Well-Being’s Place in the Employee Experience

September 2022
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The pandemic accelerated what was already a critical topic in our profession; how will we, as PR leaders, act as trusted advisers while ensuring our well-being is a priority? 

In the beginning of lockdown, we focused on survival. We took virtual yoga classes, wine tastings, and art classes, among other activities to stay active and connected. 

Then, in-between COVID variants, came the off/on switch of staying at home and going to the office. At the same time, the economy was doing well, the job market opened up and employees were leaving for greener pastures. 

Now we are in an awkward phase of balancing the flexibility and balance of working from home with the social and relationship-building benefits of working in person. 

This sudden change has caused us to reexamine how companies are providing the right benefits and well-being support to their employees. And employees are taking that information and comparing it to prospective employers. 

One thing is for certain: The pandemic has permanently changed the relationship between employees and employers. 

Questions for employers

The employee’s experience at their company needs to be designed with their emotional, financial, mental and physical well-being closely in mind. That experience starts with the website, the job description, and recruiter interview, continues through the hiring, onboarding, and training process, and will ultimately be examined during employee satisfaction surveys, exit interviews, Glassdoor ratings, and the company’s financial reports. 

Employers need to consider the questions employees are asking themselves:

• How is my life positively impacted because I work for this company? 

• Money is and will continue to be the primary compensation for employees. However, we’ve witnessed people leave jobs for others at a reduced salary or stay at their companies at the cost of earning more elsewhere. Why? 

• Does my manager care about me as an employee? My company places a lot of emphasis on C-level support and participation in well-being practices. From audio-only calls to email-free vacations, we continue to see members of the C-suite promoting this through internal communications and on social media channels such as LinkedIn. However, if my immediate manager doesn’t model this behavior, how do I empower myself to follow the path that’s best for my well-being?

Finally: Will addressing the above questions positively impact the company’s business goals? Let’s not dance around the obvious; companies have business goals they need to meet. Any initiative needs to have business goals in mind. Recommendations need to be research-based through first-party quantifiable and qualifiable data from your employees, designed with measurable objectives in mind, and paired with relatable, practical, and actionable tactics that will benefit the employee and employer. 

This is a new era in the relationship between employee and employer. I look forward to seeing how this evolves in the coming months and years.

Be safe. Be kind. Be well.

This month’s column is an excerpt of a white paper on the topic. To learn more, please visit chasingthesunpdx.com.

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