Can you have employee engagement without wellbeing, or are the two inextricably linked, even symbiotic? This question should be important to anyone interested in creating the right environment for success – one in which employees are motivated and productive. A recent HR Zone article quoted Engage for Success Wellbeing subgroup chair Wendy Cartwright ahead of the wellbeing white paper launch in a couple of weeks.
The article quotes a mounting body of research such as CIPD 2012 research ‘Managing for sustainable employee engagement: developing a behavioural framework’ concluded that in order to get the best out of people, managers should be adept at preventing stress. It found that those bosses who pass on stress by panicking about deadlines and do not provide advice to or consult with staff tend to erode motivation and undermine employee health and wellbeing.
The article went onto quote the work of the Engage for Success wellbeing subgroup.“Our key findings are twofold,” says Cartwright. “First, we found that individuals, teams and organisations work most productively for sustained periods where there are high levels of engagement and wellbeing. This is because where there is high engagement but low wellbeing, there is a risk of burn-out over time, and where there is high wellbeing but low engagement, employees may be feeling generally satisfied and well but are unconnected to the organisational purpose. Second, we found that it is possible to create a kind of a virtuous circle in the relationship between employee engagement and wellbeing. Because of this, when organisations really pay attention to the factors that facilitate staff wellbeing, this can help to generate a feeling of connection with the organisation and stronger employee engagement.”
In essence, the findings show that when organisations put a lot of effort into improving employee engagement, it results in more motivated people who get a sense of accomplishment at work. Typically, these people have higher levels of personal wellbeing. As Cartwright says, it’s a virtuous circle.
Business in the Community has already done valuable groundwork in this respect, working with businesses to develop the Workwell model. As well as demonstrating the benefits of taking a strategic and proactive approach, the model has been designed to be of practical assistance and covers the actions businesses need to take to create an environment in which employees can make informed, healthy choices. A number of businesses have used the Workwell model to underpin their wellbeing programmes.