5 Tips for Improving Employee Emotional and Mental Well-Being

The world has officially surpassed the one-year mark of a remote workforce for many companies – a year full of pivots and uncertainty for organizations. As employers reflect on what has been done and what needs to be improved on, it’s crucial to put employee well-being at the forefront.  According to new research in Harvard Business Review, 89% of workers have reported a decline in their workplace wellbeing since the start of the pandemic.

We sat down (virtually) with Sarah Judd Welch of Sharehold for a conversation on how an employees’ emotions and mental states can impact business performance. Here were the key takeaways:

1. Investing in belonging goes a long way

Belonging has always been important, and a time like now is even more crucial for an employee’s well-being as we work apart from one another and can feel isolated. Additionally, a corporation’s investment in belonging brings innovation, business growth, and revenue:

  • 56% increase in job performance
  • 75% reduction in sick days
  • $52M/ year in savings for a 10k person company
  • Employees with high belonging scores have 18x more promotions, 2x raises

2. Uncertainty magnifies existing belonging experience, whether positive or negative

Results from qualitative interviews that Sharehold conducted last year showed there was an increase in loneliness after the pandemic started, but the jump was not as high as expected. Loneliness actually started to rise pre-pandemic, with the number of Americans feeling lonely increasing from 54% in 2018 to 61% in 2019. A mass remote workforce has provided a deeper look into employees’ lives – who they’ve always been and how their day-to-day experience correlates to belonging experiences. When evaluating and improving on belonging experiences, look beyond this period of uncertainty and seeing how it can be enhanced across any situation.

3. You cannot manage what you cannot measure

Revamping belonging and employee wellness programs should begin with evaluating the current temperature in the workplace. Sharehold offers a simplified assessment tool to help benchmark both an employees’ belonging experience as an individual and within the team—check out their website for this tool and additional resources.

4. Recognize the four types of belonging

Did you know there are multiple types of belonging? Each type plays an important role in the workplace.

  • Foundational: We recognize the shared humanity of every team member, both with and beyond the workplace.
  • Self: We recognize our contributions to team goals and the value of our contributions, regardless of our teammates’ recognition.
  • Societal: Current events in the world have a major influence on our experience in the office.
  • Group: We feel valued and accepted by colleagues for our identity and contributions.

5. Employers and executive leaders have the power and responsibility to prioritize and shape these experiences for employees.

Here are examples of how employers can take action on improving belonging for each group:

  • Foundational belonging: Provide an additional day of PTO across the company
  • Self-belonging: Reimburse employees for executive coaching to reach their goals and develop professionally
  • Group belonging: Implement a team ritual, such as shout outs, for a job well done
  • Societal belonging: Determine a budget for ongoing DEI efforts, and actually spend it

Employee wellness was an important topic before the pandemic, and will continue to play an increasingly important role in employee engagement and company culture as we usher in a new era of thinking about how we work.  For more insights, listen to the entire webinar “Redesigning Belonging for Employee Wellness” and check out these other reads and listens: