We hear a lot about wellbeing and health at work. Specifically since the COVID pandemic and its impact on individuals and organizations. But what exactly do we mean by wellbeing and health? What are the stakes and how can organizations create a culture to promote it ?

Employees wellbeing and health is a vector of engagement and sustainable performance in any organization, and the positive impacts of employee wellbeing on performance has long been studied. We know that a happy employee is 12 percent more productive, 55 percent more creative, has better leadership, negotiation, group cooperation and clients skills, and receive better reviews from their managers.

Wellbeing and health at work also has financial implications. In Switzerland,  theyearly costs related tostress at work are up to 4.2 billion CHF, including medical expenses, self-medication, absences and production losses. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has estimated the cost of stress at work at 617 billion annually!

Organizations have then everything to gain by taking responsibility for the wellbeing of their employees, be it for talent attraction, engagement and retention. How can they take care of it ?

Establish a global wellbeing strategy
At an organizational level, you may have a global strategy on wellbeing and mental health, to make sure the objectives and initiatives are aligned and measurable. The strategy should be aligned with the company values. Having a leader on the topic and a working group or Committee to deploy initiatives based on the strategy is also effective.

Make sure your resources are well allocated

You may ensure that resources are well allocated in your teams to avoid any overload of work.

"In Switzerland, the yearly costs related to stress at work are up to 4.2 billion CHF, including medical expenses, selfmedication, absences and production losses"

Conduct regular surveys

Pay attention to your employees needs by conducting regular wellbeing and engagement surveys. This will allow you to understand what your employees are looking for from you as a HR, L&D and as an Organization. It will help you in defining your initiatives based on concrete needs.

Offer flexibility to your employees

Employees, and mostly the new generations, attach great importance to flexibility and work-life balance. It is strategic for organizations to set up working arrangements and let employees manage their missions. Moreover, the added value of having a culture of flexibility is that it will give employees a sense of autonomy and trust, which is critical for sustainable performance, engagement and retention.

Make sure your managers embody your wellbeing strategy

Another essential pillar for wellbeing and mental health at work is the management style. Leaders are role models and have a central place in how their teams are engaged and feel. Some strategic behaviours for managers include “walking the talk” and being ambassadors of the global strategy, ensuring psychological safety and transparency in their teams, being authentic, emotionally present and supportive. Micro-management is to be banned!

Manage your employees development

It is important for your employees to have a clear vision of their learning and development opportunities. The talent management and L&D initiatives are here crucial to ensure wellbeing, motivation and engagement. Regular discussions with your employees and listening to their development needs is essential. Employees who have learning and career opportunities will be more likely to be engaged at work in a healthy manner.

Train your employees

Last but not least, taking care of your employees’ wellbeing and, on a more deeper level, mental health, is nothing without awareness and live experience. You may organize awareness sessions on psychosocial risks and general mental health to both your managers and employees, as well as offer trainings on stress-management, mindfulness, time-management, collaboration and conflicts resolution.