Employee engagement is all about connecting with people—how they’re feeling and what motivates and drives them to succeed. More than half of Australian workers are likely to experience chronic stress, anxiety or a mental illness throughout their lives. That’s why emotional wellness needs to be a priority for CEOs and business executives.
Investing in emotional wellness means thinking differently about engagement. Employee engagement is about more than job satisfaction alone. It goes beyond salary and company perks. Engagement enters the realm of passion—the willingness of an employee to invest ‘themselves’ into their work, and helping to shape the company for the better. Emotionally engaged employees feel aligned to what they do—they know their ‘why’.
The overall success of a business depends on far more than the skillset of an employee—just as an employee’s commitment to their role depends on far more than simply their pay. Intangible qualities have a significant impact upon a company’s bottom line. Factors such as an emotional connection to one’s workplace; a sense of purpose and meaning; autonomy to perform a role; and feeling a part of something ‘bigger’ all contribute greatly.
It’s this ‘why’, or sense of purpose, that connects employees to their company’s mission and values. Employee engagement has been shown to be a strong predictor of businesses performance. Yet according to a study by Carnegie Management Group, only 25% of Australian employees are actively engaged in their work. In fact, 1 in 5 employees are actively disengaged, and counterproductive to their workplace.
These statistics indicate that most Australian companies aren’t investing in the emotional wellness of their employees. To counteract this, CEOs and business executives are beginning to prioritise employee health and wellness.
Health and wellness programs, which involve activities such as yoga, meditation, float therapy and naturopathy, help employees to maintain a work life balance. Nurturing your employees on both a personal and professional level builds morale and promotes a sense of community in the workplace. Health and wellness programs also focus on positive psychology, improving workflows, promoting team cohesion, reducing turnover, and increasing overall business performance.
At a time when absenteeism, high turnover and “presenteeism”—people being present at work but not productive—equates to several billion in lost productivity, employee engagement has never been more important. Investing in human capital via emotional wellbeing accelerates business growth, drives profits and boosts the productivity of your organisation.
By offering your workforce monthly massages, in-house nutrition talks, yoga classes or even simple health checks, your employees will be less stressed, more engaged and willing to go the extra mile in their work. A 2014 study by Gallup showed that disengaged workers are 3 times more likely to call in sick. Less stressed workers take less sick days, and staff turnover is drastically reduced.
Promoting engagement through health and wellness programs pays. Not only do employees (and businesses) gain a sense of community, support and positive psychology, but looking after an employee’s wellbeing hugely benefits their health. Educating employees about health, nutrition and relaxation strategies allows them to take this knowledge outside of their work environment, and into their personal lives, positively strengthening ties and loyalty to their workplace.