Investing In Employee Well-being

investing in employee well-being

Two weeks ago, we talked about developing soft skills. We determined that soft skills were a necessity for employees who wished to thrive in the modern workplace.

This week, we will be considering a trend that is very critical to the success of any organisation – investing in employee well-being.  

At a time like this, when everyone needs encouragement and some ray of hope to latch unto in the face of the growing global COVID-19 pandemic that has already claimed thousands of lives, prioritizing the well-being of employees has never been more important.

Employers are meant to play a leading role in the overall health and well-being of their employees since they are usually among the first group of people to feel the impact if something goes wrong with an employee. 

Employers who pay attention to their employees’ well-being have a major advantage over those who don’t because a physically, emotionally and financially healthy and happy workforce will allow them to focus on critical operational decisions that will advance their organisations instead of looking to replace ailing staff regularly, at the detriment of progress.

What exactly is well-being?  

It refers to all the different ways employees feel about themselves – their lives, their jobs, relationships as well as their colleagues. Feelings of wellbeing are largely influenced by individual day-to-day experiences with family, neighbours, vendors, colleagues, and superiors. These negative or positive feelings affect how they carry out their tasks and interact with different teams that make up the workplace. 

Key factors to consider in employee well-being

Nancy Reardon, Chief Strategy and Product Officer at Maestro Health, believes that employers need to look at a more holistic view of their employees’ well-being, including mental/emotional health, stress management, preventative care options and more. 

She highlights three key areas of employee health and provides some well-being strategies leaders can implement to achieve a more thoughtful approach to employee well-being.

Physical Health.

Employees must have the health and energy to be productive and get things done regularly. While this is the most obvious component of employee health and well-being, Reardon says it’s these traditionally healthy choices and actions that help employees avoid chronic conditions that can ultimately affect their emotional and financial health (medical bills/debt).

“Employer-sponsored benefits and wellness programs that drive education and engagement are critical components in driving physical health,” Reardon explains.

“Employees need to understand how and when they should access healthcare to ensure they remain on track to achieving their health,” adds Reardon.

For some employees, it may be hitting 10,000 steps on their Fitbit, while, for others, it may mean seeing a decrease in their A1C levels, to decrease the high risk of developing diabetes.

Financial Health.

Reardon stresses the critical link between physical health and financial health and vice versa, and how one affects the other.

For example, an employee — even one with a moderate salary and benefits – may be unable to afford or access care, healthy food options and more. Similarly, says Reardon, “an employee who can’t cope with financial pressures at home may develop health issues down the line.”

Reardon advises employers to offer their workers access to financial services and resources to help them understand and overcome financial obstacles and empower them to effectively manage their economic lives.  

Emotional Health.

Emotional well-being is impacted by both financial and physical health. Yet not all employees have the capacity to emotionally cope with the ups and downs of life without it impacting their day-to-day work lives.

When crafting their well-being programs, Reardon says employers can offer mental health services like mental health days, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and even mindfulness incentives to encourage employees to take care of their emotional health. 

As earlier stated, employers have a crucial role to play in the well-being of their employees. When employers invest in the health and well-being of their employees, they come across as caring, humane and considerate, which serves as an effective motivation to the employees. 

One of the most effective ways for employers to show they care is to make the health and well-being of their employees a priority.  

SOFT SKILLS

The modern workplace is a living organism that is constantly evolving, and the only way to stay relevant as an organisation is to keep abreast of industry trends and implement programs that promote growth and efficiency within the organisation.

We have been looking at 2020 workplace trends, three weeks ago, we considered Trend #2, Remote work. We determined that remote work is rapidly gaining acceptance in workplaces, especially in Information Technology companies. We concluded that promotes work-life balance and increases productivity while cutting cost for employees as well as the organisation. 

The third 2020 Workplace trend we want to consider is the development of soft skills.

According to the Arkansas Department of Education, 2007, Soft skills are a cluster of productive personality traits that characterize one’s relationships in a milieu. 

Soft skills include social graces, communication abilities, language skills, personal habits, cognitive or emotional empathy, time management, teamwork and leadership traits. 

Soft skills cover three key functional elements: 

  1. social skills
  2. people skills 
  3. personal career attributes 

These skills are crucial for today’s workplace as they complement hard or technical skills. Soft skills have become a major criterion for employment as well as advancement in an organisation.  

An employee’s soft skill is a crucial part of their contribution to the overall success of their organization, especially if such an organisation deals with customers on a face-to-face basis. A critical success factor for an organisation like this is the ability to promote activities that help employees develop these skills through team-building activities and wellness enhancing programs. 

