51 super employee wellbeing ideas – the ultimate list
On the hunt for some awesome employee wellbeing ideas? Then you’ve come to the right place!
We already know that employee wellbeing is super important, but not all HR departments were created equal. Budgets, leadership buy-in and company culture are influencing – and at times limiting – HR’s opportunity. But have no fear, we have put together the ultimate collection, covering ideas and examples of financial wellbeing, emotional wellbeing and physical wellbeing, to name just a few.
We’ve categorized this mega list of employee wellbeing ideas into seven key areas. Feel free to skip ahead:
- Physical health
- Lifestyle and fitness
- The workplace
- Culture of wellbeing
- Taking care of mental health
- Professional development
- Financial wellbeing
Ready to dive in from the top? Then let’s go.
1. Provide good health insurance
Providing a good level of private health insurance for your employees is a great way to ensure they have somewhere to go when things feel off. Many health issues only become problematic because they don’t get treated quickly enough – which is why it’s super important to make sure each of your employees always have easy and affordable access to high-quality medical care.
And even though the evidence suggests that having good medical insurance does not necessarily reduce the number of sick days that an employee takes off work (Xiao Xu & Gail A. Jensen, 2012), it is thought that good insurance can have a significant impact on reducing presenteeism – which is where a worker is “at work” but are not working effectively due to illness.
For example, according to Harvard Business Review, “studies show that presenteeism costs employers two to three times more than direct medical care, which is paid for in the form of insurance premiums or employee claims”.
2. Offer occupational health support
You should consider providing occupational health support for employees who have been off sick for a long time. You can use an independent third party, or hire your own occupational health advisor. Their role is to find out what the sick employee needs from you, in order to recover, return to work, and perform their job properly.
For example, when Jayden – not his real name – had to take sudden time off work due to a collapsed lung, he reportedly “didn’t feel able to face the idea of returning to the workplace at all”. But with the help of an occupational health advisor, Jayden was given a phased return to work which included reduced working hours, as well as an ergonomic chair to support his ability to sit at his computer for longer periods of time. He was also offered frequent reviews and check-ins to make sure his return to work was being undertaken at a pace he could keep up with.
“Without the help of an occupational health advisor, I would have tried to do too much too soon” reported Jayden. “This would have definitely led to me having to take even more time off further down the line – and landed me in big financial difficulty”
Occupational health support can improve employee wellbeing when things aren’t going too well, by ensuring your employees feel cared for, and helping them access the right support to be able to feel good and return to work.
3. Provide a fresh supply of free healthy snacks daily
We all get a little hungry during the day. Unfortunately, the most accessible snacks tend to be high in salt, sugar and saturated fat.
This is a really simple but immediately appreciated employee wellbeing idea. Always having a selection of fresh fruit and healthy snacks available in the workplace, will help your employees fight off those hunger pangs, while helping them feel happier and healthier by getting that much-needed vitamin boost.
For example, dried fruit and nuts are not only delicious, but can have massive health benefits for your staff. Did you know that this study by Kings College found that snacking on Almonds can improve how your heart responds to mental stress?
4. Ensure at least one healthy option is available from your canteen
If you have a canteen or snack bar where employees can purchase lunch, you should make sure there is at least one healthy option available every day of the week. You might not be able to force employees to eat healthily… but if you don’t give them the option, then you’re effectively forcing them to fill up on burgers and pizza every day!
Offering at least one healthy meal option empowers employees to make better decisions that have a long-term positive impact on their physical health and their wellbeing.
5. Consider special dietary requirements
With all food you provide, or sell, to your staff, you should always take into account allergies and intolerances. And consider offering at least one vegetarian or vegan option – at least!
Forcing vegetarians or lactose intolerant staff to leave the building to find food has an unfair impact on their free time. And it can also lead to feelings of unfairness, especially when they see their colleagues happily socializing and enjoying the free snacks or the canteen menu together.
Equity theory (Adams, 1965) suggests that employees want to feel fairly rewarded for their contributions. If you’re providing food for one group of workers, but not for another – especially if they perform the same job – then this feeling of disparity is likely to grow, and could lead to motivation issues.
6. Educate staff and provide access to healthy living assistance
People usually want to improve their health, but don’t always know how. Working with experts such as nutritionists, you can help to educate your staff on how to make healthier decisions that improve their wellbeing.
You could start by ensuring you have plenty of free information available for people to access. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not invite special guests into the office from time to time, to present talks or run healthy living workshops?
Many workplaces have successfully hired professionals such as personal trainers, diet mentors and nutritionists, to help their workers improve their health and wellbeing. For example, one employee – Lynn – said that her company hired a nutrition counselors, whose advice “literally changed my life.” Lynn reported that she was sleeping better, was no longer tired at the end of the workday, and had no unhealthy cravings.
7. Develop a culture of safety in the workplace
Not everybody gets excited when they hear the phrase “health and safety”. But as boring and restrictive as these regulations might seem, they’re there for a reason – to keep us all safe at work.
In the UK manufacturing industry alone, 66,000 non-fatal injuries happen in the workplace every year. These injuries can cause complications ranging from mild discomfort for a few days, to totally life-changing circumstances.
Needless to say, debilitating injuries are not good for wellbeing. So, you need to set a good example for the rest of your workforce, by taking health and safety regulations seriously. And over time, you’ll begin to build a culture of safety in the workplace, which can help to reduce the number of incidents that can seriously impact the wellbeing of your people.
Lifestyle and fitness
8. Try walking meetings
The next time you want a quick catch-up with a colleague, instead of booking out a room, why not go for a stroll outside? Research conducted at Stanford University suggests that 81% of people demonstrate more divergent thinking after walking, meaning not only do you benefit from the physical exercise, but your meetings might produce more results, too!
Of course, walking meetings might not be suitable for all types of workplace gathering. For example, trying to hold a discussion with five or more people tends to get a bit messy during a walk. But the benefits of walking while trying to solve problems have been proven time and time again – so for small group chats where you really want to solve a problem, going for a walk might be the perfect approach. Not only will you come up with better employee wellbeing ideas, but your staff will be boosting their physical health and wellbeing at the same time
9. Offer free or discounted gym membership
You can’t beat a good workout at the gym for getting those endorphins flowing through your body. Giving discounted – or even free – gym membership to your staff is a great way to boost their happiness, while helping them get fitter.
If possible, choose a gym close by to the office, so that staff can easily call in for a workout before or after their shift, or even during their lunch break!
10. Provide workout classes on-site
Not everybody has the benefit of a gym nearby, but there are plenty of fitness experts willing to deliver energetic workout classes at almost any location you could think of. Why not invite an instructor to deliver classes at your workplace? All you need is some empty space, plenty of water, a pinch of motivation and a change of clothes!
11. Offer group yoga sessions
Yoga is a great alternative to a more rigorous workout – although don’t let the slowness of the movements fool you. Yoga is actually very physically intensive, and can leave you and your colleagues feeling quite exhausted!
The benefits of yoga on your physical health and mental wellbeing are huge. But remember that not everybody has the same flexibility or fitness levels – so if you’re thinking of hosting yoga sessions in the workplace, choose an instructor who can adapt their style of teaching to suit lots of different types of people.
According to The Locomotive Co., leading successful companies like Apple, Google and Forbes have all introduced yoga into their corporate wellness programs, and have seen benefits including increased motivation and better productivity.
12. Invest in standing desks
If you’ve never heard of standing desks, then where have you been?! They do exactly what they say on the label – allow you to work while standing up. Which many people find super helpful for their energy levels and their creativity!
If you’re thinking of buying standing desks for your office though, make sure to consider that not everybody will want one. Give staff the option. Or, if you can afford it, you might be interested in trying desks that can be adjusted to suit both standing and sitting positions, to help people mix things up during the day.
One company that uses standing desks well, is B2C marketing software specialist Databowl. They have often invested in wellbeing initiatives for their staff, and their company – founded in 2014 – has gone from strength to strength. And if you’re wondering what standing desks look like in action? This blog post on the Databowl website shows images of their workforce enjoying all the different positions these desks have to offer.
13. Try exercise ball seats
Some people strongly advocate using exercise balls as seats at work. Because who doesn’t want to work out while they work? But be careful with this one – many professionals advise against sitting on an exercise ball for longer than two hours at a time. So don’t ditch your standard office chairs just yet – if you’re considering exercise ball seats in the office, make sure you have an alternative available, too!
Research found in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association highlights two interesting case studies that have shown positive effects of using gym balls at work, as a potential answer to back pain. But they do advise that further research is recommended before any medical recommendations can be made!
