First came the Great Resignation, only to be followed by the Great Emergence as the workplace drags itself into a post-pandemic existence. The emerging reality for leaders is that Covid has made well-being an urgent priority. A recent Gallop Poll indicates that “fewer than one in four U.S. employees feel strongly that their organization cares about their well-being, the lowest percentage in nearly a decade.”
The same study also found that teams who feel leadership cares about their well-being achieve higher customer engagement, profitability, productivity, lower turnover, and fewer safety incidents. These are all critical considerations but it underscores how most current research on leadership behavior focuses on employee’s performance rather than the employee themselves.
Employee Experience (EX) is just now beginning to get the attention it deserves. It’s not at all about benefits and perks. A lot of companies mistakenly think that because they “offer free massages and beer on Fridays that they’ve checked off the employee experience box.” Or, they hand it off to HR and hope they’ve heard the last of it.
Engagement and well-being place importance on loving what we do and being motivated to achieve goals. The Great Emergence is the recognition that our career well-being intersects with our overall satisfaction with life.
While not a lot of positive things can be said about Covid, it has highlighted the need for leaders to consider the well-being of their employees seriously. People’s expectations of work have fundamentally changed after their experiences with the pandemic.
The terms “well-being” and “wellness” are often used interchangeably, but they mean two very different things. Wellness describes a healthy lifestyle, whereas well-being encompasses the broader holistic dimensions of a well-lived life, of which wellness is only one part.
Here are 4 practical ways leaders can improve engagement and well-being: