Employee Well-being – a Necessity in the Fight for Talents

A study conducted by IF Insurance in 2019 found that 55% of employees are ready to leave their current workplace to work in a way that is more in line with what they would expect in a normal workplace. Furthermore, 57% stressed that the employer needed to improve the well-being of the employees. [1]

What kind of workplace an employee would like to see can be viewed through Maslow’s well-known pyramid of needs. Every individual has needs – from the basic necessities of survival to the spiritual and self-actualization needs. Many of them are closely related to the working environment.

In today’s demanding work environment, where the lack of skilled and self-motivated employees and their engagement has become one of the most pressing business challenges, working to reach the highest demands of the Maslow pyramid is crucial for attracting and retaining talents.

On which employee needs should an employer work on to become both competitive in the labor market and create the environment for productive work? Let’s look at Maslow’s pyramid of needs in the prism of employee well-being methodology.

Physical well-being encompasses the physical place of the working environment and the individual – from work spaces to nutrition and physical wellness. Primarily in this dimension of well-being, the physical and safety needs of the employee are met.

First of all, it is the physical environment itself – working space, furnishings, microclimate and lighting conditions. Adequate work ergonomics are important not only for employee health but also for productivity – allowing processes to be performed more conveniently and efficiently. For example, a study conducted by the University of Leicester [2] found that 43% of employees had become more productive after one year of using the standing tables. Constant standing creates a heavy foot load, so ergonomics with a variable desk surface that can be adjusted to the required height by the worker is the most appropriate method today.

Secondly, it is the physical health and well-being of the individual himself, which is closely linked to good quality and thoughtful nutrition and physical activity, which is particularly inadequate for office workers. Research has shown a strong association with healthy habits, not only through reduced sickness days, but also through improved cognitive abilities, reduced stress levels, and improved learning. [3]

Material well-being. In the context of work and everyday life, the financial aspect is equally important. According to a study conducted by If Insurance in 2019 , better pay is one of the main factors why an employee would be ready to change jobs. [4]

Although in many ways we think that money is not a good motivator, it is important to bear in mind that until an employee feels financially sound and fairly remunerated, the amount of salary will be a very important criterion for choosing a job.

The material dimension is closely linked to the provision of basic needs, a sense of security for employees and the opportunity to realize their social status.

Social well-being involves relationships in the workplace and a sense of belonging. Psychological safety and trust within the team is one of the most important aspects that Google has recognized in its effectiveness research. [5] There is room for growth in companies – a study conducted by Kantar in 2019 found that 35% of employees have problematic relationships with their managers, while 27% of respondents perceive collaboration among colleagues as poor. [6]

When an employee feels affiliated with an organization, he is 5 times more likely to show superior performance compared to non-affiliated colleagues. [7] Therefore, it is worth considering the work culture within the company – whether it fosters diversity and collaborative relationships.

Mental well-being includes dimensions such as psycho-emotional health, self-growth, work purpose and spirituality. Looking at Maslow’s pyramid of needs, this dimension of employee well-being is at the top of the pyramid – often the deciding factor for whether an employee will choose a long-term job and what their performance will be after meeting their primary needs.

A study by recruitment firm CareerBuilder found that more than half of employees feel burned out. [8] One in three workers who are exposed to increased levels of stress in the workplace are dissatisfied with their current job. Similarly, almost a third of employees experience a persistent feeling of fatigue, which can critically impact productivity. Such employees will not be able to develop their potential and creativity.

At the very top of Maslow’s pyramid is the self-realization of the individual – from a professional point of view, an opportunity for personal growth, work sense, creativity, and ability to influence processes directly related to employee performance. [9] Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Survey found that only 43% of employees are confident that their employer provides them with exciting growth opportunities, and only 53% of employees recognize that the organization they represent provides meaningful work. [10]

Maslow’s pyramid’s highest need for self-actualization is different – if the other needs are „passed“ (for example, a person eats, sleeps, receives respect from other people), then self-actualization is an endless process that must be followed jointly by both the employee and the employer.

If the company wants employees to see their contribution to the organization and want them to contribute in the long term, the employer should be able to provide a healthy environment. It is worth engaging your employees to create wellness activities and find out the team’s priorities and wishes. Think what you can do now to improve the well-being of your employees!

References:

[1] https://www.if.lv/par-if/medijiem/2019/tresdalai-darbinieku-ir-normals-darbs

[2]https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/10/standing-desks-will-improve-productivity-study-university-leicester/

[3]https://hbr.org/2014/10/regular-exercise-is-part-of-your-job

[4]https://www.if.lv/par-if/medijiem/2019/tresdalai-darbinieku-ir-normals-darbs

[5]https://rework.withgoogle.com/print/guides/5721312655835136/

[6]http://stradavesels.lv/jaunumi/darba-vide-latvija-uzlabojal-tomer-vel-ir-daudz-darba-ltradajoso-labklajibal-un-lablajutal-celsana/

[7]https://c1.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/assets/pdf/datasheets/salesforce-research-2017-workplace-equality-and-values-report.pdf

[8]http://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-05-23-Do-American-Workers-Need-a-Vacation-New-CareerBuilder-Data-Shows-Majority-Are-Burned-Out-at-Work-While-Some-Are-Highly-Stressed-or-Both

[9]https://c1.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/assets/pdf/datasheets/salesforce-research-2017-workplace-equality-and-values-report.pdf

[10]https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/focus/human-capital-trends/2019/workforce-engagement-employee-experience.html

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