4 Major HR Challenges You Can Solve With Employee Well-Being

4 major HR challenges you can solve with employee well-being

Are you looking for a cost-effective approach to solving some big HR challenges, like recruiting and retaining talent? Getting serious about your employee well-being strategy might just do the trick! The goal of HR is managing and optimising human resources, and that starts and ends with people.

In this article I will cover four major HR challenges and how employee well-being can help solve them. Although well-being may not always be the complete solution, it’s way more important than most HR professionals and business owners seem to realise. This is unfortunate for both the employee and the organisation.

So if you want to learn more about the role of employee well-being in solving some major HR problems, make sure to keep on reading. 

Challenge #1: Attracting new talent

In last week’s article I covered the top eight well-being trends of 2020. One of which was making employee well-being a main part of employer branding. When dealing with a tight labor market, it’s more difficult to attract new talent. People who are looking for a job have more options, meaning they can pick and choose.

In addition to salary and benefits, employee perks are becoming increasingly more important. When you’re looking to attract new talent, you need to know what they’re looking for. These new talents (regardless of their age) care about their personal well-being, not just about making money. This means perks aimed at promoting physical and mental health, as well as personal and professional growth, are deciding factors.

Make sure to do your homework on which perks will attract the type of talent you’re looking for. Do they want flexible working hours and workspaces, access to an in-office gym or gym membership, and what about good coffee and fresh lunch? The list of well-being perks is long. Luckily, you don’t have to offer everything. Focus on the well-being perks they value the most and do what you can to facilitate an attractive workspace.

Tips:

  • Rewrite your company values: Make sure to include your vision on employee well-being and how you take care of your employees. Listing specific perks and activities gives potential candidates an idea of how well-being is integrated into the organisation.
  • Stay true to your company culture: Don’t raise expectations you can’t or don’t intend to meet. If you say you value personal growth but it turns out the employee’s direct manager doesn’t take any part in the employee’s development, the employee will most likely end up leaving. This will only hurt your employer reputation, employee retention rate, and the growth of the employee.
Challenge #2: Retaining talent

Although similar, retaining talent doesn’t work quite the same as attracting new talent. The latter is based on selling a story or vision, whereas the former is about managing and meeting expectations, and putting your money where your mouth is. 

As explained before, failing to meet (and manage) the expectations of employees will damage your employer-employee relationship, possibly resulting in people leaving. This goes for both expectations raised during the hiring process, as well as those raised during the time of employment.

According to this study, 70% of employers believe they provide good support and access to well-being. Only 23% of employees agree. This shows that a large number of employers are missing the mark when it comes to their well-being strategy. In this competitive labour market, missing the mark on well-being can weaken your position as employer.

When it comes to retaining talent, leadership is key. People usually quit their job for one of two reasons: their direct manager or boss, or the work itself. But the thing is, managers play a crucial role in designing this work. The behaviours and attitudes of managers, and their ability to contribute to an employee’s personal and professional growth, are paramount to keeping employees motivated and engaged. Unfortunately, the importance of employee-centered leadership is often overlooked, despite it being a pillar of employee well-being.

Tips:

  • Raise awareness for employee well-being initiatives: People need to know what is in it for them before they choose to take part in something. When your strategy is in line with your employees’ needs, they’re already highly likely to jump at the opportunity to improve their well-being.
  • Make well-being an integral part of the business strategy and culture: When employee well-being is interwoven with the workspace, this will improve overall employee satisfaction and promote a sense of community.
  • Train leadership to actively support and encourage well-being: However you choose to facilitate employee well-being, it won’t work if employees don’t have time to engage in these activities, don’t have access to them, or simply don’t know about them.
Challenge #3: Decreasing costs of absenteeism

Absenteeism is expensive. You’re forced to spend money knowing you’ll get nothing in return. In addition to that, because someone calls in sick unexpectedly, the workload for the rest of the team might increase heavily. But the worst part of absenteeism is that a significant part can be prevented.

In order to reduce absenteeism and its costs, it’s important to know why people aren’t coming to work. The most common reasons are being sick, mental issues, stress, and even low employee morale. All of these causes are related to employee well-being and are intertwined. Especially when it comes to stress, as this can cause strong physical, emotional, mental and behavioural symptoms, both on the short- and long-term. 

Personally, I believe a proactive approach to reducing and preventing stress in the workspace should be at the heart of every well-being strategy. How you wish to address stress in your organisation is up to you, as long as it suits your employees’ needs. The aim should be to provide employees with the tools and support to identify and cope with stress more effectively. One approach might include offering employees a stress management course and removing environment-related stressors from the workspace where possible.

Reducing stress in the workspace has great benefits, including improved physical and mental health, and increased employee morale. As a result, the absenteeism rate will decrease. When you understand how different parts of well-being affect each other (both positively and negatively), you can create a real impactful well-being strategy that pays for itself by reducing unnecessary costs.

Tips:

  • Identify & address the causes of absenteeism: It’s important to be proactive in solving these issues. If you do it right, you will be able to finance your well-being initiative with the money you save on absenteeism costs.
  • Teach employees about stress management: Give employees access to online resources, or internal and/or external training and coaching. And make sure to include low-level employees. They often experience the most stress, but miss out on training and coaching.
Challenge #4: Increasing employee engagement

What’s better than having employees who complete the work they’re asked to do? Having employees who actively contribute and are committed to helping the business grow. This requires a great place to work. An environment that is designed to make employees feel heard and seen, where every person has a place, and individual talents are developed and used in a meaningful way.

By showing you care about your employees, you strengthen the employer-employee relationship. Like any relationship, there should be a sense of mutual trust, respect, and recognition. One way to show you care about your employees is by investing in their well-being, whether it’s time, money or other resources. 

Tips:

  • Focus on developing and using in-house talent: This is a great way to share your long-term vision and include ambitious and talented employees. This also gives them something to work towards on a day-to-day basis, and take or create opportunities to show their talents.
  • Encourage employee-driven initiatives: Encourage people to contribute to the community by organising activities and events, such as sports activities, skill-sharing sessions, or even book clubs. This is a great way to get employees engaged in activities that are linked to your organisation.
Conclusion

A well-being strategy is not just about taking care of your employees, it’s about taking care of your organisation as well. By implementing an effective and efficient well-being strategy, you increase your chances of attracting and retaining talent, while also reducing costs and driving performance. It’s a win-win situation all over. 

Let me know in the comments down below which HR challenge you wish to solve. I’d love to hear from you and I’m always open to suggestions for future articles.

Michiel Hengst
Michiel Hengst

Michiel is the founder of Joseph Waiden. As a well-being consultant & trainer, he helps businesses grow through employee well-being. With his background in philosophy, mindfulness, and stress counselling, he creates profitable employee-centered well-being strategies that benefit both the employer and employee.

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