Director of Product Marketing, HR & Payroll,
Sage Group PLC
It has never been more important to engage with employees on mental health and wellbeing. Discover why supporting your workforce can ensure everyone is motivated and the business thrives.
Employees should have access to a safe, flexible and modern working environment, whether they’re in the workplace or working remotely. And their wellbeing is a vital part of that. By monitoring and improving employee wellbeing, employers can provide a stable and productive workforce – which is important for retention and hiring.
Employers are starting to prioritise mental health and wellbeing
Since the start of the pandemic, mental health has been on the radar of employers – they knew employees would require additional support to juggle working from home while supporting family members, dealing with home schooling and more.
But mental health struggles are rising. According to specialist NHS team The Strategy Unit, forecasts suggest the number of referrals for mental health support will increase by 33% in the next three years.
As businesses continue to adapt to the likes of remote and hybrid working, employee mental health and wellbeing remain on the agenda. Mai-Po Wan is the Director of Product Marketing, HR & Payroll at Sage. She points out that in a recent report by HR advisory organisation Future Workplace, 68% of HR leaders cite employee wellbeing and mental health as their top priority.
She adds: “Many employers are starting to accept and embrace that mental health and wellbeing in the workplace must come front and centre of employee engagement strategies, and are proactively exploring ways to support their people more.”
Many employers are starting to accept and embrace that mental health and wellbeing in the workplace must come front and centre.
Understand what employees value
So how do employers improve workplace wellbeing? By understanding what matters to their employees. Workplace initiatives must address a need to make an impact. But it’s important to consider employee needs at an individual level.
“When it comes to health and wellbeing, one size doesn’t fit all,” says Mai-Po. “There’s greater diversity than ever in the workforce, resulting in a complex set of motivations and needs for employers to support. By tuning into those needs at an individual level, employers can create more personalised experiences to improve wellbeing and engagement.”
Employers can gain clarity on what employees value by listening, understanding and responding to their needs. With regular surveys and feedback, they can generate actionable insights to improve processes, communicate with tailored messaging, and offer additional support.
Mai-Po adds: “Regular communication is key to creating experiences that are as tailored and personalised as possible.”
How to improve employee wellbeing
With the help of cloud HR and payroll software, there are numerous ways to improve employee wellbeing. Providing flexibility will help employees manage their work and home priorities. Employers should consider offering flexible start and finish times, reduced hours and remote or hybrid working to maintain engagement.
Meanwhile, offering recognition can result in employees having a strong emotional connection to the business – and a productivity boost. This doesn’t have to cost money; a simple ‘thank you’ in a team meeting or via a message in an HR mobile app can work wonders.
It is important to look at offering extra support, too. Resources that employees can self-serve with – such as wellbeing support numbers, employee benefits and financial support schemes – can help them put their wellbeing first.
Mai-Po says: “Continually improving employee experiences will increase engagement, wellbeing and productivity levels quicker and more frequently.”
Time to start embracing employee wellbeing
Embracing employee wellbeing is a win-win. A reduction in stress and absences related to mental health will result in higher employee engagement and productivity. With the right technology and processes, both the business and its employees will thrive.
“It’s time for business leaders to act,” concludes Mai-Po. “With mental health challenges on the rise, employers have a crucial role to play in removing any negative stigma associated with mental health, and supporting their employees. If health and wellbeing isn’t at the top of your agenda, it needs to be.”