HR Management

HR or Therapist: Understanding the Role of HR in Employee Wellbeing

In the post-pandemic world, it has become imperative for organizations to adopt strategies for employee well-being. Employers increasingly recognize the need to keep employees motivated and productive throughout their tenure. Creating a healthy workplace promotes employee satisfaction, has a healthy impact on productivity, and improves employee retention. The last few years have catalyzed how people work and view their workspace. The onus lies on organizations to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.

Source: Deloitte US

Burnout has increased since the pandemic with reports of work-life balance suffering immensely. The lack of set boundaries between personal and professional life has seeped into feelings of depression, withdrawal, and a general lack of interest in tasks. To promote the holistic health of employees, the HR department is stepping up and increasingly listening and offering advice about personal issues.

Accordingly, HR managers today are burdened with the responsibility of doubling up as a therapist to employees. Taking on this additional role has put them under duress. So how can organizations set boundaries for the HR department while anointing them as facilitators of policies and programs to improve employee well-being?

Human Resources can adopt the following strategies to improve well-being at the workplace.

Encourage open and transparent communication

Transparency in communication and all dealings can build trust and create a positive environment for employees to thrive and succeed. By creating a culture of “speaking out”, the management encourages staff to share their concerns rather than constantly bottling up their issues. Facilitating an open-door policy keeps employees engaged and minimizes friction. Employees are more likely to stay productive and happy with the organization if their concerns are given due diligence.

Provide remote and hybrid work options

The post-pandemic years have shown how remote or hybrid work is the way to go forward. While it began as a challenge, today organizations are embracing the benefits posed by the work options. Having the autonomy to choose how you work makes employees more productive and invested in their work. FlexJobs survey finds that 24% of respondents valued remote work so highly that they were ready to take pay cuts, while 58% were inclined to look for a new job if remote option benefits were withdrawn.

Source: Deloitte US

Improve the work environment

A pleasant and healthy work environment is what professionals aspire for today. Creating a conducive environment motivates employees and brings out the best in them. A comfortable and clean space with flexible work options is the deal that employees are looking forward to in 2023 and beyond. A toxic workspace hurts employees and harms their mental well-being in the long run. Employees become disgruntled and unproductive at work in the absence of a positive work environment.

Recognize efforts

Awards and recognition for good work and outstanding efforts go a long way in reinforcing employee belief in the organization and encouraging them to go the extra mile. Timely employee recognitions go a long way in motivating them and making them feel appreciated at work. Organizations must devise strategies to implement employee appreciation and recognition programs in their workplace. Remember, that sometimes even a small gesture can mean a lot.

Manage employee workloads

The lack of work-life balance also seeps from high workloads, impending deadlines, and the pressure to finish work impeccably at all times. Organizations must reassess the workload of each employee from time to time and ensure that no one is drowning from loads of unfinished tasks. Managing employee workload helps them focus better, maintain their well-being, and drives high result for the organization. Employees feel encouraged to work and produce prolific and detailed results if their workload is managed well.

Design employee wellness initiatives

Keeping employee burnout in mind, employers are investing in health and wellness programs that improve the well-being of the staff. Offering mental health benefits to employees can go a long way in easing their pressure and providing them with a reliable channel to seek help. It also relieves the HR management who can then depend on professionals to help out their employees. Companies find these initiatives to be cost-effective and successful at the same time. As an organization, you can provide flexible schedules, leaves for mental health, paid subscriptions to healthcare providers, coaching, and education on self-care to handle burnout.

As the roles and responsibilities of HR expand, playing a therapist cannot be a long-term solution for any organization. The job requires professionals who are trained for the role and can provide better guidance to employees. Set boundaries and train the HR staff to coach and not counsel. Provide your employees with adequate resources to manage their well-being, while clarifying your limitations. In the modern workspace, it is imperative to create a supportive environment that aid workers thrive and succeed. 

Improving employee well-being is no longer a fancy concept but a necessity for corporates. A workplace that takes employee well-being seriously produces outstanding results, has a productive workforce, and can withstand all future challenges. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the organization to create a sustainable wellness program.