How to Measure, Monitor, and Sustain Employees’ Mental Wellbeing

GPTW UK

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As the UK moves towards the 1-year anniversary of entering into our first national lockdown, millions across the UK population have now had their first jab of the vaccine. Spring seems to have arrived on our doorstep overnight and the government’s recent step-by-step plan to end lockdown in England has brought a new sense of hope and excitement for many.

Yet with all the positivity, it’s clear there is still a long way to go. The reported statistic of 1 in 6 UK workers experiencing a mental health issue at any one time last year means leaders need to ensure that anyone affected has easy access to the support and services they need, within a caring organisational culture.

Keep reading for an in-depth look at what encompasses an effective wellbeing strategy, and what practical steps can be taken to start improving your employees’ mental wellbeing – without the need for major financial investment.

 

What the Term ‘Wellbeing Strategy’ Really Means

Let’s take a look at what encompasses a ‘culture of wellbeing’ which, at its best, always stems from a strategic approach.

The term ‘wellbeing strategy’ has grown to be a buzzword that, sadly, rarely lives up to its true definition. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, 44% of UK organisations surveyed by the CIPD in 2020 claimed to have a wellbeing strategy – a 40% increase from 2019!

However, companies and business leaders claiming to have a polished wellbeing strategy often simply showcase a bundle of wellness-related perks and benefits. They may offer employees mindfulness programmes, bring in pension advisors, share nutrition advice or encourage staff to try ‘Couch to 5K’. And while all of these can be wonderful initiatives in their own right, they do not equate to a holistic wellbeing strategy.

 

A true wellbeing strategy – by definition – involves identifying an initial challenge and objective, with a plan of action to get there. This could be reducing work-related stress or improving mental health by encouraging employees to practice self-care, stemming from poor results in an employee survey, or red flags from line manager check-ins. An objective around improving mental wellbeing could then include deploying specific tools (such as the Thrive app), supplemented by active efforts to increase mental health awareness in the company, with leaders and people managers role modelling an open and psychologically safe culture.

Ongoing wellbeing monitoring would then form a data-driven basis for adjusting the strategy in a cycle of continuous improvement. Such a strategic approach, which relies directly on first-hand data, is far more likely to sustain employee wellbeing in the long-term compared to arbitrarily handing out wellness perks, no matter how generous these may seem.

For Dr Andres Fonseca, CEO and Co-Founder of Thrive, there are three important stages needed to ensure you develop an effective wellbeing strategy:

“The first stage is to understand your company and the specific challenges your workforce is facing. Once you know that, then apply the knowledge of experts to create the right strategy. This includes knowing what to measure and how to measure it. The third stage is using the data you have gathered through those outcomes that you know measure wellbeing to refine your strategy. The data will tell you what is working and what isn’t. Based on that, you can eliminate what isn’t working, do more of what is working, and try other strategies if your first approach was not entirely successful.”

Dr Fonseca also recognises the impact of Covid-19 which has “massively” impacted the definition of ‘wellbeing strategy’. Looking ahead to trends we may see in a post-Covid world, he continues: “that first stage that I was talking about would have to be revisited.

“Even those things that companies were measuring pre-Covid might not be the right things to measure later. A lot of the strategies companies had in place were designed to work when employees were at their premises. Covid-19 changed all that, so it requires re-thinking all the strategies. I think everything that has been created to enable staff to access help remotely and independent of their work premises is here to stay. This radical rethinking of what a workplace is and how to tackle wellbeing when your employees are working from home, I think, will endure past the end of the pandemic.”

 

Stage 1: Measuring Wellbeing in Your Workplace

A wellbeing strategy ideally begins with a baseline assessment of employees’ experiences and wellbeing levels. One such method is via the Great Place to Work® UK Wellbeing Index, administered to employees online via our Emprising™ survey platform. The Index, comprising 17 unique statements, measures how employees feel about the ways their organisation nurtures their psychological, physical, social and financial wellbeing at work.

In addition to forming the best strategic foundation, the act of surveying employees in itself demonstrates care by taking time to gather and understand how people are feeling (especially vital during times of uncertainty or crisis).

And while asking once is a good start, measuring wellbeing should really be done multiple times throughout the year. Here, pulse surveys provide an ideal way to stay tuned into employees’ experience regularly – even better if your pulse survey platform allows you to collect feedback in real-time!

