The benefits of employers supporting their employees’ wellbeing are clear on several fronts. But how often do we monitor the impact of wellbeing, and how can measuring the wellbeing of a team offer further insight?
Indeed, the impact of wellbeing extends far beyond how people feel. It is far more than just a moral duty – happy workers are, according to a study by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and BT, 13% more productive. On the flipside, burnout results in lost productivity and turnover amounting to $322 billion worldwide.
Building a happy, motivated and healthy workforce is thus a central pillar of business strategies. Dedicated budgets, team days, mental health support, financial relief, an open door culture… these are just some of the components that organisations are embracing to support the wellbeing of the people who, ultimately, are responsible for their success on a daily basis.
While it is promising to see this trend gathering momentum, less is said about how employers are evaluating whether their wellbeing policies are actually working.
It may seem simple and obvious, but arguably the most important aspect of any wellbeing strategy is knowing how to measure its success and identify areas where all-important improvements can be made.
Not only that, but the act of measuring wellbeing also shows colleagues that their employer is looking out for them, and that personal development is on a par with professional development. This can help to ensure that vital resources and support mechanisms are actually used.
Three ways to measure the wellbeing of employees
Measuring wellbeing requires time, energy and resources in its own right.
There are several ways of doing it, each feeding into a broader picture that can give business leaders an accurate view of whether their wellbeing strategies are having an impact.
Here, we outline three simple methods organisations can take as a starting point.
- Conducting regular sentiment surveys: This is the most direct and simplest means of obtaining insight on employee wellbeing. These can be delivered electronically and over regular cycles, giving employers regular pulse checks on how colleagues are feeling at work, as well as diving deeper into issues such as stress, anxiety and burnout. Surveys have their limitations, however, especially if some employees do not fill them out or are reluctant to disclose certain details.
- Analysing HR data: Leveraging raw, unbiased data can fill in some of the gaps left by surveys. Numerous metrics, including frequency of absence, work output/KPIs, and staff turnover rates, can serve as useful reference points that supplement the findings derived from employee surveys.
- Using informal opportunities: More nuanced feelings are more likely to be detected through casual interactions such as friendly chats and informal events. This requires creating an open-door culture where holding conversations about all aspects of wellbeing are normalised. Try setting up regular check-in chats that do not solely focus on work. Hosting sessions with mental health first aiders is another great way of supporting colleagues and obtaining feedback that may not otherwise have come from surveys and HR data.
Taking wellbeing seriously
Monitoring wellbeing through these varied means should enable business leaders to build a comprehensive picture of how people are feeling at work.
Tracking and analysing these inputs over periods of time will also enable the detection of trends and risks that may require additional intervention – either at a personal, team-wide or organisational level.
Whatever route you decide to take, be sure to communicate it properly among team leaders and all employees across your organisation. Indeed, our own research suggests that communications around health and wellbeing is the most important component of their B2E (business to employee) comms strategies. If you are planning to conduct sentiment surveys or develop an open-door culture, it is vital that your employees know how and why you are taking these steps.