Ayush heads HR at Goodera. He has been in the HR domain for 12 years. He has worked in the consulting as well as the corporate side of HR. Working with the likes of Accenture, Groupon, Amazon, he has vast experience in leading teams across Talent Management, Talent Development and Talent Acquisition. His expertise lies in setting up HR functions within startups and smaller new age Technology Firms.
When talking about employee wellbeing at the workplace, we often consider employee happiness to be the key. And thus, organisations build policies and run programs to make their employees happier. And yet, we see more wellness programs fail than succeed. Why is that so? Where do we go wrong? Ayush Sinha from Goodera helps us understand.
In my career spanning over 12 years, I’m yet to meet a single employee who wouldn’t consider ‘happy’ conditions as a key motivator at work. And yet, I have seen more wellness programs fail than succeed.
What are we collectively doing so wrong?
Employee wellness is essentially a complete lifestyle and behaviour change for the company’s culture. And change takes time with commitment.
Additionally, corporate wellness cannot be treated as a band-aid whenever or wherever the cracks appear. Engagement, support, motivation, and strategy are the key to success. If employees are not involved in the solution from the beginning, it’s difficult to succeed; especially in a country like India.
Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report 2017 shows that only 13% of Indians, whether employed in the organized sector or otherwise, are engaged at work, underscoring the glaring need for a renewed approach to employee wellbeing.
Wellbeing forms a significant aspect in an employee’s journey at any level in the organisation, which has found a deep resonance among CxO’s, trying to mould this narrative into definitive action, to achieve harmony between professional and personal aspirations.
While most people would acknowledge that employee wellbeing is crucial in keeping employees engaged and motivated, it happens to be often misunderstood and understated, as most organisations still regard employee wellness as a perk rather than a necessary investment.
Wellbeing is at the foundation of any thriving organisation and it begins with an employee’s duties, expectations, and environment.
Wellbeing isn’t just for employees, it’s for company leaders and CEOs as well. Creating a culture of wellbeing starts at the top. Employees who feel cared for by their leadership and company are better poised to do well at work. A Deloitte study, which points towards factors that contribute to positive employee experience, identifies five pillars (in no order) a workplace must constitute to deem itself a “Simply Irresistible Organisation” – meaningful work, supportive management, positive work environment, growth opportunity and trust in leadership.
While most organisations are able to implement and deliver intended outcomes of these drivers, as best as they can – with well-directed and defined practices, they are unable to bridge the distance between their leaders and employees, which can act as a powerful enabler to ensure the success of any employee wellbeing program.
Knock Down the Barriers
Businesses will reap benefits manifold if individual employee needs, which impact their wellbeing, were to be – understood, capacitated and evangelized by the leaders in the workplace. Cultivating an unfeigned empathy reduces interpersonal risk between senior management and employees. It perpetuates an atmosphere of sincerity when it comes to employee wellbeing, as envisaged by Deloitte’s Simply Irresistible organisation model, and establishes the truest sense of belonging by being heard to be supported and not for a mere tick in the box.
It has become imperative for employers to focus and dig deeper for developing effective programs, that can help realize the benefits of wellbeing – improved productivity, strengthened culture, reduced burnout, and attrition.
Balanced workdays are productive workdays. If employees have a flexible schedule, they are more likely to focus on task-in-hand rather than wasting energies on multitasking. It plays a tremendous role in the peace of mind for the employee.
If your workforce can manage family and personal needs without affecting their output at work, what better can an employer ask for? It boosts morale, reduces tardiness, and encourages business’ image as a family-friendly place to work.
Happiness or well being is deeply tied to having a sense of purpose. A feeling that whatever little or big things you’re doing in your life leads to something meaningful. However, a vast majority of companies fail to tie engagement and a sense of purpose beyond sales figures or company growth. Social initiatives such as volunteering or giving back to the community are one of the best ways to drive engagement that go beyond games and team lunches.
Food for Thought
Companies are reconsidering the way they look at and treat employee wellness, across industries. However, it usually boils down to how willing the company is to plan, implement, and manage wellness programs. At times, programs look great on paper, but the reality is quite different. Look at a few programs from other companies, get a feel of what the employees like, and stay open to experimenting. It’s a process and with times you’ll learn and get better. As someone rightly said, a great reputation is earned every day.