The Kaleidoscope of employee morale and workplace wellness

May 10, 2019 by BPIR.com Limited

Article contributed by Dr. Almas Tazein, BPIR.com Limited

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Can we compare Einstein with Beethoven with Shakespeare? Likewise, one cannot undermine the significance of employees, irrespective of the chain of command. They are expected to create everyday miracles, survive the bullets in times of crisis with stoicism, or at least, sustain the positive status quo.

And we wish to give back. Employee engagement / reward / recognition / appreciation – whatever we term it – it’s not about, but beyond the apathic sales incentives, official celebrations, or a fleeting ‘thank you’ over an email (for salvaging an impending operational-financial catastrophe). Maslow’s hierarchy confirms that all of us function at different levels of need at various stages of our professional lives. Our motivations are chalk and cheese – intra, and interpersonally.

Furthermore, Texas Quick, an expert witness at trials of companies who were accused of overworking their employees, states that "when people get worked beyond their capacity, companies pay the price." Most experts feel that the chief responsibility for reducing stress should be the management. “Work-life balance ranks as the second most important workplace attribute behind compensation, according to research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board among more than 50,000 global workers”. (Dayton Daily News).

So how do we plan to support our employees and make them feel cherished?

How – With empirical case studies and global trends in how organisations contribute to their employees’ psychological health, physical wellness and social camaraderie at work and outside of it, here is a pragmatic guide with the 10 most relevant Best Practice Reports that BPIR.com has published in the employee morale and wellness domain.

Who – From struggling organisations and its dispirited personnel, to eclectic leaders with their effervescent employees, this article will benefit and inspire one and all.

Index of Best Practice Reports – Includes new and old (but still relevant ) reports
1Employee Happiness
2Employee Recognition
3Workplace Wellness
4Employee Motivation 2 & 1
5Building a Healthy Society and Workforce: Awareness and Prevention of Diabetes
6Employee Development
7Emotional Intelligence
8Work and Life Balance
9Mental Toughness
10Occupational Safety

1. Employee Happiness

Happiness at work is a mindset, which enables employees to maximize their performance and achieve their potential. An important part of this happiness is the emotional commitment or engagement that employees develop towards a company, its values, and its mission.

Case Study: How the Head of an organisation implemented a Martini Culture, resulting in a reduction in voluntary turnover from 17% in 2013 to 6% in 2014, and a significant reduction in stress levels, and greater control over their work-life balance.

2. Employee Recognition

Despite the unquestioned benefits of employee recognition, organisations frequently execute their policies or programmes quite badly. In this light, many professional companies have now jumped on the bandwagon and offer employee recognition programmes and services. Employee recognition award.

US $46 billion! That’s how much the employee recognition industry is worth annually. That is about two per cent of the total payroll for individual companies. Does recognition mean money? Read here for the Value and ROI in Employee Recognition.

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3. Workplace Wellness

Workplace wellness programmes are designed to help employees pursue a healthy lifestyle and reduce health risks, enabling to improve their physical, mental and social well-being. Because, ultimately, good health is the best investment plan for doing great business.

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Measure and Evaluate – N.B.: this is a representative portion of the full self-assessment, which may be found in the member’s area at www.bpir.com

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4. Employee Motivation 2

Low employee morale leads to lower productivity, substandard work, and high staff turnover, all of which contribute to revenue losses. Writing in Aftermarket Business magazine, Tim Sramcik outlines the five misconceptions associated with improving low employee morale.

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Example Cases – Philips Electronics, Deloitte LLP, Southwest Airlines, USA.

Employee Motivation 1

According to a research conducted by Greg Smith (2002), President of Chart Your Course International,

Main causes of employee dissatisfaction at work / Factors that de-motivated staff were:

Lack of appreciation33%
Too much paperwork27%
Problems with supervisors23%
Poor pay and benefits22%
Lack of training20%
Lack of opportunity20%
Fairness18%
Problems with coworkers16%
Commute15%
Boring job9%

The factors that workers thought were the most effective actions a firm could take to improve retention were:

Train managers better32%
Listen more28%
Try something new24%
Pay more23%
Select managers better22%
Set the example22%
Hire better people18%
Improve benefits13%

Learn some key actions to implement strategies, and ensure and enhance motivation within your organisation. It is not an option, but a need to measure and evaluate your motivation strategies in order to establish how aligned individual objectives are to that of the organisation, and how motivated and committed employees say they are. Read how First Tennessee National Corporation initiated Work-life programmes to bring positive organisational results, and other novel case studies.

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5. Building a Healthy Society and Workforce: Awareness and Prevention of Diabetes

International Diabetes Federation reports that someone dies from diabetes every six seconds. Extensive research by the World Health Organisation estimates NCD mortality and morbidity of 56.9 million global deaths in 2016, 40.5 million, or 71%, were due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) i.e., cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic lung diseases. The socioeconomic impacts of NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.

