Why the Future of Employer Brand Starts With Employee Well-Being


Employee well-being is finally receiving the attention it deserves, but how do we make it a core feature of both the employee value proposition and employer brand? HR tech could be the key facilitator, writes Nikolaos Lygkonis, founder & CEO, PeopleGoal.

The pandemic has done more than shine a light on employee well-being. It’s directed ten football stadiums worth of floodlights at it – and that’s long overdue. As employee anxiety, loneliness, and burnout have skyrocketed due to social isolation and disruptive changes in a daily work routine, many employers have found themselves woefully underprepared and without the appropriate wellness benefits or culture to support their people. The ensuing scramble to catch up has provided an almost literal view of workplace wellness being catapulted to the top of the business agenda.

According to Gartner, as many as two-thirds of organizations have introduced new wellness benefitsOpens a new window to support employee well-being amid this pandemic. That’s a tremendous surge in things like employee assistance programs (EAPS), tech-led pulse surveys, and virtual care apps – and it begs the question: will employees now come to expect this as standard? The answer to that is a resounding “yes.”

Well-Being Benefits as Standard

As we look toward 2021 and the post-pandemic era, now is an ideal time to revisit the employee value proposition (EVP) with your people’s current needs, wants, and expectations in mind. Get this right, and you’re likely to win big on the talent attraction and retention front down the line.

The work doesn’t stop there, though. If nothing else, this year has shown us that employee well-being cannot be fixed with benefits alone. Giving your employees a gym membership is all well and good, but it won’t move the dial. To do that, we need to take a more holistic view – one that includes mental, emotional, and financial well-being. Crucially, we also need to make well-being a core foundation of the employer brand so that employees feel cared for (a key factor for engagement and performance). So that prospective talent recognizes your organization as a “company that cares.”

Learn More: 8 Workplace Wellness Statistics Every HR Pro Should Know

Becoming a Company That Cares

The first step here lies in understanding what people need to feel well at work – both at a workforce and individual employee level. The best way to achieve this is to ask employees themselves. By regularly asking workers how they’re coping with their current work setup, managers and business leaders will be able to capture specific teams and employees’ mood, identify areas of concern, and increase support in the right places – all before employee health and performance are further compromised.

In a fast-changing COVID-hit environment where most employees are doing at least some work from home, tech-led pulse surveys and communication platforms are playing a vital role in informing appropriate well-being strategies. By engaging people with the right technologies to deliver real benefit to them in the context of their working lives, employers can support their people and build their employer brand. The knock-on effect in terms of long-term spend on what would be rising absence rates, presenteeism, and waning productivity also emphasizes that well-being is not just a people issue but one of broader business performance.

So what are some of the questions that should feature on well-being pulse surveys? While the below list is nowhere near exhaustive, it provides some key questions to be asked regularly (at least once a month). Clearly, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution here so it’s crucial to tailor questions to the particular audience – and custom HR technology can be instrumental in this regard. Doing so will further ensure the relevance and accuracy of the data you get back and will lead to both more appropriate action and better overall outcomes for people and business.

  • What do you need to feel well at work?
  • What are the work-related issues that negatively impact your well-being?
  • Are you feeling more or less burned out than last week/month?
  • As your employer, what could we do better from a well-being point of view?
  • Is your manager providing enough support?
  • How would you describe your mental health right now?
  • Are you worried about your financial security?

So how else can HR leaders optimize well-being outcomes? By equipping themselves with the right tools for measuring well-being and engagement. Adopting a single software solution provides end-to-end well-being support from building surveys, gathering findings, and generating reports that highlight actionable insights. It’s also vital that when choosing an HR tech provider, HR teams opt for a solution that enables multiple elements of measurement – for example, a tool that can measure engagement on a scale of 1 to 10, but which can be molded to measure mental health differently if that might provide a better outcome for both the individuals being polled.

Optimum well-being software should also have built-in algorithms that can analyze responses against employee profiles to identify patterns and ultimately support improved employee health and well-being. Typical factors to take into consideration include:

  • Hours of work
  • Seniority
  • Type of role
  • Remote office set up
  • Team meetings attendance

Learn More: How Schneider Electric Is Reinventing Employee Well-Being in the Workplace: Q&A

Driving Better Outcomes With Joined-Up Data

Having the ability to build well-being surveys with broader HR information in mind can also prove extremely valuable. For example, when the pandemic hit and we saw the rapid shift to remote work, organizational leaders knew that working parents would be one of the hardest hit demographics. This called for bespoke surveys that would monitor parents’ health and well-being – many of whom were struggling to manage work and childcare.

The point here is that to create targeted surveys for specific demographics within the wider workforce, HR first needs to know which employees fall into any given category. Which are parents? Which employees live alone and might be feeling isolated? Which might have a disability or additional need to consider?

Being able to quickly pull this level of employee data from an HR software solution and then apply it for people’s benefit sends a key message to employees: we understand your struggles, and we are here to help. That alone makes employees feel included and cared for, and it lets them know that their individual challenges are recognized and taken seriously. Of course, to achieve the right results here, the chosen software must be able to analyze large databases and combine data from various sources. The technology should also offer comprehensive data storage and encryption, as well as reporting and analytics, and multiuser access control.

At a time when employees have never been less visible in a physical sense, and with elevated levels of stress and anxiety due to the pandemic, well-being strategies that work for people at an individual group need to sit atop the business priority list. The consequences of not doing so are low performance and productivity, along with the potential for mass attrition when the economy recovers and the war for talent returns. This is why well-being must feature as an integral – and authentic – part of the employer brand.

How do you think HR tech is paving the way for well-being as a standard offering? Tell us on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window .