These steps can improve employee well-being

If employee well-being and burnout are issues in your workplace, you are not alone. Research by Energage of more than 240,000 workers reveals that:

  • 38 percent of employees feel overwhelmed at work.
  • 22 percent believe work interferes with their personal lives.
  • 28 percent often feel anxious or upset because of work.
  • 29 percent say work stress is negatively impacting the rest of their lives.


Most employees say employee well-being is a top-three priority. It drives employee engagement, workplace productivity, and company performance. Employee well-being is an investment in your company’s future. Leaders who prioritize can also: 

When companies express genuine concern for the well-being of their workforce, people are more loyal, motivated, and willing to recommend their workplace to others — and all of these are signs of engaged employees

Employee well-being efforts are most successful when practiced across all levels of an organization. 

  • Leadership:
    • Be an active participant.
    • Advocate for well-being policies.
    • Model work-life flexibility to show it’s a priority.
  • Managers:
    • Discuss employee needs and workload issues.
    • Set realistic deadlines and expectations.
    • Show genuine appreciation and recognition.
  • Employees:
    • Speak up and become a self-advocate.
    • Utilize available resources and take PTO.
    • Actively participate in company social events.


So how can organizations improve employee well-being and wellness? The most effective strategies start with listening to employee feedback and concerns. Consider ways Top Workplaces positively impact employee well-being:

Nurture a people-centric culture: Research by Energage shows 58 percent of responders identified a healthy workplace culture as a critical component of successful well-being initiatives. It’s also one of the top qualities of a great workplace.

Manage workloads: An employee’s workload has a significant impact on well-being. Open communication between employees and managers ensures that people have enough work to feel challenged without feeling overwhelmed. 

Incorporate work-life flexibility: Companies that encourage work-life flexibility give employees control over how, where, and when they finish their work. It’s about creating an environment that provides employees with options to meet the demands of their personal lives while maintaining high-level work performance. Employees feel more autonomy and trust from employers, which improves their well-being, commitment, engagement — and, ultimately, performance.

Offer wellness resources: Several types of wellness contribute to employee well-being. Review feedback to determine what services or offerings are most important to employees. 

Focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion: Companies that promote DE&I efforts prioritize a welcoming and safe environment for all. Top Workplaces recognize this and consider employee well-being part of their strategy.

Effective employee well-being programs are iterative and include trial and error. It takes time to learn what works for employees and what doesn’t. Here are the basic steps: 

  1. Survey employees to determine the current state of employee well-being.
  2. Use survey insights to inform well-being programs and make decisions.
  3. Identify the resources needed to implement a well-rounded, successful strategy.
  4. Assemble a cross-functional team focused on employee well-being. 
  5. Communicate across the organization about well-being initiatives.
  6. Measure the effectiveness of well-being efforts.
  7. Make improvements based on results.
  8. Repeat!

Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.

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