14. Start a running group
Going out for a run or a jog is a great way to break up the day, get the blood flowing and reset the morning’s mental fatigue. But not many people have the desire or motivation to just get up and go, especially if they’re on their own.
Starting a running group at work is a great way to encourage people to improve their fitness levels, creativity, and overall wellbeing in the workplace. Being part of a group increases your motivation to actually get involved, while the social aspect of running with a group of colleagues or friends is good for emotional wellbeing.
15. Start a rambling or hillwalking group
If you want to be a bit more adventurous, you could start a hiking or walking group, which meets outside of working hours. Find a bunch of nice spots with beautiful scenery and interesting routes, and invite colleagues and coworkers to come along. Perhaps you could even nominate a different person to choose the route each week!
Getting out and seeing the world does wonders for your happiness and wellbeing, and can help other people to feel happier and appreciate life more. It’s also a great way to help people strike important social connections with their colleagues, while sneaking in a bit of easy-going physical exercise at the same time.
Of course, some critics point out that this wouldn’t work in most contexts, as employees may expect their employer to pay for transport and lunch, and possibly even a professional guide. But with a willing and eager workforce, we think this could be a fun way to promote physical activity and social interaction that boosts wellbeing.
16. Create a healthy cooking club
A healthy diet does awesome things for a person’s wellbeing. So if you have a few budding cooks amongst your ranks, why not start a healthy cooking club, to help people experiment with new recipes and try new things?
If you have the suitable facilities in your workplace, you could host the club there out of hours. Alternatively, why not rotate each week or month, and have a different colleague host the group in their own kitchen at home?
One suggestion we’ve seen which we particularly like, is the idea of paying chefs to host remote zoom cooking classes, where employees can log in from the comfort of their own kitchen and follow along!
17. Provide bike parking and changing facilities
Giving up the car and switching to a bicycle is one of the best ways to improve your physical fitness and wellbeing. But it’s a tough change to make – especially if there are no facilities to accommodate you when you get to work.
Giving people a secure place to park their bikes is a great start. But providing shower and changing facilities is what will make the biggest difference – after all, nobody wants to sit at their desk drenched in rain and sweat.
According to CycleScheme.co.uk, 1,000 calories are burned on average, just by cycling to work 3 times a week – that’s the equivalent of four double cheeseburgers! And the average person loses 14lbs in weight, during their first year of cycling to work.
18. Offer flexible working
In 2019, People Management reported that 69% of people say flexible working helps them maintain a healthy work-life balance. And more recently, the pandemic has shown most of the world that actually, working from home, or working unusual hours, doesn’t necessarily interrupt business operations as much as some people previously thought. So why are we still insisting on set working locations and shift patterns?
Giving employees the opportunity for more flexible working is a great way to empower them and help them strike a better work-life balance. Whether that means letting them work from home once a week, or whether it means letting them start and finish at different times to account for things like school runs or soccer practice.
Everybody is different, so you’ll probably find that a flexible working request from one person will look totally different to a flexible working request from another. But that’s one of the beautiful things about flexible working – it allows employees to tailor their own way of working, which can dramatically boost wellbeing.
19. Evaluate your break out spaces
It’s a no-brainer that you need to provide your staff with a place to rest during downtime, right? Apparently not for everyone… a study of 1,700 employees actually found that nearly 70% of employees are still spending their allocated break periods at their desk! So why does this happen?
You might think that having a break out room, or a staff room, or a canteen, is all you need to provide your employees with a good “downtime” space. But the way different people relax and recharge can vary wildly.
When looking at your breakout spaces, try to ensure you have places dedicated to quietness and solitude, while you have others that foster a more social environment. This will help people to make the most of their breaks and will naturally improve their wellbeing.
20. Consider sources of natural light
Employees benefit from exposure to sources of natural light. And Harvard Business Review reports that almost half of employees feel tired and gloomy when they lack exposure to the good stuff. So is there anything you can do at your workplace to increase this exposure?
Think about where your windows are – and whether or not you can move chairs and desks around to better catch the natural light. And if you have a difficult office environment, then you might want to consider investing in “natural daylight lamps” – also called SAD lamps, which are proven to boost serotonin levels.
If your employees are exposed to dim artificial lighting, then they may find themselves suffering from strained eyes, headaches, drowsiness and a lack of focus. You can improve their wellbeing by paying attention to your lighting situation.
