Several of our customers have configured PerformanceHub with some sort of wellbeing check-in. Some use 1-to-1s for regular wellbeing check-ins. Whilst others do them less frequently as part of a performance review.
That got us thinking, should wellbeing check-ins be something you always do?
The Essential Role of Wellbeing Check-ins in Performance Management
Employees are not just assets in a company’s balance sheet. They are its heart, soul, and the driving force behind every successful venture. Hence, their well-being is not merely a compassionate consideration but a vital factor influencing their performance. Here’s why “Wellbeing Check-ins” should become a staple in every organisation’s performance management process.
Why Wellbeing Matters
The Direct Link to Employee Health
At the core of every high-performing individual is their health – mental, emotional, and physical. A stressed mind, a distressed spirit, or a tired body will never yield their best. It’s simple: employees who are in good health, both mentally and physically, are in a better position to contribute optimally to their roles.
Unsurprisingly, studies such as Relationship between Employee Mental Health and Job Performance found a positive relationship between employee mental health and performance. Similar studies for physical health showed the same relationship.
- The UK faces a substantial mental health challenge at work. Approximately 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year, which is a higher rate than those with physical health conditions.
- Around 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition.
- Poor mental health costs employers between £33 billion and £42 billion annually. Over half of this cost arises from presenteeism (reduced productivity due to poor mental health).
The Connection to Productivity and Efficiency
Have you ever noticed how your productivity soars on days you’re feeling great and dips when you’re not? That’s not a coincidence. A study from the World Green Building Council found that factors like good air quality and better lighting can improve productivity by 8-11%. Now imagine the potential leap when employees’ psychological and emotional well-being are also prioritised. Well-rested and content employees often work at a faster pace and make fewer mistakes, translating into tangible benefits for the organisation.
Driving Employee Retention
Employee churn is costly. Beyond the financial implications, the loss of experienced hands can deal a blow to team morale and project timelines. When employees feel valued, cared for, and that their well-being matters, they’re less likely to jump ship. They develop a sense of loyalty and belongingness to the organisation, reducing turnover and its associated costs.
Cultivating Culture & Morale
Every time a company shows genuine interest in its employees’ well-being, it plants a seed for a nurturing organisational culture. Such actions go beyond mere words and serve as proof that the company views its employees as more than just replaceable cogs in a machine. This fosters trust, encourages open communication, and creates an environment where employees thrive.
Types of Wellbeing Check-ins
Incorporating wellbeing into formal reviews such as semi-annual or annual assessments sends a strong message: the company takes well-being as seriously as performance metrics. By asking questions about work-life balance, mental health, or even general contentment with their role, managers can get a holistic understanding of factors affecting an employee’s performance.
Setting these questions in PerformanceHub will automatically give you analytical data about your employees wellbeing. And can be combine with other factors too, such as succession planning or talent management data. PerformanceHub can combine many of these factors to give you rich analytical data.
Regular 1-2-1 Meetings
However, waiting for formal reviews might mean critical issues are addressed too late. Integrating wellbeing discussions into regular 1-2-1 meetings ensures timely intervention. These touch points provide a relaxed setting for employees to share their challenges, needs, or even achievements, allowing managers to offer support, resources, or simply a listening ear.
Components of an Effective Wellbeing Check-in
It’s one thing to ask an employee about their well-being; it’s another to genuinely listen to their response. Active listening involves fully concentrating, understanding, and responding to what the other person is saying. It means putting away distractions, offering full attention, and validating their feelings without immediate judgment. When employees feel truly heard, they are more likely to open up and trust the process.
While direct conversations are invaluable, providing mechanisms for anonymous feedback can be equally beneficial. Some employees might not feel comfortable discussing certain issues face-to-face. Platforms that allow anonymous feedback can provide insights into areas of concern that might have been otherwise overlooked.
Provision of Resources
Identifying problems is just the first step. Employers should also be prepared to provide resources to help employees navigate challenges. This could range from offering counselling services, workshops on stress management, and mindfulness programs. To more direct interventions like adjustments in job responsibilities or providing time off when needed.
Flexibility in Approach
Every individual is unique, and so are their challenges. A one-size-fits-all approach to wellbeing check-in is unlikely to be effective. Managers should be trained to approach each check-in with flexibility, tailoring their support and resources to the specific needs of the individual.
Challenges and Considerations
Navigating Privacy Concerns
While wellbeing check-ins are meant to be supportive, it’s essential to remember that not everyone will be comfortable sharing personal details. Employers need to strike a balance, ensuring that employees don’t feel pressured into disclosing information they’d rather keep private.
Training for Managers
Effective wellbeing check-ins require skill. Managers should be trained to handle sensitive topics delicately, to listen without prejudice, and to provide support without overstepping boundaries. This might require specialised training sessions or workshops to equip them with the necessary skills.
Balancing Compassion with Professionalism
While empathy is at the core of these check-ins, maintaining a professional demeanour is essential. Discussions should be conducted respectfully, ensuring that personal boundaries are not crossed. And that the primary focus remains on the employee’s well-being in the context of their professional life.
