6 January 2021

2021: The year employee wellbeing became employee engagement

January and the New Year is often a time to think about making positive changes, with wellbeing top of the agenda. But with the country about to enter Lockdown 3.0 there couldn’t be a better time to demonstrate that wellbeing goes well beyond sweating the small stuff at your workplace.

With a more strategic lens, now is a time to reflect how you want to be seen and remembered internally and externally as a trusted brand who look after their people.

So, while it isn’t the sole responsibility of employers to support their colleagues right now, it is a chance to really show you care when people need you most. With 75% of people trusting their employer over others, it’s a perfect opportunity to deepen engagement and trust within your culture.

Here are five strategic and sustainable ways to increase wellbeing AND engagement for your people. Set the foundations now for a positive cultural shift this year.

1) Use supportive communication

In 2020, leaders were more caring and supportive than ever before – and employees responded brilliantly. If colleagues are struggling, help your managers coach them using ‘reframing’ – a tried and tested technique that shifts thinking from ‘I’m still stuck inside’ to ‘This is my opportunity to focus on myself and my home’.

2) Stay flexible

As the situation changes, people’s needs change as well. Check in with them. Do they have everything they need at home? Do they need to flex their hours due to home schooling? Are they leaving the house every day? This is a chance to build closer connections between managers and teams by being more flexible, agreeing on when work can be done and encouraging people to prioritise themselves. You’ll probably see productivity increase, too.

3) Encourage learning

Even though they’re working from home, people don’t want their careers to grind to a halt. In fact, what better time to refocus on our careers? Help each person in your team to re-engage with your organisation by thinking about what they want to achieve in 2021.

4) Measure, listen and respond

There’s a growing body of evidence that shows the link between wellbeing and productivity and senior level managers are tuning in. With the Covid-19 situation changing daily, it’s really important to regularly ask your colleagues how they’re doing. Some people might not feel able to answer honestly face to-face or on the spot, so try using anonymous pulse surveys regularly throughout lockdown to find out how people really feel. This is the time to measure, listen and – crucially – respond to needs.

5) Cross-connection

Connecting with others is fantastic for wellbeing, even when it’s online. Our clients have told us how good it is to collaborate with people they don’t normally work with since losing those water cooler moments. Think about building inter-departmental groups and task forces; it’s a chance to demonstrate diversity of thought and inclusion. It promotes agile working, innovation and learning – a winner for future-proofing your business, too.

We’ve been supporting brands to promote optimal employee wellbeing throughout the pandemic using coaching, creative comms and activities, and embracing behavioural science. Contact Lucy McKerron for a confidential chat on how to enhance your wellbeing efforts this year.

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