Taking ownership of employee wellbeing

Mary Hogg of Hilton to speak at upcoming HRD Wellbeing Summit Australia

Taking ownership of employee wellbeing

Employee wellbeing is at the forefront of every human resource department.

Having happy and healthy employees is vital for the productivity of the company.

A study by consulting firm Gallup showed that for every 10,000 workers struggling or suffering, it equates to $20 million of additional lost opportunity, and that employee burnout contributes to an annual global figure of $322 billon of lost productivity.

“Whether you want to invest in a culture of wellbeing or just make some small steps for your employees, nothing usually happens without a plan and clear ownership,” Mary Hogg, Hilton regional human resources director, said. “Having a wellbeing strategy is an important step in formalising how you prioritise the wellbeing of your people.”

But in creating a strategy, it is important that this has wider ownership than just human resources,” said Hogg, who will be a speaker at the upcoming HRD Wellbeing Summit Australia.

“In the early stages, I would suggest either non-human resource sponsorship or gathering a group of interested people from across your organisation to be a part of creating your strategy. There is no ‘right’ way, it will depend on the scale or your business and how invested the wider team is in wellbeing.”

Hogg believes that there are basic elements that every company should incorporate.

“There need to be a clear statement that reflects your commitment and what the strategy is seeking to influence,” she said.

“Whilst aspirational goals are good, remember to also incorporate day to day activities. There also need to be clear ownership, ideally not just from a single team. You might, for example, commit to running a wellbeing activity every month and rotate which department is responsible for it.”

Next, you should incorporate consideration of all aspects of wellbeing, Hogg said.

“Mind, body and spirit are useful categories to consider in terms of a holistic approach. And if the budget is available, there are external vendors who can work through a program with either your leadership team or your whole organisation.

“When using external experts, it remains as important to have strong and passionate internal advocates, so it feels part of the fabric of the organisation rather than just a bought in initiative.”

Hybrid challenges

The biggest issue companies face now is how to guarantee an employee’s well-being with hybrid working being so actively incorporated across most employers. This makes it harder to monitor an employee’s well-being and to get a true indication of how they are coping with all aspects of work from their daily tasks to meeting requirements and deadlines.

“Putting a group of people in an office for five days a week doesn’t necessary create a team or a sense of belonging,” Hogg said. “I love the simple explanation from Adam Grant that work needs a balance of collaboration and concentration. Irrespective of how many days a person works or their location, it is always possible to create a sense of belonging.”

Everybody has their own preferences, she said, “but critically we need to have an open conversation around the right balance for us as individuals and as members of a team.

“I am a strong believer in team days where we all commit to being together in person. The two team days I have each week are by far my favourite days of the week. That said, if I didn’t have the option to work remotely for some of the time and concentrate than my productivity would suffer.”

Hogg will participate in the panel “Leveraging wellbeing programs as a retention strategy,” which will cover changing employee expectations in the face of increasing levels of burnout, and the need for companies that are truly supportive, especially in a competitive market.

At this session, hear how Australia’s top companies have developed innovative and inclusive wellbeing strategies to support and retain their employees.  

  • Designing flexible hybrid work policies that prioritise wellbeing to create a positive work environment
  • Examples of cost-effective wellbeing initiatives throughout the employee life cycle 
  • Building a culture of belonging and connectedness to combat disengagement
  • Developing wellbeing initiatives that cater to a multigenerational workforce

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