21. Weekly work-life balance check-ins
Sometimes, the best employee wellbeing ideas are the most simple. And that’s why many employers advocate regular check-ins with their employees, in order to simply ask how their work-life balance is feeling.
We recommend having a weekly check-in, but as long as you’re consistent, the cadence isn’t the most important part. What’s important is finding out how each person is handling their work responsibilities, while juggling whatever home responsibilities and pressures they may also face. A conversation is sometimes enough to learn that somebody is struggling – and often, the solution to help them make a breakthrough is a simple and easy fix.
22. Team lunches
Take your team out for lunch once a week. Make sure you foot the bill, and consider letting them choose where they’d like to go.
If you are based close to plenty of cafes, restaurants and coffee shops, then you’re in luck. But if not, why not consider ordering in once a week? Nothing beats a delicious pizza on a Friday lunchtime to boost everybody’s spirits.
23. Friday drinks
Friday drinks are a great way to boost wellbeing. You see, not everybody has a super busy social life outside of work, and structured meet-ups outside of working hours can be a great remedy to this.
Not everybody will be interested in going out for drinks after work on a Friday, of course. But for those who crave a little help extra social time? It could be the perfect way of giving them something nice to look forward to throughout the week.
You don’t have to limit yourself to drinks, either. You could go for team meals, or do other fun activities.
24. Strong and fair bonuses and incentives
Giving bonuses and incentives is a great way to boost wellbeing. It can give people more pride in their work, while providing a nice cash boost for a job well done.
But as well as having a generous bonus or incentive scheme, it’s important to make sure it is fair, too. Why?
Well, we mentioned “equity theory” earlier on in this article (Adams, 1965) – and the same thing applies here. Employees need to feel like they are being rewarded fairly – not just handsomely. If you only offer an exclusive selection of employees the chance to earn bonuses and incentives, then you may be harming their psychological wellbeing.
25. Take a “family first” attitude
For most people, there is nothing more important than family. And that’s why employers who take a “family first” attitude tend to have great employee wellbeing scores amongst their workforce.
But what is a “family first” attitude? Well, that depends – there are lots of ways to approach it. But for many employers, it simply means letting employees put their family first, no questions asked. Child off school sick? No danger. Emergency hospital visit with a parent? Shut your laptop and go already!
And look, this isn’t just some “nicey nicey” idea promoted by small trendy start-ups. In fact, HR Magazine listed some pretty big names as being amongst the Top 20 Family-Friendly workplaces in the UK – including American Express, Imperial College London, and Lloyds Banking Group.
When people know that they will be able to take care of the ones they love, they will feel happier and more confident at work. This not only boost wellbeing, but often leads to harder work and higher productivity, too.
26. Give a good paid vacation allowance
Many employers take the approach of offering the minimum legal allowance of paid vacation time – which in many places, is diddly squat. But if employees cannot afford to take time off to rest and recover, their wellbeing will be taking a hit.
When Harvard Business Review makes the data-driven case for vacation, their hypothesis is that employees cannot function at a high level without appropriate rest and recovery periods. And that’s one of the reasons we believe that you should offer a generous paid vacation allowance – and make sure employees actually use it. It’s a great way to nurture a workorce that is happy, healthy and hard working.
27. Provide a good Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
An employee assistance programme is a great way to provide tailored support to employees to ensure they can get help whenever they need it.
Normally, an EAP will offer services such as a telephone helpline, short-term counselors, and a referral service for employees and their immediate family. Services do vary though, so when choosing an EAP provider, make sure that they actually offer services that will be of real value to your people.
An EAP is usually quite easy to set up, and there are plenty of third-party providers. This list of the nine top EAP services might be a good place to start.
A culture of wellbeing
Before we continue on this list of employee wellbeing ideas and how to build a culture of wellbeing, we think it’s important to take a moment to ask what this actually means.
Here’s the thing. Improving employee wellbeing isn’t just about implementing neat ideas. As Professor Sir Cary Cooper once said, “wellbeing is not about sushi at your desk” – it’s about actually building the right approach into the very fabric of your culture! Which means doing things that show your workforce the importance of wellbeing, and that help them understand how important it is to your organization.
So these next ideas will help you to improve wellbeing, while delivering an important message about your company’s values and beliefs – a double win.
