For businesses ranked among the top employers, focusing on well-being at work is a priority. Employees who feel uncomfortable in their work environments tend to be absent from work more often and are more subject to burnout, which can ultimately be quite costly to companies. What’s worse, such employees can have a negative impact on their companies’ reputations. If you consider that the lifespan of organizations has dropped by a factor of 5 over the last 80 years , focusing on well-being in the workplace is a matter of survival. Taking care of one’s employees is all the more important in situations of labour shortage since it can help companies attract and retain top talent.
What is workplace well-being?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines workplace well-being as “a state of mind characterized by harmony between the aptitudes, needs and aspirations of an employee and the constraints and possibilities of a work environment.” There are many facets to well-being in the workplace—salary, opportunity for advancement, social benefits, communication, management, colleagues, work duties, recognition, fulfillment, interpersonal relationships and feelings of competency can contribute to or interfere with an individual’s well-being in the workplace. In short, well-being in the workplace is related to an individual’s degree of satisfaction with the latter.
Challenges to management practices
Employees who are out of touch with their work objectives
Taylorist workplace structures have disconnected employees from the objectives they are working towards. Although it has indeed helped render work rather idiot proof, innovation and risk taking have suffered in the process. As a result, we are left with a slew of specialized employees who function in a mechanical fashion and only have a limited perspective of the impact their behaviour has. This particular workplace structure may have been appropriate a long time ago, when work environments were stable and predictable, but this is no longer the case.
An increasingly complex organizational structure
As such, today’s employees complain about having to work even harder without really knowing how they are contributing to the company. In our modern-day organizations, efforts are wasted because of countless complications: cumbersome procedures, various hierarchical levels, briefings/updates, multiple approvals, evaluation forms and other document standards. In more complex organizations, it is estimated that managers spend over 40% of their time writing reports and 30% to 60% of their time coordinating meetings . This is clearly not the high level of structure, planning, rules, procedures and processes needed to plan for and overcome the many challenges that are organizations are faced with.
Employees’ needs and expectations have changed
These days, employees are looking for a job that enables them to develop their skills, feel useful and find a balance between work and family life. Yet, according to the Conference Board of Canada, in 73% of cases, the main reasons for low employee engagement in Canada are micro management, an excess of processes, procedures and regulations as well as a lack of openness among managers.
3 tips for overcoming these challenges and fostering well-being in the workplace
The best employers claim that focusing on well-being is the key to performance. According to oXya, investing in their team is what enables them to secure “Customer satisfaction rates of 98%, which create rapid growth and an extremely low employee turnover rate. 
Three tips for fostering the well-being of your employees
Restoring a sense of purpose
Make sure that your company’s organizational culture embodies strong values based on trust and that everyone is aware of these values. For example, you might want to organize team-building activities that help create cohesion, provide inspiring training seminars or hold serious game workshops to tackle key elements related to communication, relationship development and collaboration in an effort to foster the commitment of your team members. When colleagues get a chance to come together in a context other than work, this helps build strong ties that facilitate communication and problem-solving and helps create a sense of belonging and trust. According to a Gallup study conducted in 2018, “women who have good relationships at work are twice as likely to be engaged than those who state otherwise.» .
Actively listening to employees and their ideas
Employees have good ideas. Managers have to provide support to employees who, in turn, must provide support to customers. Simplify your business processes based on organizational agility. This particular philosophy, and the management practices derived from it, meets the needs and aspirations of employees while also addressing the concerns of managers. It is simply a question of implementing flexible management practices, reinventing meetings and decision-making processes as well as giving individuals and teams more autonomy.
Focusing on autonomy and flexibility
According to the Standard Eurobarometer, 94% of Danes claim they are happy with their work conditions which is largely due to autonomy and flexibility at work. In Quebec, as in Denmark, managers can foster their employees’ well-being by allowing them to:
- Develop their skills through training and coaching;
- Become more autonomous thanks to objective-oriented management, increased transparency and latitude when it comes to decision-making. E.g.: giving individuals flexibility to work outside of the office;
- Develop healthy lifestyle habits through incentives such as balanced breakfasts or lunches, gym memberships or workplace yoga sessions;
- Get involved in their communities by implementing an employer-paid volunteering day.
In order to satisfy customers that are increasingly demanding, selective and seeking an experience that is above-par, organizations must not only rely on the talent of their employees, but also help the latter collaborate more freely and independently.
Want to make well-being an integral part of your company? Watch our webinar (in French only) to learn how to develop organizational agility in your business using 10 concrete practices.
Technologia contributes to the success of professionals and corporate performance by supporting the development of individual and organizational skills. Catherine-Julie Charette provides training organizational development at Technologia.
 The average lifespan of a company in 1937 was 75 years and now stands at only 15 years.
 Morieux Y., Tollman P. (2014), Six Simple Rules: How to Manage Complexity without Getting Complicated, Page 6