The American Institute of Stress estimated that workplace stress and poor wellbeing costs U.S. employers approximately $300 billion annually in absenteeism, turnover, reduced productivity, and healthcare expenses.
Poor wellbeing is a growing problem in the workplace, and many organisations are beginning to take notice. However, addressing the symptoms of poor wellbeing, such as absenteeism, presenteeism, and high turnover rates, is not enough. To truly improve employee wellbeing, organisations must address the root causes of the problem.
Here are three key reasons why organisations should focus on addressing the root causes of poor wellbeing, rather than just skimming the surface of this as a company problem:
Focusing on the root causes of poor wellbeing can lead to sustainable change. By identifying the underlying issues that are impacting employee wellbeing, organisations can implement long-term solutions that address the root of the problem. This can lead to a more sustainable and effective approach to improving employee wellbeing over time.
Improved Employee Engagement
Addressing the root causes of poor wellbeing can improve employee engagement. When employees feel that their employer is invested in their wellbeing and is taking action to address the issues that are impacting their health and happiness, they are more likely to feel engaged and committed to their work. This can lead to improved productivity, morale, and job satisfaction.
Better Organisational Outcomes
Addressing the root causes of poor wellbeing can lead to better organisational outcomes. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to be productive, motivated, and committed to their work. This can lead to improved business outcomes, such as increased revenue, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.
What can senior leaders be aware of and start to impact to address root causes of poor wellbeing?
Poor wellbeing in organiations can be attributed to a variety of root causes, many of which are interconnected. Identifying and addressing these root causes is crucial for improving overall employee wellbeing and creating a healthier work environment. Some common root causes of poor wellbeing in organisations include:
Workload and Job Demands: Excessive workloads, unrealistic expectations, and constant pressure to meet tight deadlines can lead to stress, burnout, and poor mental and physical health among employees.
Lack of Work-Life Balance: When employees feel they have little control over their work hours or are constantly expected to be available outside of regular working hours, it can erode work-life balance and negatively impact wellbeing.
Unclear Expectations and Role Ambiguity: When employees are unsure of their roles and responsibilities or feel that their contributions are undervalued, it can lead to frustration and a sense of disengagement.
Poor Management and Leadership: Ineffective or unsupportive management can contribute to a toxic work culture, increased stress, and a lack of trust within the organisation.
Inadequate Resources: Insufficient resources, whether it’s staffing, technology, or tools, can result in employees feeling overwhelmed and unable to perform their jobs effectively.
Lack of Recognition and Reward: Employees who feel that their hard work and accomplishments go unnoticed or unrewarded are more likely to experience low morale and reduced wellbeing.
Bullying and Harassment: A hostile work environment characterised by bullying, harassment, or discrimination can have severe negative effects on employee mental health and overall wellbeing.
Inadequate Training and Development: Employees who feel that they lack the skills or opportunities for growth may become disengaged and dissatisfied with their jobs.
Limited Autonomy and Control: Micromanagement and a lack of autonomy in decision-making can contribute to feelings of disempowerment and reduced job satisfaction.
Financial Insecurity: Concerns about job security, inadequate compensation, or a lack of financial stability can contribute to stress and anxiety among employees.
Poor Physical Work Conditions: Uncomfortable or unsafe physical work environments can negatively impact employee health and wellbeing.
Lack of Mental Health Support: Inadequate mental health support and stigma around mental health issues can prevent employees from seeking help when needed.
Isolation and Loneliness: Factors like remote work arrangements or a lack of social interaction in the workplace can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can harm mental health.
To improve employee wellbeing, organisations should assess these root causes and implement strategies to address them. This may involve fostering a supportive culture, providing resources for stress management and mental health support, offering flexible work arrangements, and promoting open communication between employees and management.