Soft skills

The following is a top ten list of soft skills compiled by Eastern Kentucky University 

  1. Communication – oral speaking capability, written, presenting, listening, clear speech & writing.
  2. Courtesy – manners, etiquette, business etiquette, gracious, says please and thank you, respectful.
  3. Flexibility – adaptability, willing to change, lifelong learner, accepts new things, adjusts, teachable.
  4. Integrity – honest, ethical, high morals, has personal values, does what’s right.
  5. Interpersonal skills – nice, personable, sense of humour, friendly, nurturing, empathetic, has self-control, patient, sociability, warmth, social skills.
  6. Positive attitude – optimistic, enthusiastic, encouraging, happy, confident.
  7. Professionalism – businesslike, well-dressed, appearance, poised.
  8. Responsibility – accountable, reliable, gets the job done, resourceful, self-disciplined, wants to do well, conscientious, common sense.
  9. Teamwork – cooperative, gets along with others, agreeable, supportive, helpful, collaborative.
  10. Work ethic – hard working, willing to work, loyal, initiative, self-motivated, on time, good attendance.

Although difficult to quantify, soft skills play a critical role in employee performance and productivity. They help facilitate human connections needed for high-performance and efficiency in the workplace. 

2020 WORKPLACE TRENDS

The modern workplace is not static, it is in motion, constantly evolving and expanding to accommodate emerging technology, digitization and globalization. These incessant changes reflect in the way organizations engage and retain talents.

It has become imperative to look closely at workplace trends in a bid to understand the different initiatives that are creating significant disruptions in workplaces all over the world; in the next 12 weeks, we will be considering 12 workplace trends that business leaders, as well as professionals, must be abreast of in order to redefine workplace ethos and create a positive, flexible, and collaborative culture tailored to the needs of the modern worker.

TRAINING AND UPSKILLING

The provision of programmes through which an employee can learn, upskill and advance on the job is what determines whether or not, or how long that employee will stay with the organization. It is important to be cognizant of the fact that training spurs personal development and plays a fundamental role in retaining top talent which is why the first 2020 workplace trend we are looking at is training and upskilling.  

The importance of training and upskilling cannot be overemphasized, it is what nurtures top talents and help maintain high-performance teams.

We know what training is, but what exactly is upskilling?

On the micro level, upskilling describes the process by which individuals learn new skills, but in the macro context, it refers to a paradigm shift in the workplace caused by the introduction of technology. As we all know, technology has created new possibilities that can be fully realized only by a trained workforce. This development has necessitated the acquisition of new skills to engage with the technology.

Why is upskilling suddenly taking centre stage?

Digital transformation is largely responsible for this. Technology has transformed business operations by providing tools that make it easy to transact, and at the same time created a skills gap; some technologies have a steep learning curve while others are user-friendly. To thrive in the modern workplace, talents need to acquire technical skills regardless of their discipline or industry.

Beyond a great welfare package, conducive work environment and fat paycheque, one way to retain competent employees is the prioritization of training and upskilling of the workforce.

workplace-trends
workplace-trends
How to stay productive when you’re between jobs

How To Stay Productive When You’re Between Jobs

Sometime in your career, you will find yourself between jobs, in other words, unemployed. It happens to the best of us for diverse reasons.

A gap in your resume does not have to be a red flag to your new employer.

So, what should you do when you’re between jobs? How should you spend your time?

Productivity is a habit, and it cuts across disciplines and fields of work. In essence, you don’t have to be employed before you are productive.

If you read up to here, it means you will eventually learn how to fully maximize your unemployed phase.

Any two of the tips below will help you use your unemployed-phase productively:

Take a Class

Acquire a skill. Learn something new. Learning something new gives an immeasurable advantage. It broadens your knowledge base; it can even get you a new and better job by adding to your skillset.

The advent of E-learning has made learning a lot easier to accomplish and more efficient. You can now take courses online and get certifications your new employer will recognize.

Here are some of the platforms you can take online courses EDX, Udemy, Cousera, Shaw Academy, Hubspot Academy, Skillshare.

Volunteer

Most people think volunteering means you’re desperate. On the flip side, volunteering does better to you than harm when you’re between jobs.

The worst that will happen to you is that you will have a low income. As a matter of fact, the workplace is more humane now than before, any organization that will accept you as a volunteer will take of your basic needs. Even if that doesn’t happen, volunteering gives you the needed experience and fills the gap of unemployment.

Follow a Job Platform

Job platforms increase your opportunity of finding a job. They keep you posted with new jobs that might be beneficial to you. Some even do as good as notify you of jobs around you. Job platforms to follow and register on include Recruiterng, Jobgurus, Myjobbag, Jobberman.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is a platform where a lot of employers scout and search for talents for employment. A lot of candidate selection takes place on LinkedIn. Optimizing your LinkedIn will increase your chances of being found when there is a search.

Start a Business

Not everyone is cut out for being an entrepreneur. However, your unemployment window is a great time to find out.

To us, it is a win-win situation. If you start a business and discover you are not an entrepreneur, you would have gained certain negotiation and communication skills that will aid your new job; then the business can transform into a ‘side-hustle’ and become your extra source of income.

The whole idea of using your unemployment window for the above and more is to stay productive, it is to use that space of time of being out-of-job for something that will not just fill the space in your CV, but make you a better version of yourself.

So, ensure to do what you can!