For a lot of companies, the question of employee well-being is at the top of their agenda. And for good reason, They want to make sure that their employees are happy and healthy. Why? Because happy and healthy employees are good for business.
But right now there is an epidemic of employee unhappiness in the workforce. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 13 percent of global workers say they are engaged at work. And that’s a big problem. It means that they’re more likely to spread negativity among their colleagues and bring the rest of the team down.
What’s more, many HR departments don’t feel that they are able to address the issue. The same Gallup research suggested the majority felt they lacked leadership. And three-quarters of HR departments felt they lacked the skills to deal with employee problems. What’s more, only a little over 10 percent of departments felt they had an attractive employment brand.
Something seems to be going wrong here, but exactly what remains elusive. One theory is that employees now expect a lot more from their workplace. They have higher aspirations. And they want their employers to reflect this. In fact, we seem to live in a world today where practically everybody wants to be a CEO. Or at least a member of the board. And yet few people have the requisite skills.
Another theory is that employees themselves feel overwhelmed. It seems that these days it’s just too difficult to manage a work-life balance. Employees find themselves constantly on their phones and email, communicating with work. And they find that their time outside of work is drained, thanks to other commitments. Employees, in other words, don’t have any time to themselves to unwind.
For those in the business of HR, these factors alone present a big challenge. So what can they do? Well for one they can bring in outside help. Services, like the employee assistance programme support from Peninsula Group, are a start. These will drill down into employee issues is far greater detail. In fact, external services are likely to have the skills to do this far more effectively than struggling, in-house HR.
And by having an employee assistance program in place, you start dealing with some of the issues in the Gallup poll. Good programs will include a number of benefits. One: they will discuss employee problems face-to-face. Two: they’ll help your company navigate the legal minefield. And three: they’ll engage in preventive care.
It’s clear that companies have to do something about the happiness of their employees. Stress levels can’t continue to climb as they have been. It’s damaging to the competitiveness of individual companies. And it’s damaging to all our lifestyles. In the future, HR departments will need to work a lot more closely with employees. Their role will have to change from managing absences to managing employee aspirations. Of course, not all HR departments will be to do all this themselves. But in the past, there have been moves to make employees physically healthier. Perhaps now it’s time to make them mentally healthier too.