How to support your employees’ social wellbeing in the workplace
More than a buzzword, social wellbeing is a key aspect when it comes to a person’s overall wellbeing. It not only impacts how people feel and behave generally, but also their performance and engagement in the workplace. This is why as an employer you should be actively supporting your employees’ social wellbeing by implementing effective strategies and providing tools and resources that will help them thrive.
Social wellbeing is a key aspect of wellbeing, along with financial and physical wellbeing. Sometimes encompassed in the terms mental or emotional wellbeing, social wellbeing refers to a sense of belonging, stability and inclusivity. In the workplace, it can also define whether an individual feels aligned with company values, experiences frequent social interactions, and has strong relationships with those around them.
Simply put, social wellbeing is the development and sustainment of deep and meaningful connections with others. In the workplace, this could be other colleagues such as team members and managers, or even customers.
WHAT IS SOCIAL WELLBEING?
WHY IS SOCIAL WELLBEING IMPORTANT IN THE WORKPLACE?
Due to the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, more and more employees have been working remotely and there has also been a heightened sense of job uncertainty. As a result, it’s more important than ever for businesses to focus on improving the social wellbeing of their entire team, so people feel included in the workplace, secure in their roles, and satisfied socially. These all contribute to a strong sense of social wellbeing among individuals, which is vital for high levels of engagement and productivity – both of which strengthen your business and its values.
But despite living in a hyper-connected world, the social needs of employees often aren’t met through the day-to-day working environment. In fact, research shows that there is a demand for social connections to be made at work with 56% of people surveyed saying they would enjoy success celebrations and 45% saying they would value Friday drinks.
People are naturally social creatures, so it makes perfect sense that many instinctively want to interact with others and build close connections. Seeing that the majority of people spend more time at work than anywhere else, it also stands to reason that they value the same things in the workplace.
However, creating a workplace culture where inclusivity and building interpersonal connections are possible is not solely the responsibility of employees. It’s also up to you as an employer to support social wellbeing in the workplace.
People want to build connections with their colleagues
WAYS TO BOOST EMPLOYEE SOCIAL WELLBEING
To foster an inclusive and open culture, it’s important that members of your team feel part of the bigger picture and are kept in the loop. This isn’t always easy, particularly in big organisations with lots of employees. But to tackle this, try and host meetings as frequently as possible, welcome your employees’ input into your company values and decisions, and take their ideas on board. Ensure all your employees feel valued as individuals and show them that they have meaningful roles.
Secondly, celebrate and value individuality. Diverse workplaces are something we should all be striving for, and employees shouldn’t feel they have to suppress parts of themselves to fit in. Having an inclusive space where all employees can come together to connect, recognise each other’s achievements, and celebrate as a team is so valuable. It builds a community where every individual can belong. That’s why reward & recognition as well as employee discount platforms continue to play a vital role in driving social wellbeing and employee engagement.
One-on-one conversations with colleagues are so important for creating a sense of belonging and a holistic culture at work, especially for those who work remotely. Beyond that though, they’re also vital for checking on the mental health and wellbeing of individuals in a more personal way. In these regular check-ins, employees will have the opportunity to discuss their workload, raise any concerns and just catch up with their manager on a personal level. These interactions are so valuable for building manager-employee relationships and demonstrating to your people that your business truly cares about every individual within their team.
To achieve these strong relationships and improve the wellbeing of your team members, it’s crucial for your business to have an effective strategy in place whereby managers are encouraged to actively nurture their team members and build relationships whereby individuals feel comfortable being open about their mental health and wellbeing.
SET UP REGULAR CHECK-INS
ORGANISE SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Social activities provide a great opportunity for your business to establish a strong, inclusive company culture. By allowing individuals to bond both personally and professionally, they’ll discover similarities and common interests that they can connect with others over both in and out of work.
If your company has numerous departments, social events and activities give employees the chance to get to know colleagues they might otherwise never really have the chance to interact with. Forming new relationships and strengthening their bonds with colleagues will boost your team members’ morale and enhance their sense of belonging. You could organise an internal competition to promote teamwork and healthy competition or collectively celebrate events such as birthdays. Alternatively, you can keep it simple by encouraging your employees to eat together in a shared space or organising a work lunch or drinks over Zoom.
Building a culture of recognition is a brilliant way to improve your employees’ social wellbeing in the workplace. When employees are regularly acknowledged for their contributions to the business, they’ll feel like a valued part of a team and more connected to the bigger picture.
There are plenty of reward and recognition tools available that will help your employees feel valued and recognised. Peer-to-peer recognition is particularly important for building and strengthening relationships within the workplace. By using a smart tool to do this, your employees can log in and write personalised ‘thank you’ messages for their colleagues to share their gratitude and appreciation whenever they see fit. Not only will this reinforce purpose among team members and boost motivation levels, but it will also make recognition part of the everyday.
ENCOURAGE PEER-TO-PEER RECOGNITION
Your employees’ social wellbeing should always be a priority as an employer. Not only because it directly impacts productivity and engagement, but also because it’s your responsibility to look after your people and provide them with the things they need to succeed.
Therefore, it’s always worth considering ways you can tailor your company’s wellbeing support and reward and recognition services to improve social wellbeing within your workplace and ensure every member of your team feels valued, included and happy at work.
Ready to boost your people?
Find out more about how we can help you lift up your employees. From tailored wellbeing resources and tools to a reward and recognition platform that will encourage your people to get social, whether that’s by sharing their appreciation for others or nominating their special colleagues for awards. Together we can encourage and build a supportive, collaborative workplace culture that your team are proud to be part of.