Well-being in the workplace is no new concept. It has been observed as a pathway to keep employees engaged in the company and retain talent for longer periods of time. But how do organizations decide what is the most important for their employees and whom to prioritize while offering well-being benefits? How do organizations ensure work productivity is increased while the employees do not end up misusing these benefits provided to them?
Defining what is important-
Mohan and Lone (2022) talk about how the corporate culture fails to incorporate the aspect of psychological well-being in its wellness programs, and how there is a dire need to inculcate a policy to ensure the psychological well-being of employees in the company. The study hypothesized that work productivity is hampered due to employees probably suffering from mental health issues and not having any intervention at the workplace to deal with these issues. The authors emphasize the importance of corporate companies to add the aspect of psychological well-being as a policy to enhance employee productivity, job performance, and and other aspects of the job. (Mohan & Lone, 2022).
However, post the onset of Covid-19, many companies have now started considering employee benefits as an important way to increase job satisfaction and employee productivity in this matter, which becomes possible with the support of managerial level employees. In fact, many companies have increased employee well-being benefits post the rise of the pandemic, to include emotional, financial, social, and career wellness in addition to physical well-being (Meister, 2022).
These well-being benefits are also more inclusive of the employee assistance programs, which are specifically focused on ensuring the psychological well-being of employees working in the organization. As found in a Gartner (2020) survey of 52 HR executives, 94% of businesses invested substantially in their employee well-being programs, support for mental health benefits has increased by 85%, support for physical well-being has increased by 50%, and support for financial well-being increased by 38% (Kropp & McRae, 2022).
For example, Accenture provides training programs for mental health first aid and suicide first aid to its employees, along with providing confidential counseling services to its employees, free of cost. The company also conducts a survey every two years, to understand employees’ mental well-being and how effective are the interventions that have already been implemented (Supporting Mental Health, n.d.).
Whom to prioritize-
Mohan and Lone (2022) quote the necessity of investing in Well-being programs for employees at the workplace as
“Monetary rewards are limited in increasing the well-being because money is unable to provide for the intrinsic needs at the workplace. This also means that the programs address problems like behavior that impact health risks, improve the quality of life, and return on investments especially the human capital of the employees.”
This statement holds true in the wake of the pandemic Covid-19, where the lines between work and family life seem to be blurred, and the employees suffered by having their work-life balance disrupted amidst uncertainty. For working parents, the situation had worsened where they had to bear the responsibility of childcare and even the studies of their children amidst school closures. Psychological issues seemed to surface more for the employees during this period with the fear of the pandemic and protecting their loved ones along with striving for a balance between work and family life (Giorgi et al., 2020).
This is also the reason why many companies have started taking initiatives to support all aspects of well-being for employees and their families. For example, Cisco provides a full-service Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to employees and their families. Under this program, employees and each of the employee’s family member is entitled to 8 free counseling sessions with the counseling team, and if further sessions are required, the charges depend upon the behavioral health program offered by the company to the employee (Cisco Benefits | CISCO ESG Reporting Hub, n.d.).
Intuit, a software company in the US, provides personalized well-being services to all employees and their family members through a vendor named Virgin Pulse. The Health Management team also ensures providing services for family planning, life-stage support, and time-off to employees for spending quality time with their loved ones for vacations. There is also Accolade Health Assistant, which is a health services app, that the employee or their family members can access at any point in time (Benefits at a Glance | Intuit Benefits (India), n.d.).
Some other ways of ensuring psychological well-being, as cited by Mohan and Lone (2022) are of providing a safe work culture by fostering supportive relationships, and of ensuring equality in the workplace by emphasizing positive DEI outcomes in the workplace. Kropp and McRae (2022) also state how positive work culture is mandatory in the current times by ensuring there are necessary interventions in the workplace to support the diverse workplace. In order to ensure this support, a positive behavior in the form of empathy and guidance to the newcomers by the supervisor will display support for a diverse workplace, since the supervisor’s support is a reflection of organizational support (McHugh, 2017).
Hence, to conclude, I personally believe that employee well-being is being ensured by a variety of organizations in the modern workplace through a variety of methods like the HR team bringing new initiatives to the organization, or vendors providing services in the absence of an internal well-being management team. To make these initiatives better, organizations can incorporate different aspects of well-being such as financial, social, emotional/psychological, etc. and not just focus on physical well-being. Apart from these aspects, organizations should also ensure well-being benefits be extended to the family members of the employee as well, since it makes an attractive deal for the prospective candidates to join the company for a long period of time while enhancing organizational commitment. Organizations need to decide which groups at the workplace are the most vulnerable and would require any form of intervention to ensure their well-being as a priority.
- Benefits at a Glance | Intuit Benefits (India). (n.d.). Intuit Benefits |. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.intuitbenefits.com/in/using-your-benefits/benefits-at-a-glance
- Cisco Benefits | CISCO ESG Reporting Hub. (n.d.). Cisco. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.cisco.com/c/m/en_us/about/csr/esg-hub/people/benefits.html
- McHugh, P. P. (2017). The impact of compensation, supervision and work design on internship efficacy: implications for educators, employers and prospective interns. Journal of Education and Work, 30(4), 367-382. DOI: 10.1080/13639080.2016.1181729
- Kropp, B., & McRae, E. R. (2022, January 13). 11 Trends that Will Shape Work in 2022 and Beyond. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2022/01/11-trends-that-will-shape-work-in-2022-and-beyond
- Meister, J. (2022, January 5). Top Ten HR Trends For The 2022 Workplace. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2022/01/05/top-ten-hr-trends-for-the-2022-workplace/?sh=3a3bd8d53006
- Mohan, H., & Lone, D. Z. A. (2022). Incorporating Psychological Well-Being as A Policy in Multifaceted Corporate Culture. Journal of Positive School Psychology, 6(3), 9392-9403.
- Supporting Mental Health. (n.d.). Accenture. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.accenture.com/in-en/about/inclusion-diversity/mental-wellness
About the author:
Ms. Pragya Sinha is currently pursuing her final year of M.A. in I/O psychology from Mithibai College, while also working as an HR Intern with Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Ltd. She has interned in the HR field for more than a year now, and also worked as a freelance Academic Content Writer and Graphic Designer. Her interests include singing and writing shayari, and she would like to work in the training and development aspect of HR in the future.