28. Monthly “charity of choice” fundraiser
Almost everybody is broadly supportive of charity. But everybody tends to have very different focuses and priorities – depending on their beliefs, their values, and their experiences in life. Somebody who has nursed a sick relative through cancer may support a different charity to somebody who has rescued and raised an abandoned puppy.
Why not let staff take it in turns to nominate their “charity of the month”? During that month, any fundraising activities you do, or any charitable donations your organization makes, should go straight into that charity of choice.
29. Staff volunteer days
Another great way of helping staff feel good by supporting their favorite charities is to give them a volunteer day allowance. This means giving them one or two paid days per year, where they may spend the day doing any volunteer work of their choice, for the charity or cause of their choice.
Volunteering has a proven link to better wellbeing. For example, this 2016 study found that those who engaged in regular volunteering appeared to experience higher levels of mental wellbeing than those who never volunteered.
30. Get involved with the local community
Staying in tune with events, good causes and organizations in your local area is a great way to show your staff that your company has a good moral compass, and a culture of wellbeing.
Whether you’re sponsoring local fundraisers or helping out with school and community events, you and your team can have fun getting involved and making a difference in your area. You may find that the positive brand exposure is an added benefit, too!
31. Have an employee wellbeing day
If it’s feasible, why not have one dedicated day per year, where you shut your workstations, and spend the day only on wellbeing activities?
There are different ways to do this, but some organizations find it’s best to host a few planned activities which help people recharge and improve their wellbeing. Let people bring their families, too! Alternatively, you could simply give everybody free reign over how they’d like to spend their wellbeing day – even if that’s just not getting out of bed until the afternoon!
32. Put together a wellbeing steering committee
Let your staff volunteer to join a wellbeing steering committee, and hold regular meetings to make sure you’re continuing to push for better wellbeing.
Your steering committee should help to define and protect your wellbeing goals. They should also be able to keep their finger on the pulse to work out how well your employee wellbeing ideas and initiatives are working.
Having a steering committee made up of regular employees helps to show people that their opinion is important, and that you really do want to make the workplace a better place for them to be.
33. Be open about change
When something big changes in your organizations, it’s very tempting to try and hide or downplay this for your employees. After all, you don’t want a rebellion on your hands. But actually, if you’re open and honest about changes, employees will adapt to them better. And they’ll feel better, too, knowing you trust them enough to give them your honesty.
And if you don’t believe us? This article, by a Harvard Business School professor, shows us five painful examples of times when an organization’s lack of honesty and transparency, during times of big change, actually became their downfall.
34. Provide management training to build relationships
Employee wellbeing ideas are no good if your frontline managers aren’t onboard with them. In fact, you’ll want to make sure your managers are all trained to understand what makes a good, healthy relationship – in other words, people skills.
In an interview with People Management, Professor Sir Cary Cooper said “The one thing managers lack is good social and interpersonal skills. It’s not that we don’t have good managers – we may have good technically competent managers, but the majority of them don’t have the social skills they need.”
Providing mandatory “people skills” and wellbeing training to all of your management team is a great way to make sure your wellbeing ideas and initiatives are adopted and implemented across all areas of your business, by the very people who are on the frontline.
Taking care of mental health
35. Make mental health training compulsory for management
Part of the battle to combat mental ill-health, is making sure you’re equipped to spot the signs when somebody is struggling. And there are plenty of mental health training courses available that can help you and your management team do this!
You don’t need to be re-training your management team as psychiatric counselors. But teaching them how to spot the signs of mental illness, and how to approach the situation when it arises, could be invaluable for your organization – which is why many employers believe that in order to improve mental wellbeing, you should make mental health training compulsory for all members of management.
36. Offer mental health training for all staff
And why stop with just management? Mental health training should be made available to anybody who wants to take part. The more the merrier!
The University of Huddersfield, for example, has a whole network of “mental health first aiders” amongst their staff. They say that this helps to create a culture and environment whereby the whole organization are empowered to talk about mental health as part of everyday life, and work together to promote good mental wellbeing in the workplace.
If you offer mental health training to anybody who wants to take it, then you’ll be far better equipped to support members of staff who may be struggling. And your workforce will see that you really do care! There are plenty of good mental health awareness training providers who can partner with your organization at a very reasonable cost.
37. Create a peer mentoring or “buddy” system for support
Buddy systems were originally used in hazardous situations to increase safety. Think rock climbing, scuba diving, that sort of thing. But actually, a buddy system can be a great tool for providing essential psychological support in the workplace, too!
