How to Boost Employee Well-Being With People Ops

Employee well-being can lead to improved productivity and organization success—learn how a People Ops approach can help.

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How to Boost Employee Well-Being with People Ops

How to support employee well-being with a People Ops approach:

  • Allow as much flexibility as possible, including allowing remote work where it makes sense
  • Provide the resources necessary for your employees to be as productive as possible
  • Offer the benefits that your employees actually want (conduct a survey if you're unsure)

Events of the past few years have ushered employee well-being into center stage. Americans have collectively experienced the stressors of the ongoing pandemic, witnessed the horrors of racial violence, and felt the tension of a divided nation — challenges and suffering, we learned, that were not easily checked at the door.

While many organizations had historically neglected to focus on employee well-being in favor of attention to the bottom line, the events of 2020 and beyond made it impossible to carry on with businesses as usual. As such, companies began to realize the connection between employee well-being and organizational success — and the necessity of supporting it.

The connection between well-being and engagement

When employee well-being suffers, so does productivity and engagement. And disengaged employees create a slew of problems, like lowering morale which can be costly to the business. Gallup found that an actively disengaged employee can cost their organizations up to 34% of their salary.

A disengaged employee can cost your business up to 34% of their salary.

For businesses eager to boost employee well-being, applying principles of People Operations is a smart place to start. People Ops is a people-centric business approach that focuses on maximizing business results and optimizing workforce productivity by making work exciting, rewarding, and engaging.

3 ways to support employee well-being with People Ops

There are three main methods to using a People Ops approach to improve employee well-being:

  • Being flexible
  • Providing necessary resources
  • Offering benefits that matter

1.   Be flexible

Rigid ways of doing business are no more. While the remote work movement was well in place before the pandemic, no one could have predicted the scale at which flexible working arrangements would so rapidly become commonplace. Today, workplace experts, business leaders, and employees agree: there’s no going back.

While some companies are purporting to tow a hard line with demands for on-site work, it’s unlikely these will stick. For one, we’re in the midst of The Great Resignation, a period in time where more Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs than ever before.

Remote workers are no longer seen as non-productive.
Secondly, the remote work experiment of the pandemic debunked previously held beliefs about remote work, namely that employees would shirk responsibility while out from the watchful eye of management. Instead, the opposite occurred — employees were more productive and did better work. What’s more, those offered the continued flexibility to work how and where they’d like came to appreciate their employers more.

Aside from anecdotes from family, friends, and co-workers illustrating this point, there’s cold hard evidence to back it up. Research by MIT professors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen showed that employees benefit from increased health, well-being, and work-life balance when offered the flexibility to complete work on their own terms.

Improving well-being with People Ops is about being people-centric, and few business decisions illustrate this better than empowering employees to work how and where they’d like.

Businesses can consider offering:

  • Remote work opportunities
  • Hybrid arrangements
  • Flexible hours
  • Asynchronous workflows
  • Job share opportunities

2.   Provide the resources employees need to do great work

There’s little more exhausting than toiling away without the tools, support, expertise, or access you need to be efficient and effective.

Employees who lack the resources they need to get the job done are likely to experience a dip in well-being — and engagement — at work. To foster a healthy, productive workforce, make sure your business is providing the tools, support, and leadership teams need to do great work every day.

This will look a little different for every employee. It may take the form of technology that automates repetitive tasks for some. Research by Smartsheet found that 40% of workers spend at least a quarter of their workweek on manual, repetitive tasks, and 69% of employees say the biggest opportunity of automation is reducing time wasted on these repetitive tasks.

69% of employees say automation tools will reduce time wasted on repetitive tasks.

Investing in software to handle rote, repetitive tasks will free up employee time to focus on tasks requiring higher-level thinking and strategy — a recipe for increased employee well-being.

Other team members may benefit from additional managerial support or leadership touchpoints. For example, these employees may prefer a weekly commitment for 1-on-1s in place of the bi-weekly schedule that works for others.

Some resources to consider are:

  • Smarter tools and tech
  • Additional support or touchpoints with leadership
  • Tactical support for ongoing projects
  • Updated processes and workflows

3.   Offer benefits that matter

Holistic benefit programs support employee wellbeing today and tomorrow. Healthcare, PTO, and retirement contribution programs are standard offerings, but businesses can better support employee well-being with a more targeted selection.

If you’re unsure what benefits to offer, survey your employees about what matters the most to them.

Adopting a People Ops approach means putting your workforce at the center of decisions — a feat impossible without ongoing communication between leadership and the workforce. To find out what benefits would move the needle for your team, ask them. Consider surveying employees to find out what additional benefits would be most impactful. Every business is different, and what best suits the needs of one workforce may vary wildly to another.

Some additional benefits to boost employee well-being include:

  • Fertility and family planning benefits
  • Childcare subsidies
  • Financial wellness programs
  • Student loan repayment assistance
  • Robust EAPs and mental health offerings

Wrap up: Boosting employee well-being with People Ops

Supporting employee well-being is good for everyone. Team members benefit from greater work-life balance, better flexibility, and more rewarding work. Businesses that proactively respond to employee concerns by focusing on the whole person, and not just the work they do for you, stand to build more engaged and productive workforces.

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