Why would people say they are engaged if their general wellbeing is low?

11.10.17

Why would people say they are engaged if their general wellbeing is low?

Employee engagement scores from surveys or otherwise are looking ok to fairly good whilst at the same time there are increasing levels of stress, sickness absence and turnover and it’s puzzling us.

It’s because engagement is different to wellbeing and we can’t think we have done enough through simple EE interventions alone.  Yes, there are similarities but we must do more.

I’m always replaying back what we are hearing from our clients as I know it’s useful to others to hear trends, particularly if you are a small People/HR team to know that we are not alone and often facing the same issues and also for those who are so entrenched in massive workloads that they often can’t get to events or spend time focusing externally.

We have been leading several events/sessions lately regarding wellbeing and spoken to hundreds of people exploring this hot topic.

I have been particularly fascinated and driven to find out more about the distinction between Employee Engagement and Wellbeing and shared our recent learning on reflection of HR interventions over the last 15 years – see here for our article on the HR Innovation Curve.

This led us to focus on 3 main differences that shift Wellbeing from being another EE initiative to a new focus and phase in its own right, in terms of building a positive work environment for flourishing and thriving.

They are:

1. Wellbeing is about the whole person
2. Wellbeing is about everyone and
3. Wellbeing is about work and beyond.

These distinctions help us consider how to innovate our approach to really build Wellbeing positively for people in their everyday work and roles rather than just ticking the box by providing mindfulness or yoga classes to help cope with negative working practices.

Here are some examples that we offer for each element:

1 – whole person – we need to support people to develop deep self-awareness and confidence in being ourselves, our best selves, embracing our unique and wonderful differences – discovering strengths using our own personal life experience is excellent for this and something we witness time and again rather than a simple assessment that puts us in a box and can leave us deflated.  It is only when we are confidently aware of how to be our best version of ourselves that we will bring our whole selves to work and be proud to do so.

2 – is about everyone – typically interventions in organisations target leaders and whilst we know that leading others is still important, we can also support everyone to take accountability for their own performance and wellbeing, empowering everyone rather than pressuring managers to do even more.  Our wellbeing and performance motivation conversation mats and workshops are aimed at everyone and therefore scale up and accelerate the value from performance improvement programmes.

3 – work and beyond – engagement often stops as we leave our place of work, whereas our wellbeing continues beyond. We know that how we feel at work impacts us outside of work and we need initiatives to support people’s wellbeing to encompass those elements too.

For example, our PERMA wellbeing workshops teach people simple but effective techniques to improve elements like relationships in work that are as relevant for relationships outside of work.

For more information on our wellbeing programmes, including our wellbeing conversation mat, workshops and notebooks, email us or call +44 1273 830 830. To purchase the wellbeing conversation mats and notebooks directly via our online shop click here.

Alex Bailey

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