The Future of Wellbeing and Engagement Tool
Engage for Success’s vision is that in 2025 the UK’s working population is healthy, happy, and able to realise their potential. They are supported by their employers, are motivated and committed to contribute to organisational success and understand the part they have to play.
This ‘Future of wellbeing and engagement’ tool is a practical resource, which can be used by HR practitioners, leaders, managers, consultants and employees.
This tool will help you understand the key trends likely to affect the UK’s organisations and working population in 2025, the potential impact of these on wellbeing and engagement, and how your organisation can prepare.
It was developed by the Wellbeing Thought and Action Group: phase 3. Our mission is to drive the debate and provide practical guidance about the link between wellbeing and employee engagement.
The Wellbeing and Engagement: the Evidence white paper showed that engaged employees with high wellbeing are 35% more attached to their organisation than those with lower wellbeing; and we know that higher employee engagement correlates with greater productivity. For example, we have seen that those organisations in the top quartile of engagement scores demonstrated revenue growth 2.5 times greater than those in the bottom quartile.
So what is employee engagement? At Engage For Success (EFS) we do not consider there to be one definition of employee engagement that is superior to others, but the definition that we offer to organisations to consider is: Employee engagement is a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of wellbeing.
Wellbeing is clearly at the heart of EFS’s recommended definition of employee engagement, and we consider the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of mental health to be a useful definition of overall employee wellbeing “a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”
It is worth noting that in our work we view wellbeing in its broadest form. We believe that employees need to be well both physically and mentally, and the examples and case studies included in this tool reflect this approach. This tool will help you understand the key trends likely to affect the UK’s organisations and working population in 2025, the potential impact of these on wellbeing and engagement, and how your organisation can prepare.
Prior EFS research has found evidence of a strong correlation between high employee wellbeing and high employee engagement. Neither ‘leads’ the other – in fact, we see high employee engagement contributing to high employee wellbeing, and vice versa. They form a ‘virtuous circle’, mutually reinforcing each other. Academic research also supports the links between wellbeing, engagement and organisational productivity/performance. As an example, Brunetto et al (2012) stated that “work engagement is associated with higher levels of psychological wellbeing”.
The wellbeing agenda has risen in profile over the years as the health and safety remit has grown in line with our understanding of wellbeing and engagement. ACAS believe “whilst physical health and safety in the workplace remains a paramount concern, more recently there has been a growing recognition of the importance of psychosocial issues, with a focus on both the psychological and social elements of work”. Year on year progress is being made as reported through independent reviews. Business in the Community (BiTC) found in a 2014 report on FTSE companies that there were improvements in “better work”, “better physical and psychological health” and “working well” from 2013 to 2014.
Read more about the evidence for improving engagement and wellbeing.
The world and the world of work is changing at a rapid pace. Research into the future of work shows that wellbeing will be a key aspect of how the workplace develops and an opportunity (or challenge) for organisations and individuals alike as the future of work develops.
The UK Commission for employment and skills (UKCES) state that it is not possible to predict the future, comparing the common belief 20 years ago that the future UK labour market would work radically reduced hours and have increased leisure time, with the reality that in 2014 ‘mobile is set to overtake desktop to access the Internet, and work and leisure hours have become blurred by our increasingly ‘mobile’ lives. Jobs are being done on the move, at any time of day, in almost any location.”
UKCES predict that “The global labour market in 2030 is likely to be highly competitive. New attitudes and behaviours will be needed by individuals and businesses founded on flexibility, resilience, collaboration, entrepreneurism and creativity. Above all, the ability to respond to continuous change will be critical.”
In summary, EFS believes that for organisations to successfully improve employee engagement and wellbeing, they need to consider how future trends and the future world of work will affect their organisation and their employees in 10, 20 or 30 years. It is not enough to implement engagement and wellbeing initiatives for now – organisations need to be focused on future-proofing themselves and their people if they are to ensure a happy, healthy and engaged workforce in years to come.
Wellbeing and employee engagement is important for all organisations, regardless of size, sector or location. It matters to those who lead them, those who work in them and those invest in the organisation’s success.
Its importance and its relevance will continue to grow as we move further into the 21st century where the workplace will often consist of five generations and the lines between work and home life blur even more than they do today.
If someone is happy, healthy, and engaged at work, or indeed if they are the opposite, this impacts upon their home life as well as their work life. Family, friends, and the wider community in which they live and work are all impacted by, and have an influence on, a person’s wellbeing and their engagement.
The primary audiences for our ‘Future of wellbeing and engagement’ tool are those who we feel can and should make the greatest difference to employees’ wellbeing and engagement – business leaders, specialists and advisors, whether in-house or consulting, and managers.
