K3 Insights

Welcome to the K3 hub

7 min read - June 06, 2024

Top 5 Employment Challenges Impacting Employee Wellbeing - Part 2

Has Employee Wellbeing become an essential component for today’s Employers?

We recently wrote an article that reflected on the Top 5 Employment Challenges Impacting on Employee Wellness. In this article, we are delving deeper in search of the answer to our question – ‘has Employee Wellbeing become an essential component for today’s Employers, or is it still just a nice to have?

Whilst some may still see employee wellbeing more as a “buzz word”, on the whole, the majority of employers believe the days of simply offering a few wellbeing perks will suffice for themselves or their employees. 

As we shift gears from managing around Covid to managing around the economic fallout post-covid, elections, overseas recessions, and a fair amount of global unrest, businesses are up against many uncertainties, and for many the focus will be firmly on navigating through and remaining financially viable.  From past experience, these bumps in the road are often when the “nice to haves” are shelved for brighter days. However, given the challenges faced world-wide since 2020, its timely to consider whether wellbeing has shifted to become essential in the fight for talent and driving employee performance and business success. 

So, what is Employee Wellbeing?

For starters, free fruit and entering a corporate team into ‘round the bays’ type events do not make up a wellbeing programme, they are considered the ‘nice to haves’, but often don’t hold significant value in the minds of employees. We need to dig deeper to understand holistically what “wellbeing” encompasses.

Way back in 1976 Dr Bill Hettler (co-founder of the National Wellness Institute in the US) developed a 6-dimensional model for wellness, that over time this has been further refined with current models extended up to 8 dimensions of wellbeing encompassing:

·         Intellectual – recognising creative abilities and finding ways to expand knowledge and skills

·         Occupational – Personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from work

·         Physical – Recognising the need for physical activity, diet, sleep and nutrition

·         Social – Developing a sense of connection, belonging and a well-defined support system

·         Spiritual – expanding our sense of purpose and meaning in life

·         Emotional – Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships

·         Environment – Good health, by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support wellbeing.

·        Financial – Satisfaction with current and future financial situations

As can be seen above, with many moving and complex parts, wellness cannot be ‘one size fits all’, instead it differs person to person and requires careful consideration of what elements are best derived or aligned to the work environment and/or will support your people personally and professionally to meet and exceed your business goals. When considering whether a Wellbeing Strategy and Plan is essential to your organisation, it’s important to look at what is impacting employee wellbeing from the employment perspective and customise using a holistic framework like the 8 dimensions above to evaluate where the organisation can constructively contribute.

We believe Employee Wellbeing has become a necessity. See our article on Top 5 Employment Challenges Impacting Employee Wellbeing. In summary, here's why:

  • A Thriving Workforce: Studies consistently show a strong link between employee wellbeing and positive outcomes like increased productivity, engagement, and retention. Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans quantified that employers who implement the most wellbeing practices had, on average, 11.25% lower turnover rates. Happy and healthy employees are simply better for business.
  • Mental Health Matters: New Zealand, like many nations, faces a growing mental health crisis. By prioritising well-being initiatives, employers can create supportive environments that address stress, burnout, and anxiety. However, Mental health and wellbeing is not just about what happens in a crisis, but how everyday life events are supported, from approaching work/life balance, to creating programs to such as those that support additions to the family, aging, and significant life changes.
  • Attracting Talent: A global trend of employees seeking workplaces that prioritise well-being is upon us. In a recent pulse survey conducted by Strategic Pay, their results showed 21% of those surveyed were facing challenges retaining staff and 14% are facing challenges with attracting new staff.  Offering robust wellness programs can be a key differentiator in attracting and retaining top talent.

So, what does winning at Employee Wellbeing look like?

Research conducted by Worksafe in August 2022 outlined that out of 57 workers surveyed, most viewed the responsibility for work-related wellbeing as a partnership between workers and leadership.

For value to be realised, working in partnership with your employees will enable you to develop and realise an offering that your people want to engage with, bringing about the best return on investment (ROI) for employee wellbeing.  When looking holistically at wellbeing, Employers can consider initiatives like:

  • Leadership buy-in: Evaluate the question, “Is supporting wellbeing critical to our business success?” If so, in what areas?
  • Open communication: Take communication to the next level and create safe environments to share concerns. Get feedback about what is important to individuals and groups, and what could make the biggest difference to them. What would they value the most?
  • Inclusive Policies and Procedures: Walk the talk in terms of creating an inclusive work environment, with equal opportunities for all team members. Evaluate current policies and procedures for unconscious bias and practicalities.
  • Adapt work arrangements: Offer work options and styles that foster a healthy work-life balance.
  • Programmes co-designed (with employees):
  • Training and Development Programmes: Focus on career and personal growth opportunities to support team members in developing and refining skillsets and enabling them to grow with your business.
  • Wellbeing programmes: From stress management workshops to healthy living initiatives, and Financial planning support programmes, empower employees to take charge of their well-being needs.

Case Study – Leaders, ‘walking the talk’

We recently delivered a wellbeing workshop to a leadership team, following which the team were tasked with creating their own wellbeing plans utilising “The Wellbeing Deck” (by Tamara Buckland and Riders and Elephants), which is a simple and effective card game that enables your team to normalise wellbeing conversations and feel empowered to own their wellbeing, the best part being at the end of the game, the team had created their first personalised wellbeing plans, where they could identify their triggers that impacted their own wellbeing, as well as work out what activities or practices they can engage in to improve or lift their wellbeing

As a team, creating a wellbeing plan was a strategic priority, but they didn’t know where to start, through this process and utilising ‘The Wellbeing Deck’ the got some quick wins on the board whilst learning more about themselves, and feeling supported to ‘put themselves first’. Their feedback was wonderful and seeing people actively taking steps to own their wellbeing was pretty awesome, including people excited to use what they had learnt with their family.

So where do you start?

Start the conversation with your team, understand what wellbeing means to them and work together to build or refine your wellbeing offering so that its ‘fit for purpose’, then look to embed it holistically across your employee EX touchpoints to get the best ROI and embed it into your culture with your leaders walking the talk.

Prioritising wellbeing can foster a thriving, resilient, and successful workforce to help you navigate the challenges of 2024 and beyond – ‘better connected’ we say

Read part 1 here

Back to Articles

Contact us