Benefits of Mandating Wellbeing Checkins
Ensuring Consistency Across the Board
By mandating well-being check-ins, companies ensure that every employee, irrespective of their department or rank, receives the same level of care and attention. It reduces the likelihood of oversight and ensures that the well-being of every team member is prioritised.
Demonstrating a Firm Commitment
A mandate is more than just a directive; it’s a statement. By making wellbeing check-ins a mandatory part of performance reviews or regular meetings, companies send a clear message about their values and commitment to their staff’s holistic development.
Setting the Stage for Industry Norms
Companies that pioneer such initiatives often set the stage for broader industry norms. By championing the importance of employee well-being, they can influence other businesses to adopt similar practices, thereby elevating the industry standard.
Case Studies: The Proof is in the Practice
A good way to understand the impact of Wellbeing Checkins is by examining real-life examples:
Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Clinical Commissioning Group:
Wanted to support NHS staff so introduced a weekly wellbeing intervention with surprising results. Sickness absence rates dropped to almost 1/10th of previous rates and leaver rates dropped to 1/5th.
Implementation Tips for Wellbeing Checkins
Starting Small is Okay : Not every organisation has the resources to launch a company-wide initiative overnight. Begin with a department or even a small team. Use this pilot program to understand the process, gather feedback, and refine your approach.
Tailor to Your Company’s Needs : Every organisation has a unique culture and set of challenges. Customise your wellbeing check-ins to fit these specificities. For instance, a remote team might need resources on setting up ergonomic home offices, while an on-ground sales team might need stress management tools.
Feedback is Gold : The best insights often come from the employees themselves. Regularly solicit feedback on the wellbeing check-ins. What’s working? What’s not? And most importantly, how can the process be improved? This iterative approach ensures the initiative remains relevant and effective.
Example Wellbeing Check-in Questions to Ask
Here are some example questions you might ask as part of your checkin. We don’t intend for you to ask them all – just cherry-pick the ones you feel best suit your organisation. We have grouped them into two categories for ease of reading.
Example Work-Related Wellbeing Questions:
- How do you feel about your current workload? Is it manageable or overwhelming?
- Are there any projects or tasks that you’re particularly enjoying or finding fulfilling?
- Are there any tools, resources, or training that you feel could help you perform your job more effectively?
- How well do you feel your skills and talents are being utilised in your current role?
- Is there any feedback you’ve received that you found unclear or would like to discuss further?
- Do you feel you have a clear understanding of your goals and how they align with the company’s objectives?
- How is your relationship with your team members? Are there any conflicts or challenges you’d like to address?
- Are there any processes or systems you feel could be improved to make your daily tasks easier?
- How comfortable do you feel giving feedback or expressing concerns to your superiors?
- Do you see opportunities for growth and development in your current position?
Personal Wellbeing Questions:
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your current work-life balance?
- Are there any personal accomplishments or events you’d like to share since our last check-in?
- How have you been managing stress outside of work? Are there any practices or activities you’ve found particularly helpful?
- Are there any factors outside of work that are impacting your performance or well-being at work?
- How have you been feeling in general lately, in terms of your mental and emotional well-being?
- Are you getting enough time for self-care and personal hobbies?
- Do you feel that work-related travels or late hours are impacting your health or family life?
- How’s your sleep been lately? Do you feel rested and energised most days?
- Are there any upcoming personal events or challenges that might affect your availability or focus at work?
- Is there any support or accommodation from the company that could help you manage your personal and professional commitments better?
How to Incorporate Wellbeing Checkins in your performance management process with PerformanceHub
In PerformanceHub, you can simply add some wellbeing related questions to the default 1-to-1 agenda. It’s light-weight and flexible. It would be a really easy way of introducing wellbeing as part of your performance management process.
However, if you would like to collect analytical data, then you could consider adding questions to an appraisal.
Several of our customers have successfully done this and because you can configure pre-determined answers in PerformanceHub, then you can make the review quick and easy. For example, here are 3 questions that go together very well. Each has an answer choice of “Strongly Agree”, “Agree”, “Disagree” and “Strongly Disagree” plus an area to add comments.
My skills are recognised, stretched and developed.
Please tell us what you think.
The work I produce is meaningful – it has a clear purpose.
Please tell us what you think.
There are enough opportunities within the organisation to keep me mentally stimulated and intellectually fulfilled.
Please tell us what you think.
Conclusion: A Forward-Thinking Approach to Performance Management
The days when performance management was solely about numbers, targets, and metrics are fading. In today’s dynamic work environment, the holistic well-being of an employee plays a pivotal role in determining their output and, by extension, the company’s success.
Mandating well-being check-ins isn’t just a progressive HR move; it’s a strategic decision. It positions the company as one that truly values its employees, not just for their work, but for who they are as individuals. In doing so, companies don’t just boost their bottom line but also foster a nurturing, positive, and high-performing work culture.
As we navigate the complexities of the modern workplace, it’s evident that performance and well-being are two sides of the same coin. By prioritising both, organisations pave the way for sustainable success, growth, and innovation.
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Pronk NP, Martinson B, Kessler RC, Beck AL, Simon GE, Wang P. The association between work performance and physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and obesity. J Occup Environ Med. 2004 Jan;46(1):19-25. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000105910.69449.b7. PMID: 14724474.