We recognise though that individuals through their own behaviour, along with that of colleagues, also play a key part in improving and sustaining wellbeing. An organisation cannot deliver the wellbeing agenda alone, but it can install a supportive culture and adopt behaviours that will help create the ‘virtuous circle’ that will drive improvements in employee wellbeing.
If you are a Chief Executive, Chair, non-executive director, or senior leader in an organisation, you need to be prepared for how trends in the workplace will affect your people and your organisation, not just right now, but in the years and decades to come. We believe that many of the trends predicted to affect the UK workplace have the potential to make a big difference to employee wellbeing and engagement – in both a positive and negative way. With this tool we aim to help you prepare to support and improve wellbeing and engagement in your organisation in the future, considering what society, people and the workplace is likely to be like.
You might be a HR professional, wellbeing or engagement specialist or advisor, or perhaps you work in occupational health, internal communications, or business change. You may be a passionate role model or champion for engagement and wellbeing in your organisation, whatever role you currently play we hope that this tool will help you influence your senior leaders or clients to put wellbeing and engagement high up on their agenda. Our aim is that with this tool/app you can guide others to consider what is likely to impact wellbeing and engagement in the future, to understand what they need to do, and to learn from how other organisations are approaching the same challenges and opportunities. We see this tool as being a key part of your practitioner toolkit.
If you are a manager, whether managing just one or two people or managing large departments, you are critical to driving the change that is needed in organisations. Wellbeing and engagement aren’t driven just from the top. In your role as a manager, you have responsibility for supporting your employees’ wellbeing and inspiring their commitment to the organisation. You have the ability to influence up, down and across the organisation to ensure that wellbeing and engagement are taken seriously, and that efforts to improve them are implemented successfully. This tool will help you spot the potential challenges and opportunities for wellbeing and engagement, both for your organisation and your team. It will provide you with ideas from other organisations which you can learn from and potentially implement yourself.
This ‘Future of wellbeing and engagement’ tool is a practical guide to the key trends likely to affect the UK’s organisations and working population in 2025, and to what the impact could be on wellbeing and engagement.
The tool demonstrates how these trends may impact upon wellbeing and engagement, provides examples of how organisations of all sizes, shapes and sectors are preparing for these trends, and poses a number of questions that we believe leaders, practitioners and managers in organisations should be asking themselves, and trying to answer. It won’t be easy – we are trying to predict the future after all – but it’s clear to us that wellbeing and engagement will become even more important in the future, and that organisations will be more successful if they prepare for this.
The tool is designed to be practical and easy to ‘dip in to’ and explore in your own way. We recognise that you may have limited time and will want to find the information you need in an instant. We have set out the key trends which we believe will affect wellbeing and engagement in the future, and for each of these we have identified a number of sub-trends. Dip in to any of these and you will be able to learn about:
- the trend and how it will affect the workplace and workforce of the future
- the links between this trend and wellbeing and engagement
- examples and case studies of organisations who have prepared for these trends
- critical questions that you should ask yourself or your leaders about your organisation’s preparedness for these
- Further links to other resources
This tool doesn’t aim to provide new, groundbreaking research. A vast amount of work has been done on this subject and we saw no need to replicate it. Rather we have used the tool to shine a light on the insights from the various reports and resources that we have discovered, summarising what’s relevant to wellbeing and engagement and helping you on your journey to supporting and improving this in your organisation, now and in the future.
Our aim is to maintain this as a ‘living’ tool, keeping it updated as new evidence and examples come to light, and using it to spark debate in the UK about how organisations can and should prepare for the future and specifically how this will impact upon employee wellbeing and engagement.
We want to hear your feedback, your examples, and your ideas, so that we can ensure this becomes an essential resource for those leaders, specialists and managers interested in wellbeing and engagement. We’re looking for organisations to share their secrets of success in the world of wellbeing and engagement so others can learn from this.
To find out more, or get involved, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org ref: Wellbeing Thought and Action Group
This tool was developed by the Engage for Success Wellbeing Thought and Action group (core members: Hannah McNicholl, Caroline Arora, David Crossman, Hazel Stewart, Kate Summers, Katherine Bassey, Vanessa King, Lauren Robinson), with support from Mez Fokeer, Louise Aston, Emma Donaldson-Feilder, Cathy Brown, Dame Carol Black, Jo Dodds, James Perry, PJ Cavalli and many others.
We would also like to thank the many organisations who allowed us to share their examples and case studies in this tool.
This resource was initially developed in November 2015, but we view it as a living document and will regularly review and update it as new evidence and examples come to light.
We will also research, develop and share other ‘sub-themes’ through this tool over time, as more insight and case studies become available. Each sub-theme has clear overlaps with the other as well as some strong and subtle differences. They also connect with other sub-themes explored in this tool, as some of the many aspects of life that affect employee wellbeing and contribute to organisational success.”