 

Stage 2: Monitoring Mental Wellbeing

Consider the following scenario: You’ve recently run a wellbeing survey to kick off the cycle of building a holistic wellbeing strategy in your organisation. Now it’s time to scrutinise your results.

During your analysis, you begin to realise there may be a large proportion of employees struggling to take care of their mental health, or feeling that their organisation doesn’t encourage them to do so. In particular, you notice low scores in response to statements such as “My organisation actively promotes mental and physical health among its employees” and “My organisation genuinely prioritises employee wellbeing”. For HR leaders, these are key indicators of how far along the journey to a culture of wellbeing they are, received directly from the horse’s mouth.

One strategic solution to your deficit could be to introduce the Thrive app to your workforce, alongside an internal communications campaign around mental wellbeing –  hopefully leading to increased scores in a follow-up survey.

 

 

Stage 3: Sustaining Your Wellbeing Strategy

Since wellbeing is a specialised area of knowledge, managing an organisation’s wellbeing strategy should sit with whomever has the right expertise.

“It’s a complex subject and there will be many people out there claiming to understand it,” says Dr Fonseca. “To ensure that you have the right strategy, you need to ensure that a real expert with the right qualifications and experience has helped you design it and also deliver it if you don’t have the necessary resources in-house.”

 

How Line Managers Can Help

Line managers are placed at the intersection of organisational culture and employees’ individual experiences. Continuous touchpoints, such as one-to-ones, offer valuable opportunities for stress monitoring, spotting signs of poor mental health, and assessing support needs of employees.

It’s important, however, that organisations are careful not to overburden these managers, who tend to have significant work pressures of their own. “The employer should create the right opportunities and offer the right resources, but it is the employee’s responsibility to act on those,” Dr Fonseca explains.

“So, in a way, most of the responsibility lies with the employee to look after their own wellbeing. Provided, of course, the employee has access to all the right resources and has an employer that enables them the time to actually take advantage of those opportunities.”

In the same vein, possibly the best contribution a line manager can make to their organisation’s wellbeing strategy is to showcase genuine care, creating a safe space for employees’ to talk about their challenges and needs. It’s then up to individuals to speak up as and when needed.

 

Role-Modelling by Senior Leaders

To role model a culture of wellbeing, managers need to be seen prioritising their own self-care, thereby encouraging others to do the same.

Just as senior leaders are tasked with role modelling company values, “they should [also] be visible when wellbeing initiatives are rolled out and really show that they themselves are engaging with these initiatives,” says Dr Fonseca. “They should speak openly about their own wellbeing challenges and do their utmost to reduce stigma. They should also make sure resources are allocated to wellbeing and that it is not seen as simply an afterthought.”

If the Thrive app is a tool offered to employees, for example, this is an ideal opportunity for role modelling. “We do have many managers that use the app and are very vocal about the benefits it confers to them for their own wellbeing. HR directors are actually some of the best at using it and talking about it.

“Unfortunately, we have fewer C-level leaders that have publicly spoken about the app and shown to the workforce that they value it and use it. This is true of the Thrive app, but also true of other wellbeing initiatives. I have not seen many C-level leaders participating in exercise challenges, diet challenges or other activities like that. I think they may see it as self-indulgent or maybe they may tell themselves they don’t have the time. It is however important to make the time, not just for the sake of their own health, but also for that of their employees.”

Our Great Place to Work® UK wellbeing offering has been in full swing supporting clients in their journey towards a culture of wellbeing since 2018. This year, we look forward to working together with Thrive to encourage even more businesses to develop a sustainable, effective wellbeing strategy for all.

 

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Supporting Your Employee Wellbeing Strategy

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GPTW UK

Great Place To Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Our mission is to help every place become a great place to work for all. We give leaders and organizations the recognition and tools to create a consistently and overwhelmingly positive employee experience, fostering cultures that are proven to drive business, improve lives, and better society. Our recognition is the most coveted and respected in the world for elevating employer brands to attract the right people. Our proprietary methodology and platform enables organizations to truly capture, analyze, and understand the experience of all employees. Our groundbreaking research empowers organizations to build cultures that retain talent and unlock the potential of every employee. Our coaches, content, and community connect the boldest leaders, ideas, and innovations in employee experience. Since 1992, our Certification™, Best Workplaces™ Lists, and global benchmarks have become the industry standard, built on data from more than 100 million employees in 150 countries around the world.

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Micro 10-29 Employees
  • Small 30-99 Employees
  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from