A buddy system involves teaming up individuals in your organization, in a way that encourages deep friendships, and creates strong support links. And not only does a buddy system improve the wellbeing of the individuals involved, but it’s a great way to help new starters get up and running when they join your company.
38. Provide anonymous counselling services
Sometimes, employees may struggle with internal demons that they’re simply not comfortable discussing with a friend, with a family member, and certainly not their employer. But professional counseling can be expensive and difficult to access. Supplying an independent and external counseling provider for your employees, who can help them talk through their problems, could be a real game-changer for your workforce.
The important parts here, are “independent” and “anonymous.” If employees think the counseling service is just another extension of HR, then they may not trust it with their real problems – and it may become ineffective.
39. Hold daily check-in and check-out huddles
One great way to support positive mental health on a daily basis, is to hold “check-ins” twice daily. One in the morning, one in the evening. These huddles should last around 15 minutes, and just give people the chance to air any concerns, get rid of any roadblocks, and feel together as a team.
“I’ve found personal check-ins to be brilliant“ said Dr Shaun Davis, Director of Wellbeing for the Royal Mail Group, in an interview with People HR. “They take a while to get there, because it’s kind of an odd concept. But they’re really helpful!”
During the morning “check-in” huddle, you may find employees want to get something off their chest that is happening at home – in order to free their mind for the rest of the day. During the evening “check-out” huddle, you may want to encourage employees to share any concerns that cropped up during the day, so that they’re not taking their problems home with them.
40. Offer guided meditation sessions
Many people practice meditation independently. And it’s easy to see why it’s so popular – after all, it has been scientifically proven to help reduce stress and control anxiety. But not everybody understands it well enough to pursue it on their own – which is why having regular guided meditation sessions at work could be a great way to boost wellbeing.
Having a tutor come in once a week to take willing participants through guided meditation sessions and routines could begin to have a ripple effect on the rest of your organization. Who doesn’t want a workforce that feels totally zen with the world?
41. Offer a rich variety of training and development plans
Making sure your staff can always access great training and development workshops or programmes is probably the most fundamental way you can support professional development. Nobody wants to feel like they are stuck in a dead-end job with no chance to progress, and no prospects for the future. Providing training and development opportunities shows you value their potential, and you’re willing to invest in their future.
And while not everybody is convinced that learning and development goes hand-in-hand with employee wellbeing, the data doesn’t lie. This one systematic academic review of learning and development interventions, found that in most cases, there was a significant increase in positive wellbeing for the workforce.
42. Bring a career guidance counsellor into the workplace
You can help people define what they want from their professional life even further, by having career guidance counselors pay your workplace a visit, and offering their advice and guidance to your staff.
Studies have shown that career counseling can help employees to develop their potential, while also helping the company to reduce absenteeism, tension at work and low productivity (Brown, 1989).
We tend to forget that once we leave school, nobody really tells us how we should be approaching our careers – and it’s easy to fall into a rut. But encouraging your teams to feel confident about their professional future is a great way to boost wellbeing – and has the knock-on effect of developing motivated, loyal workers.
43. Try shadow days or “job swaps”
For employees who might be interested in a total career change, but who don’t want to leave your company, why not offer them the chance to shadow somebody else for the day? Sitting in with somebody for a few hours can show you the reality of doing that job.
Or why not have them actually swap jobs for the day? This needs to be carefully managed, but has a ton of benefits for both you and your employees.
44. Invite motivational speakers to help staff feel energized
We all need a bit of extra motivation from time to time, to help us find our mojo. And one great way to do that is to invite a special guest to your workplace, to deliver an entertaining and inspirational speech to get your staff going!
Employees working for UK software giant The Access Group reported feeling more confident and motivated after hearing from inspirational characters during their annual internal sales and marketing conference.
Hiring somebody who has achieved something inspirational – such as climbing a mountain, or breaking a world record – can help employees to dream big. And it’s a great excuse to forget about the daily duties for an hour and spend some quality time with your colleagues.
45. Ensure you’re using 360-degree feedback
Performance management and feedback are important parts of the employee experience. But if you only use a linear review system – whereby the manager reviews their subordinate’s performance – this can often leave employees feeling unfairly treated. And this is sometimes true, especially if there is a bit of friction between the two parties.
