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12 June 2015

The Importance of Wellbeing

Written by: Antonia Katsambis, HR Business Partner at Edelman

Culture, Employee Engagement

Whilst the term ‘employee engagement’ has been around since the 1990s and the consideration of ‘wellbeing at work’ spans even further back to the end of the 19th century, these topics gained increased business interest from the beginning of the recession in 2007, as Companies considered ways to keep their staff engaged by alternative means than cash incentives.

Engagement and wellbeing are known to be interlinked (see the Engage for Success whitepaper if you’d like to read more) and research shows that people with higher levels of wellbeing work better, live longer and have happier lives. Working in an industry in which people are a company’s defining asset, it’s no surprise then that at Edelman we have a strong focus on employee wellbeing. However, whilst there is clearly a strong financial viewpoint for keeping staff healthy and happy, this isn’t the only reason we invest in wellbeing at Edelman.

Last week saw a directed focus on personal wellbeing at Edelman to determine what it means to employees here and how we can better support it. This was explored through five days of activities ranging from Pilates and meditation classes, physical and financial health checks and a session on ‘How to Stay Calm’. We also launched a pilot for the Global Corporate Challenge. For a period of 100 days starting 27th May 2015, employees will compete in teams of seven as the GCC takes them on a journey that will increase their physical activity levels and improve their diet and quality of sleep. We hope this will work to create positive habits for our employees which form more healthy lifestyles on an ongoing basis. It will also no doubt promote some healthy competition between staff, as there is a prize for the top three most active teams.

recent study from Edelman Wellness 360 shows that people can feel alone in their efforts for better wellbeing. So whilst we shouldn’t remove the aspect of personal responsibility, there is opportunity for employers to help support employees achieve their goals through a more wide ranging benefits programme that takes account of their environment and wellbeing as well as their role requirements.

The CIPR State of Profession Report just earlier this year reported high levels of stress across the sector as employee wellbeing gets pushed down the list, in favour of client needs. So it’s definitely not all about fruit and massages when it comes to an employee’s happiness. We believe one of the most critical factors towards the physical and emotional wellbeing of employees is ensuring they have the correct structures and support networks in place to encourage their success. That’s why at Edelman, we have an in-depth Career Pathing scheme to help employees understand how they can progress and evolve through our global network. And this year, we are working on a refreshed and structured line management programme, to ensure that employees are best equipped to empower their teams.

I’m proud to work for a company that has a strong culture of supporting employees in their personal wellbeing, a legacy from Edelman’s family-owned heritage and I hope that the focus on wellbeing continues to evolve and grow alongside our business.

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