Following the news that one of Japan’s largest advertising agencies, Dentsu, has been charged with ‘violating labour standards’ after the suicide of an employee due to overwork, the issue of happiness at work has never been more pressing. Some even argue that employee wellbeing directly benefits your corporate brand and improves the customer experience. Whichever way you look at it, a contented workforce is fast becoming a competitive advantage.
How you actually achieve widespread fulfilment and satisfaction among your staff is another matter though, not least because each member of your team may have a different idea of what wellbeing in the workplace means. As this suggests, the first step towards improving employee wellbeing is to consult workers on measures you can take to improve matters.
Reflect brand values
When planning work/life balance improvements it makes sense to think carefully about how the initiatives fit with your overall brand values and corporate culture. By ensuring cohesion between internal and external messages about your company you create a sense of joint purpose, encouraging employees to live and breathe the brand. By engendering passion and loyalty for your brand in your staff, it will naturally spill over to customers too. Conversely, if you’re trying to convey an external message which is wholly at odds with the reality of working in the business, you’ll quickly be found out and risk public shaming for the discrepancy.
Listen before you act
Don’t rush headlong into a potentially expensive or disruptive new initiative without sense-checking it first. Ask staff what would enhance their working lives – and be prepared for flippancy! – either by asking open questions so they can have free rein to make suggestions, or by putting forward a list of possible improvements and asking them to rank them. Depending on the size of your team, you can canvass opinions in person, on paper or digitally (via email, an app or online survey tool), but if you’re going to ask for input, make sure that you take suggestions seriously and give proper feedback on which ideas are being taken forward and which aren’t.
Creating a happy ‘home’
What lies at the heart of employee wellbeing is a sense of feeling ‘at home’ at work. This means a workplace where openness and honesty are valued, where ideas are shared and information is freely available. One of the best tools for creating shared resources and open channels of communication is an app such as Communicator. With push notifications you can alert staff to new information and upcoming events, corporate collateral (e.g. images, video and product information) can all be kept in one easily accessible resource library and ideas can be shared easily on message boards or via a virtual suggestions box. You can add in features such as a guide to the local area (shops, restaurants, entertainment) to encourage staff to socialise as well as get out of the office on time! Designed as a shared tool, Communicator is the perfect platform for employees to interact with each other and with their employer in a shared space, instantly accessible from any smartphone or tablet.
It’s increasingly clear that employee wellbeing isn’t just a nice-to-do. From a commercial perspective, happy employees are more productive, healthier and more loyal. Employers report tangible benefits to company performance too: the InterContinental Hotel Group’s focus on employee satisfaction has reportedly been instrumental in helping it climb 64 places to reach the top 3 of KPMG Nunwood’s US Customer Experience Excellence ranking.
If you’d like to discuss how Communicator could help boost your employees’ wellbeing, please get in touch.