Introducing 360-degree feedback into the way you review performance is a great way to help employees feel more fairly reviewed, and more confident with their appraisals. 360-degree feedback involves getting performance feedback from all angles – management, senior management, colleagues, contractors, every angle you can find.
According to a 2016 Forbes article, more than 85% of the Fortune 500 companies were using 360-degree feedback as their cornerstone for leadership development.
46. Pay a decent wage
This should go without saying, but one of the first things you should do to make sure you’re looking after the financial wellbeing of your staff is pay a decent wage. Look at industry averages, and look at government recommendations and guidelines. Aim to beat both of these, and try to ensure you’re giving each worker the best baseline possible.
And while you may be tempted to pay employees the legal minimum wage in order to save costs, you should at the very least aim to pay the minimum “living wage” – which is a wage calculated to be what a person actually needs in order to get by and is often higher than the legal minimum wage.
While a higher wage in itself is not going to instantly create good financial wellbeing, it’s an essential springboard to start from.
47. Offer debt counselling services
One of the biggest negative factors on a person’s financial wellbeing, is problematic debt. More people than you might realize are struggling with debts which they feel are unaffordable – and often, these people are stuck on high-interest payment plans, and are not sure how to get unstuck. And it can massively harm mental health and wellbeing!
One case study reported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists explained how Tracey – a once capable person – became incapacitated by debt worries. Tracey described: “Even when working, paying back my creditors seemed an insurmountable task for someone who by now had become a helpless wreck just wanting to close her eyes and never wake up.”
If possible, you should offer professional counselling services for anybody who may feel they are struggling with unaffordable debt. This should be given by professionally trained and qualified financial counselors.
48. Run financial education workshops
Ongoing education is the key to solving the root cause of money mismanagement – and it can be what helps somebody learn how to manage their money more wisely. Running financial education workshops at your workplace can help introduce staff to concepts which may be useful, but which may seem alien to them – such as pension plans, investments, credit management and more.
Organisations such as the London Institute of Banking and Finance offer corporate training packages to help people improve their financial education. This can range from informal educational workshops, to full-on financial qualifications, depending on what you feel is best for your workforce.
If you give your staff the tools to make smarter financial decisions, you’ll find that their financial wellbeing improves as a result.
49. Educate staff on the dangers of payday loans
Payday loans are extremely high-interest short-term loans, which are often the only source of borrowing for people with poor credit histories. Unfortunately, they tend to hurt people far more than they help – they seem to be a quick fix in an emergency, but in reality they end up putting people into perpetual and unaffordable debt spirals, which often end in misery.
This one academic study concluded that most people who take out payday loans actually take out even more loans within six months – suggesting that it hasn’t fixed the problem. The same study also reports that payday loans cause a person’s credit score to deteriorate – another sign that this type of short-term credit harms more than it helps. Yet Cuffe (2013) estimated that around 5.5% of Americans had taken out a payday loan over a five-year period!
Educating your staff on the dangers of payday loans – which may seem an attractive option when times get tough – could help to prevent a tragedy down the line.
50. Offer flexible wage advances at no extra cost
Cashflow emergencies happen sometimes. So if employees really do need a short-term cash injection to solve an urgent problem – such as a car repair or an unexpected bill – then giving them access to a flexible wage advance could be a good alternative to high-cost payday loans which only ever spell trouble.
If you decide to let employees draw their wages early, you might want to consider any limits or conditions in advance. But if your goal really is to support their financial wellbeing, then this sort of service should always be offered free of charge – after all, it is meant to support people who are struggling, not to profit from them.
51. Run a profit-sharing scheme
Many employees will never get the opportunity to invest money into stocks, shares, or business ventures. But you can help them get “skin in the game” by offering them the chance to earn shares in your company, or even by running a profit-sharing scheme.
A profit-sharing scheme lets employees share the profits of the business, which can help to give them the feeling that they are more in control of their earnings, and therefore their financial future. It’s also a great incentive to encourage hard work and high levels of engagement!
Despite being reported as helpful for productivity and wellbeing, adoption of this type of scheme remains low. According to the results of the European Working Conditions Survey, profit-sharing systems in the UK stand at just 11.8%, while employee share ownership is just 4.4%.
Once you’ve had time to digest our employee wellbeing ideas, the Workstars team created another mega article all about employee recognition ideas we think you’ll love too.