4 Ways You As an Employer Can Help Employees

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In July 2022, Universum released an eBook with key findings regarding employee well-being at work. As the year comes to a close, it is important to remember the findings in this report and reflect on if these were prioritized in the workplace, or if it is a task that needs to be undertaken in 2023.  

What were the findings of the study? 

Well-being: Expectations Meet Reality 

Despite a near-universal desire to work for an employer that supports their well-being, many students and professionals say companies don’t currently do this. Among students, 94% say it’s important to work for a company that makes employee health and well-being a priority, but just 24% say employers are committed to it. For young professionals, the figures are only modestly better: 95% of young professionals want to work for companies that prioritize employee health and well-being, but just 36% say employers are committed to it. “Younger professionals want to work for companies that support them holistically – employers who are committed to their career development and their emotional health and well-being,” says Richard Mosley, Global Client Director at Universum. “Unfortunately our research shows a big gap between expectations and reality. It’s an important signal for employers that hope to create an environment that inspires young talent to stay.” 

Mental health stigmas hinder asking for support at work 

Many university students and young professionals feel that talking about mental health challenges will carry a lasting stigma. More than one third (38%) say they feel stressed or anxious “most of the time” or “always.” For women, that figure is even higher at 40%.Yet among those who say they feel stressed or anxious, fewer than half (48%) have asked for support at work. And of those who do ask for support, just a little over one third (38%) found the support they needed. 

So what can you as an employer do? There are 4 key steps that can aid in supporting employees well-being at work. Did you as a company implement any of these solutions this year? If not, how can you plan to make these a reality in the work place for 2023? 

4 Ways Employers Can Help 

How can employers offer support to their employees and ensure employees feel comfortable seeking help? 

1. Improve workspace design. Employees are most likely to cite “workspace design” as an area where employers can support wellbeing. And the issue is particularly important now as employers roll out hybrid working environments (and in some cases, smaller office spaces). Begin with surveys of employees to understand how office design affects their productivity and well-being. 

2. Don’t just offer wellness benefits; promote them. The overwhelming majority of employers offer some type of support for mental health and emotional well-being, yet just 52% of the professionals we surveyed are aware of employee well-being initiatives. Employers must consider not only offering benefits such as mental-health days off, employee well-being plans, and health assessments/checkups, but also reminding employees that these benefits exist. 

3. Offer more support for managers experiencing stress. Nearly half (47%) of the professionals we surveyed say taking on a higher management position would negatively affect their wellbeing. “Employers need to take care that stress and burnout don’t derail the gains of leadership development programs,” says Florence Jonasson, Employer Branding advisor at Universum. “Leadership development programs should include a self-care component, helping young professionals learn to manage the emotional burden of management positions, and signalling to them that seeking support for well-being is a positive, proactive step.” 

4. Design hybrid working as a well-being booster. More than 3 in 4 (78%) people we surveyed say hybrid work enhances well-being, offering employees greater flexibility to balance their work lives and personal lives. While hybrid work enhances well-being overall, there are still growing pains for employees who may require new skills in managing hybrid teams, working productively at home, or collaborating effectively with dispersed teams. Survey your employees to understand the benefits and challenges of hybrid work, and try to address headwinds early on. 

Employee well-being is essential to the success of the company – if it is not attended to, it is estimated that an average 1,000-employee organization will suffer US$1.5 million in lost productivity due to employee depression. Make time to care for your employees in the year to come, to ensure not only the health and safety of your employees, but also the success of your company. By incorporating some of the above aspects into your Employer Value Proposition, you can ensure their voices are being heard and the human and business impact are minimal. While not always easy to re-asses your Employer Value Proposition, it is a crucial step in setting yourself up for future success. Do you need help refreshing your EVP? Contact us today!