The early months of the year are always a time when the winter blues can seep into your organisation. And this year, the continuing economic uncertainty wrought by COVID-19, along with a third lockdown, has exacerbated the season’s negative impact on staff engagement and motivation. Organisations must make an extra effort to boost and protect employee wellbeing if they want to thrive and grow in the face of constant change and disruption in the workplace.

An employee wellbeing strategy fit for the new normal

Existing wellbeing strategies are no longer equipped to address the needs of today’s workforce. While everyone has been affected by the pandemic, our experiences have been unique. Some employees are optimistic about starting a new year, while those who were unable to see loved ones or get some quality R&R may be starting the year in a lower mood than usual.

To deliver an effective wellbeing strategy organisations must adopt a holistic, multi-faceted approach. This is the only way to address every aspect of employee wellbeing —  social, financial, physical and mental. In each area, the support offered needs to be hyperpersonal and flexible to match the individual requirements of the employee.

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Employees who have been working from home temporarily may be able to return to the office before too long. However, this could still be a few months away and a growing number of businesses are planning to adopt a more flexible or “hybrid” approach to working in the long-term. So employers must invest in employee wellbeing initiatives that proactively reach out to teams wherever they are based.
A wellbeing strategy is important in every organisation. How effective your strategy is and how much people engage with it will depend on the leadership team’s commitment to developing and maintaining a culture of resilience across the company. They must lead by example, encourage feedback, foster open communications and provide relevant and meaningful wellbeing resources.

Employee benefits and wellbeing go hand in hand

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Employee benefit programmes can enhance wellbeing. However, they are currently underutilised as many have not been revised in light of the pandemic. In our recent survey, we found that one in five employees do not find their benefits relevant. If reviewed and updated, these employee benefit programmes could provide a much-needed incentive and support for employee wellbeing.

Now, more than ever, HR teams must take the lead and help their organisation avoid a dip in performance as employees return to work, but still not to “normal”. Revising or even creating a wellbeing strategy to ensure your employee benefit programmes, policies and support are fit for purpose will help your workforce feel motivated and engaged throughout 2021 and beyond.

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