who were impacted were 174% more likely to experience low levels of productivity.

Workers are unlikely to achieve this sense of balance simply through workplace wellness programs, it really needs to be an organisational change. As a leader, ask yourself why your employees’ work may be spilling into their personal lives. Are their workloads too heavy? Are they always on call or contactable? Are they mimicking behaviour from upper management?

3. Occupational health

Occupational health, or ‘occupational satisfaction’, can be a forgotten part of workplace wellness, but we guarantee your employee experience will be better if you make it a priority for your team.

One of our key wellness trends for 2022, occupational health, can be defined as how fulfilled you are by the work that you are engaging with. It measures how strongly you associate with the values, beliefs and goals relating to the work that you do.

When your team has a strong sense of occupational health, they feel inspired and driven to do their best work. Collectively, the employee experience is motivated by a sense of team spirit and alignment towards the company’s mission; individually, team members feel like their career is positively evolving and developing through their work.

Wellbeing initiatives to promote occupational health include: 

  • team-building days,
  • clearly articulated company values,
  • individual coaching, and
  • mentorship programs.

4. Physical health

Physical health has traditionally been a primary focus for wellness programs, as its impact on employee experience is clearly visibe.

When you provide nutritious food, promote ergonomic health, and offer fitness programs or opportunities for physical activity, you make it easier for your employees to feel better. The impacts of a healthy lifestyle are well known; employees feel more energised, they may find it easier to focus and they can prevent muscle soreness and tension, amongst many other benefits.

Support for physical health makes for a happier team that can work to their full potential.

Wellbeing initiatives to promote physical health include: 

  • free healthy lunches or breakfasts,
  • in-person or virtual yoga,
  • personal training,
  • health and wellness newsletters,
  • the provision of ergonomic office seating or standing desks, and
  • offering subsidised gym memberships or health insurance.

5. Flexibility

Offering flexibility in where and when your employees work; transforms your employee experience and often brings significant wellness benefits.

Our Remote Work Report 2021 found that a whopping 94% of employees want to continue working remotely at least one day a week for the long-term. Anecdotally, Employment Hero’s remote-first approach to work (employees can work where they choose) is one of the things that our team loves most about the company. Without commuting, they can spend more time in their communities and with their loved ones. Work revolves around lifestyle, not the other way around.

Flexible working can also make a huge difference to working parents and carers, people with disabilities and people living in remote areas. Yes, it promotes wellbeing, but it also makes for a more inclusive and understanding employee experience.

Beyond pandemic restrictions, will you make flexible working part of your EX strategy in 2022? Download our Remote First Workplace Playbook for expert tips and tools on this dynamic working model.

6. Belonging

Belonging is a factor that straddles diversity and inclusion, wellness and the employee experience. Another one of our wellness trends to watch in 2022, fostering a sense of belonging, can make all the difference to the wellbeing of your team members.

When a person feels a sense of belonging in their workplace, they feel comfortable being their authentic selves. When a business has a company culture that embraces all of its workers, employees are more likely to engage. Everyone benefits from this increase in diverse thought, problem-solving becomes easier, and the team can achieve an overall better sense of wellbeing. It’s essential to creating an equitable employee experience.

Initiatives to promote belonging include: 

  • anti-discrimination policies,
  • equal opportunity hiring and development pathways,
  • celebration of different cultures and identities,
  • team building and training days, and
  • reward and recognition programs that highlight diverse skills.

Are you ready to prioritise employee wellbeing in 2022?

Think about all the benefits that improved employee morale, a better workplace culture and increased employee engagement could have for your business. A great employee wellness program can make these benefits a reality.

Over the next couple of months, we’re talking about all things holistic wellness for teams of small to medium-sized businesses. From financial wellbeing to physical and mental health and job satisfaction, visit our Resource Centre for everything you need to create a happier, healthier workplace, or check out our Wellness at work 2022 reports to learn how to best support your team.

Wellness at Work 2022

The Team
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