This special issue focuses on some of the incredible efforts in the field of preventive health management and wellness initiatives to combat diabetes by governments, not-for-profit, private, and corporate organisations.

The Blueprint for Change Programme by Novo Nordisk is a series of excellent case studies across more than 10 countries. Read how the World Health Organisation is effectively strategizing to salvage the threatening effect of this non-communicable disease.

Explore novel social awareness campaigns for diabetes, and exemplary measures by health regulating bodies and government authorities in UK, USA, UAE, Canada, Australia, Belgium, India, Qatar, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Cayman Islands, Eastern Mediterranean Region, Hong Kong, along with the Global Report on diabetes.

Hence, cost-effective strategies for dealing with diabetes and ongoing research are crucial  to the long-term effects on society and future generations.

6. Employee Development

Employee Development is a strategic investment typically provided through internships, job rotation, coaching, mentoring, training courses, and peer group assistance within the work place.
Doing a fair share of the work: A UK survey concerning employee development which was carried out by "Investors in People" revealed that in all sizes of organisation half of employees reported working directly with someone who failed to do their fair share of work.

Almost 4/10 managers – complained about colleagues not pulling their weight.
40% of employees reported that their employer did not take any action to address this issue.
Staff cited that working longer hours and feeling undervalued were amongst the most damaging issues they coped with, and that this in turn led to decisions to begin looking for a new job.

7. Emotional Intelligence

We have been led to believe that our IQ is the best measure of human potential. In the past 10 years, however, researchers have found that this isn’t necessarily the case and that a person’s emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) in actuality, is a greater predictor of success in life and work.

EQ can have more explicit applications in the following domains: Communication between and among staff members; Conflict resolution; Customer service; Hiring; placement and staff turnover; Training and development; The development of a corporate culture or climate; Productivity; Leadership development.

Unlike IQ, EQ can be developed and worked upon, having a significant impact on financial performance. Success stories: Recruitment costs in the US Air Force (USAF) were cut by a minimum of $3M annually due to its practice of choosing recruiters based on EQ-I criteria.

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8. Work and Life Balance

It is now accepted that family preoccupations can cause stress, absenteeism from work, adversely affect staff performance and productivity, and lead to resignations. It is a worldwide problem that employers can ill afford to ignore.

Vancouver based Martha Frase-Blunt (2001) identifies that many employees, in their concern for their work, only take a ‘busman’s holiday’ – doing on their days off, or in vacation time, what they would do at work. Frase-Blunt cites studies that show workers take mobile phones, laptop computers, and beepers home over the weekends and on holidays. Calling into work to check progress, and accessing voicemail and e-mail were also shown to be common practices.

Jill Casner-Lotto of the Work in America Institute believes that "while today’s communications devices are a boon to flexibility, freedom and enhanced sharing of information, they also undermine the work/life balance". The Society for Human Resource Management’s HR Content Expert, Nancy Lockwood (2003), also cites a recent study that "reveals that employees are often pre-occupied with work when not working, and when in the company of family and loved ones experience an inability to be meaningfully engaged in non-work spheres".

The question is – What are businesses supposed to do about it?

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9. Mental Toughness

All companies want to be successful. But this would be a far-fetched idea if lackadaisical associates run the show, or associates have to communicate with their overtly sensitive colleagues. The situation may even demoralize a well-meaning team. Hence, employers aspire to hire pliable candidates, and leaders need to foster mettle in them by inspiring them to be relentless, i.e., lead by example.

10.  Occupational Safety

Occupational safety and health (OSH) – It is legally incumbent that employers have a common law duty to take judicious care of the health and safety of their employees. Based on the ergonomic survey and research data, safety cultures can be improved by optimizing safety-related communication throughout an organisation
Some 2000 offices in the United States were assessed for the impact of ergonomic conditions, training, and equipment used by office workers. A sample of 299 employee evaluations reported measurable gains in productivity as a result of improved ergonomics, with an average increase of 34 minutes per day. At $30 per hour this represented $4,250 per year, per employee. Costs associated with performing the evaluations—along with the average hardware improvement costs—per employee amounted to $600. Therefore, net savings, without allowing for any injury or illness avoidance costs, was calculated at $3,650 per employee per year (i.e. $4,250 – $600), and the return on investment period was 2.3 months. Considerable savings were also recorded in illness and injury reductions, with a decrease of 28 per cent in cases.

Successful safety programmes have to capture the hearts and minds of the people involved in them, where employees are motivated to take ownership of occupational safety, thereby plummeting the accident rates.


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