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How Recognition Supports Well-Being: Part 1

The idea of wellness and well-being at work may have started with yoga classes and meditation – but we now understand that well-being at work takes many forms. It is critical – not only to individual health but to organizational health.

In light of the Great Resignation, how you nurture your employee well-being is also an important part of your employer brand, impacting your ability to attract and win candidates.

There are many different kinds of well-being. From physical well-being – or wellness – to well-being centered on our moods, behaviors, cognition, and stress levels. Gallup has also included some of these in the list of five elements that they believe shape our lives: physical well-being, financial well-being, career well-being, social well-being, and community well-being.

In the workplace, these can be distilled into four types:

Mental well-being comprising emotional, spiritual, and intellectual well-being – is our ability to feel confident, challenged and engaged.

Social well-being is your sense of connection, belonging, and support from the organization and the area where you live.

Occupational well-being brings together job satisfaction and enrichment; equitable pay and financial resources; development, promotions and advancement; and safety.

Physical well-being includes employees’ bodily health and practices, including nutrition, substance abuse, fitness levels, sleep, stress management, illness or pain management, and personal safety.

In this first post, we’ll look at how you can use your recognition platform to foster mental and social well-being, and next we’ll follow up with a look at physical and occupational well-being – along with some next-level tips on using Workhuman® as part of a broader employee wellness campaign.

Getting started

Whatever kind of well-being you are focused on, you must have two prerequisites in order to make your efforts successful.

  • A culture where well-being is prioritized: It is important that respect for well-being is hard-wired into your human workplace. Every employee should have reasonable expectations of equitable treatment and a safe working environment.
  • Tangible support from leadership: Visible support from execs – from line managers to the C-suite to the board – is critical to building a culture of well-being and inclusion. This should include manager training on listening, supporting, and recognizing employees.

Mental Well-Being

According to the World Health Organization, mental well-being is a state “in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” To foster mental well-being at work, organizations must provide psychological safety and stress management, pay attention to individual employee development, foster employee engagement, prioritize employee happiness, and inspire employees with a sense of purpose.

Organizational benefits of high employee mental well-being:

  • Increased productivity and performance
  • Improved morale and engagement
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Reduced turnover

How Workhuman helps

As we look at the drivers above, it’s easy to see why your recognition program is a powerful tool for boosting employee mental well-being. Social Recognition® awards help employees to feel seen and appreciated – and gives them positive reinforcement that can boost their self-esteem and sense of mastery. They also have the opportunity to express their own feelings of positivity and gratitude by nominating others through the program.

In addition to recognition, Conversations® gives employees more control over goal setting and development and reinforces confidence. Our celebrations products – Life Events®, Community Celebrations®, and Service Milestones® also make it clear how important our unique efforts are to company success, and reinforce feelings of belonging and shared purpose.

How recognition can help drive mental well-being:

  • Creates and channels joy and positivity
  • Encourages reflection and self-awareness
  • Increases feelings of alignment with shared value
  • Increases feelings of value, mastery, and self-confidence
  • Increases feelings of psychological safety and social support
  • Enhances peer connections, relationships, and belonging
  • Supports goal setting and development
  • Supports ERGs that support and cultivate mental health and provide a shared purpose

Social Well-Being

Companies must also look at how they are fostering a shared sense of organizational belonging, acceptance, and inclusion. This includes how you create connections and individual relationships both laterally and hierarchically across organizations.

To build social well-being across your organization, consider reinforcing support systems that develop, appreciate and encourage employees – including coaching and professional support.

Finally, organizations must make their mission real for employees and give them ways to support their standing within the community – including giving back to coworkers and ESG initiatives within the community that help to connect us all on an emotional level.

Organizational benefits of high employee social well-being:

Increased teamwork

Improved morale and engagement

Reduced absenteeism

Reduced turnover

How Workhuman helps

Social Recognition establishes new and stronger ties at all levels of the organization, opening up communication and teamwork and helping employees feel seen, supported, and valued – no matter where they are located.

With coaching and mentoring capabilities, Conversations helps employees reach out for social support and feel like the whole community is pulling for them. Life Events encourages employees to bring their whole selves to work and Community Celebrations and Service Milestones show them how their efforts impact others and lift up the whole community – both inside and outside your company.

How recognition can help drive social well-being:

  • Increases the network of connections and embeds people more firmly into their work community
  • Increases personal social capital and empowers employees
  • Increases a sense of belonging and inclusion
  • Shows alignment with your work community’s mission, values, and purpose
  • Helps employees feel valued within their team
  • Helps employees connect to your greater community

Sometimes the simple act of being seen and valued is the most powerful trigger there is for well-being. That’s why so much of the Workhuman platform is focused around helping you make employees feel noticed and appreciated.

Be sure to check out part two of this series to learn how recognition can help you to drive physical and occupational well-being in your organization! And reach out to your customer account team if you need some help connecting Workhuman to your well-being strategy.