Written by: Tom Nash
(View Author Bio)
Supporting employee health and wellbeing is ever more prevalent for many industries. However, driving specific behaviours that deliever results can be challenging. Here are five focus areas that help build a culture of recognition to optimise your health and wellbeing initiatives.
Most organisations have gone through a lot the last few years, especially when it comes to addressing the overall health and wellbeing of their employees. A lack of focus and attention these initiatives can have a drastic impact on engagement, productivity, mental health, turnover and the financial bottom-line.
Employee health and wellbeing is not just about supporting individuals who are stressed and struggling, it is about creating a strategy and culture that allows employees to feel safe, supported, happy and prosper. To achieve this, we can split an organisational health and wellbeing approach into five focus areas:
Organisations should avoid the trap in thinking that employee wellbeing is only a HR problem to solve and drive. It requires the involvement and support from leadership teams across the entire organisation to lead by example and promote key behaviours. To achieve this, it all starts with a strategy focusing on social, career, physical, community and financial wellbeing.
What are the benefits of creating and implementing a health and wellbeing strategy?
Seen as being proactive, not reactive.
Once a strategy is in place organisations need to be able to implement initiatives and measure results, which is easier said than done. To remove barriers of success, your recognition strategy should not only compliment your health and wellbeing strategy but play a key role.
Achieving high employee engagement is not only desirable but necessary as it has a ripple effort on many aspects that determines a successful organisation.
Employee engagement sets the stage for developing trust, which opens the door for addressing overall wellbeing. Low and declining levels of employee engagement closes that door.
One of the key drivers in lifting and maintaining employee engagement is recognition. A lack of recognition is one of main reasons why employees are disengaged. Employee engagement is the key aspect of increasing employee productivity, innovation and retention. Moreover, social recognition amplifies the message of recognition that takes place and thus allows engagement to flourish.
Organisations with recognition programs that enable employee engagement had 31% lower voluntary turnover than organisations with ineffective recognition programs (Bersin by Deloitte).
Companies with a strategic recognition strategy reported an average employee turnover rate 23.4% lower than companies without any recognition program (SHRM – employee survey).
In the end employees want to enjoy their work, find meaning, be recognised when they do well, and feel a sense of achievement. Frequent and meaningful recognition helps fulfills this want and starts a cycle of repeated behaviours explained by behavioural economics:
- Rodd Wagner, New York Times bestselling author of Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees as if They’re Real People
Building a culture of recognition plays a key role in achieving strong employee engagement, but also directly impacts mental health and overall happiness.
To summarise, BI WORLDWIDE’s own research supported by external literature reinforces that building a culture of recognition creates employees who are happier, more engaged, committed, and intensely performing. This translates into lower turnover, higher customer satisfaction, and ultimately reduces the cost of onboarding.
Driving the health and wellbeing message and initiatives significantly relies on leaders. They are responsible for implementing and driving a work culture that supports their employees’ health and wellbeing. In fact, research conducted by BI WORLDWIDE highlighted those employees who report being in a work culture that supports their health are at least twice as likely to feel:
Consequently, employees that report a lack of the above qualities from their manager are therefore more likely to cause employee burnout, their team are less likely to work hard and be less committed.
Show Managers you have a plan for the future and that you are adapting that plan based on what they’re telling you is working (and what’s not). Managers who see value in the purpose will work harder to bring it to life each day.
Make sure leaders are given regular opportunities to see how the health and wellbeing initiatives contributes to larger organisational goals.
Give leaders a specific health and wellbeing project or initiative to own. Be there to support them when needed but give them the freedom to manage it and see it through to completion.
Spread the word and keep checking back to make sure goals are being met.
Recognition is a learned behaviour. Let managers know why employee recognition is important and the value it plays in reinforcing the health and wellbeing behaviours.
When managers have recognition budgets to use at their discretion, employee retention increases. A BI WORLDWIDE study of recognition with points showed employee turnover is 4x higher among employees who received the lowest frequency of recognitions per month compared to employees who received the highest frequency.
The individual state is all about deeply understanding the positive impact a health and wellbeing strategy has on individual employees. Knowing the impact allows you to explain to key executives and managers why a strategy is required and the difference it can make. It therefore helps create advocates of the strategy at all levels of leadership, which trickles down to employees recognising an organisational approach in providing health and wellbeing assistance. The inclusion of building a culture of recognition and empowering leaders will only help delivery results and overcome barriers to success. In fact, BI Worldwide research found employees who think their organisation provides health and wellbeing support are:
A robust recognition and rewards platform should be considered when delivery a tailored health and wellbeing program. Launching programs on an easy-to-use platform helps bring it to life, promote actions and behaviours, brings people together and makes it possible to evaluate the overall effectiveness. Here are some ways a recognition and rewards platform can deliver successful health and wellbeing initiatives.
By offering your employees a formal system through which they can recognise their colleagues for good work, you’ll sustain your culture of recognition, generating employee behaviour change, satisfaction, and engagement.
Empower leaders by providing manager discretionary budgets to send recognition with rewards. A recognition with a personal comment from a leader has a material impact on the level of commitment and intensity of that commitment. Adding discretionary award points simply magnifies that impact.
Turning on a nominations module allows participants to submit nominations for individuals or teams, and give leaders the ability to easily manage the approval process, and winners. Creating a formal framework for contributions from teammates with specific criteria can really help align health and wellbeing behaviours.
Learn2Earn modules are quick and simple way to train, educate and grow participants knowledge with quizzes. For effective take up, issue rewards and badges for completion and / or passing the quiz.
Gamification is a great way to ignite emotions and desires. Examples may include competition through leaderboards, collaboration by completing team missions, community by seeing other participants on a news feed, collection when earning unique badges and surprises by unlocking new missions. All unique and effective ways to foster engagement and motivate participants, ultimately drive your strategies and delivering targeted results.
At a purely social level, games are popular because they're fun and memorable. Turning on online games on a platform creates a next level unique experience.
OTS cards are branded physical cards preloaded with Award Points. It's a fun, quick, and easy way to reinforce behaviours and recognise accomplishments effectively face to face. The cards are activated on the platform which can be redeemed for a wide array of rewards including merchandise, travel, and experiences.
Learn more about OTS cards
The use of visual banners, news items and tailored communications via a platform allows you to communicate your Health and Wellbeing initiatives effectively. Creating vivid ways of communicating overcomes the spotlight effect.
Employees receiving aspirational and meaningful rewards for key behaviours motivates them to repeat those behaviours, results in greater effort and improves the relationship between the employee and their employer. The research is in, non-cash rewards have the greatest impact on behavioural change.
Reporting and analytics is the key to understand the impacts of recognition and reward tactics. An effective platform requires analytical tools and reporting to truly understand and evaluate the impact certain initiatives have on overall engagement and performance.