Employees with a greater sense of wellbeing are more productive and businesses are more profitable when employees are happy and engaged in their jobs. That's why companies should pay attention to it, but how do you measure workplace wellbeing?
There are several different ways to measure workplace wellbeing
Use anonymous surveys to ask employees what they think about the company and about their job roles. Ask them to grade on a scale how supported they feel by management. You can also ask them how happy they feel in general and whether or not they'd feel comfortable sharing personal issues with a colleague or superior. We spend around a third of our lives at work. Stress can easily bleed into our working environment when we're facing challenges outside the office. Gauging employee happiness as a whole can help an employee recognise areas of improvement within existing support and managerial structures.
The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing scale was developed to monitor mental wellbeing within the general public. Using the survey as a baseline will make it easier to recognise areas in need of improvement. Equally, it's a useful means of tracking progress once you've introduced measures to increase workplace wellbeing.
The Culture Amp website offers several suggestions for questions it believes are prudent to include in a survey. It argues that there are five components in understanding employee wellbeing: company, culture, manager, individual, and programs. Using these components should make it easier to identify the biggest challenges to employee wellbeing.
You can also find a survey template on the Tiny Pulse website. Tailor the questions to your organisation where necessary. Questionnaires should be anonymous. Online software can help you generate these.
Once you have your data, it's important to understand how to interpret it. Engage clearly and fully with all the information and record it for comparison later on. These surveys shouldn't be a one-off. Neither should the answers be glanced over and then ignored. Surveys should also cover the different elements of a business with room for employees to elaborate. Some people may like the team they're working on but feel ashamed or apathetic towards company culture as a whole. Be specific where necessary.
Use your own organisation's data. Look at staff turnover within the different departments to see if there are any patterns. How regularly are people taking time off? People doing a lot of overtime may need help managing their workload. This could be where someone steps in to suggest a more efficient mode of working. How many people were promoted in the last year? Do people stick with the company after the initial trial period? Exit interviews can be very useful. Look to see if there was a high number of disciplinaries within the business. What were the causes behind them? It may be time to update outdated policies to reflect the modern working world.
You might like to outsource the data collection to specialist companies. External surveyors will look at workplace culture without bias. They'll then detail their findings and put it into data points that you can use. This can be helpful if you're in (or if you've inherited) a toxic workplace where trust is low between managers and employees.
Wellbeing and productivity are linked. Comparing worker output before and after you started introducing measures can help track progress.
Focus groups can help too. These can be done away from the office in a relaxed environment that's more conversational than interview-like. Individuals may feel more comfortable discussing things in groups.
Social media alerts and employer review sites like Glassdoor can also provide information about a company. Whilst it's not ideal for your shortcomings to be published in a public forum, it's one way of finding out what employees really think.
The goal is to create a working environment where employees know what's expected of them. Where they're comfortable being open and honest about the things that make it harder for them to do their job.
Training line managers to become more aware of the importance of wellbeing can help. Workload management is especially important because it's one of the leading causes of burnout. Having a clear line of communication for wellbeing will make a company more receptive to any problems or challenges. Some may have an easy fix now, but which, if left untreated, could create trouble down the line.
Using appraisals to chat individually with employees can help, too. Giving employees the opportunity to raise any issues with their line manager.
Measuring workplace wellbeing means opening a dialogue with employees. Surveys are a great place to start but be prepared to use the data that you find. There's no point asking for answers if you don't then act on them. Even if you don't like (or agree with) what you're hearing, use the information you've gathered to find a way of building trust, enthusiasm, motivation, pride, and productivity in your workplace.