//Employee Well-being – Understanding your role as an employer

Employee Well-being – Understanding your role as an employer

By Nor Izmawati Mostapar, Vice President of Corporate Communications & e-Learning at MII

It is crucial for employers to realize and acknowledge that taking care of employees’ well-being positively affects business results.
When talking about employee well-being, employers generally focus on the physical aspect of “well-being”. However, since the pandemic outbreak and the change from office to work-from-home, many employers are beginning to understand what it means to look after the well-being of employees. It is more than just health; it is about everyone’s physical and mental state.

Nowadays, the term ‘employee well-being’ has expanded from the traditional viewpoint and focus on providing merely medical care to ensuring employees are in the healthiest and happiest state possible.

Importance of Employee Well-being
Let’s take a look at why employee well-being is more important now than ever before:

1. Reduced absenteeism and healthcare costs
Companies have become aware that being proactive is more profitable than reacting to issues like burnout, stress, or sickness, after they happen. For example, companies have started to implement wellness programs and benefits to change employees’ sedentary lifestyles that increase possibilities of diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases. Employee burnout because of workloads lead to increase of sick days. When employees are not able to perform their work efficiently, this has a direct impact on cost to employers.

2. Improved employee morale and engagement
During the COVID-19 crisis, we have seen how important it is to keep employee morale afloat. Introducing employee well-being initiatives such as mental health workshops or a fitness competition among departments or teams, can significantly improve employees’ morale. This also promotes employee engagement, where employees feel more connected, their health is elevated, and consequently their happiness is increased.

3. Attractive employer branding
According to research, 78% of employers offer wellness programs to attract and retain talent. The fight for the best talent on the market is very competitive. As such, providing employee well-being benefits that are in line with future workforce aspirations is very important if employers want to attract the best candidates that will ensure your company’s business success.

Categories of Employee Well-being
Employee well-being can be categorized into several types to help employers determine the right kinds of benefits to offer each employee. This way, an employer will be seen as catering to individual needs instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach which pays mere lip-service to the issue of employee well-being. Categorization also helps to ensure effectiveness of the organization’s well-being initiative and campaign.

Here are the three main categories of employee well-being:

1. Financial well-being
Financial well-being is one of the most overlooked aspect of employee well-being. An employee’s sense of security and their feeling of having enough money to meet their needs affects their well-being, and it will be reflected in their job performance. An attentive employer can easily detect issues in financial well-being through regular counselling sessions. Employers can assist by engaging financial advisors to help employees make better financial decisions.

2. Mental well-being
Whether stress originates from the workplace or the domestic setting, it affects employee performance. Mental well-being as a part of employee well-being takes into consideration stress, burnout, or any other disturbed feelings that one might have. Employers who practice a company culture in which mental health is openly discussed will greatly benefit as they are quick to address issues on psychological soundness. In turn, employees will perform better at their jobs when they know that their mental and physical well-being is being taken care of by their employers.

3. Physical well-being
Traditionally, employee well-being has focused on physical well-being, involving illness prevention or healing. For example, many companies offer fitness incentives or gym memberships to its employees to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent the development of multiple illnesses. Taking care of the physical well-being of employees also means providing benefits such as annual onsite health screening programs for all employees to help identify or control ongoing medical issues.

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