Corporate wellness and employee wellbeing have been the talk of the town for a long time now. Wellics, a software that develops technology for science-backed, personalized wellness coaching and support in that zone, is creating value by making things simple and meaningful. While their expertise is a blend of software engineering, data analytics, health services and product innovation, their activities are supported by an extensive network of wellness and health experts, leveraging tens of years of experience in both industry and academia.
Leaders, employers, HR managers, CEOs – whatever the title – are spending billions of dollars a year on corporate wellness programs today, aiming to achieve one great goal: to keep their employees happy and their profits high.
At the same time, the findings of a recent GALLUP report are compelling: “Only 32 percent of full- and part-time employees are engaged and 17 percent are actively disengaged, into early 2022.”
What are we missing? Traditionally, great leaders are clear communicators. They listen, set the foundation for positive relationships and try their best to keep their teams motivated. Yet research has found that many employees hesitate to share their concerns with their immediate manager.
Here are seven key things your employee wants you to know, but probably will not tell you.
1. I’m losing sleep over my finances
A huge misconception is that people who work and receive a paycheck don’t need to worry about money. That is a utopia.
Research suggests that, if it wasn’t for financial concerns, most employees would be more engaged and more productive at work. Financial stress is more common than we think. Some 49 percent of employees who experience financial stressors spend three-to-four hours a week thinking about their finances while they’re at work.
This is not to say that everyone needs a raise. But it is worth bearing in mind that the next time you see a team member looking puzzled, they may be thinking about something as significant as this; not everyone is living the high life once they leave work.
2. I can’t catch a break
It isn’t just for legal reasons that you need to provide rest and lunch breaks. Employees need that break! They are hungry and grumpy and they need time to rest during the day. This is a time to switch off; they should not have to talk about business or numbers. Let’s be honest, we are not hardwired to work at full power, eight hours a day.
Your team members want to catch their breath but many of them will not stop to do so for one reason: they are afraid of looking lazy. If possible, they would tell you they want to leave the building and take a walk around the block when they feel overwhelmed or start losing focus. Research shows that 42 percent of employees worry that issues can arise if they are away from work and have trouble disconnecting.
3. I really don’t know how to do this
Unless you have managed to perfectly match all candidates with their job description, many of your employees may feel that they lack the knowledge, skills or tools to perform a specific task.
Working in corporate wellness, I know that this is common with startups: a small group of people performing various tasks and stress levels skyrocketing. Why is that? Our brains love safety and they become overactive when we face the unknown. Fear triggers stress. Employees hate looking incompetent, so to avoid that, they are willing to sacrifice hours of sleep instead of telling you, “I am panicking here.”
4. I’m not feeling very well – and I want to go home
Corporate wellness programs always highlight the importance of healthy eating, physical activity and sleep, yet there is more to it than that.
People have many reasons not to feel well: caring for a loved one; going through grief; health problems; side-effects from medication; divorce or break-up; cumulative stress … the list is infinite.
As an effective manager, it is imperative that you give them the freedom to take time off, without them having to explain why they need it.
5. Not another meeting!
Meetings are a great way to stay in touch with your team, but too many can lead to employee exhaustion and disengagement.
The number of meetings in recent years has increased by 12.9 percent and the average working day has lengthened by 49 minutes. Employees have a lot on their plates and they probably do not want to waste their time on yet another meeting with no clear purpose or agenda.
Another factor to consider is that neurodivergent employees may find it difficult to express themselves during meetings, or it may be hard for them to focus – leaving them mentally drained for the rest of the day.
6. This isn’t worth it
Employee satisfaction impacts every facet of the business. Do they feel valued and appreciated? Are they happy in their current role or do they want to move on? Is there any friction within the team that is causing stress or making them unhappy at work?
If a person does not experience any positive emotions at work, then there is a high chance that they will start to disengage. In these moments, you might notice subtle changes: they become more skeptical, or they are present, doing the work, yet they avoid engaging in any initiatives or making contributions. This is when talent goes out of the door and presenteeism, absenteeism and turnover take the lead. When you notice that your employees are starting to disengage, it’s time to work out what is wrong – before it begins to affect the workplace culture and the business overall.
7. Uneven workload
Discrimination is a hot potato in today’s business world.
Although unequal workload distribution may not result in a lawsuit, it can add up to your team’s frustration and internal conflict.
When the stakes are high, most managers end up with the most tested approach: assign the task to the one who never fails. But employees who feel they are overloaded with work due to their higher potential can also experience lower levels of motivation and are more likely to leave. People who know they can navigate through the storm will eventually take those skills elsewhere, in the hopes that they will be better appreciated.
Across all the positive qualities of great leaders, there is one aspect that really stands out – they make it an unequivocal priority to be sure everyone on their team is safe.
The ball is in your court. What would happen if your employees told you the truth? And what would happen if you created an inclusive workplace where people felt comfortable sharing their needs and concerns?