How to Support Employee Wellbeing in Ways You Might Not Know

Anthony Hickey

When wellbeing is spoken about in the organisational context, it is often related to wellness programmes and associated offerings. These may include supporting healthy eating, incentivising group exercise activities, mental health supports, work-life balance initiatives, mindfulness sessions and much more.

Each holds tremendous value in its own right, however, wellbeing is a multifaceted topic, both in its management and definition. For the purpose of this article, we will consider the area of subjective wellbeing, a term used to describe an individual’s perceptions of life satisfaction and the balance of positive and negative, moods, feelings, and emotions.

Decades of research has revealed that employee well-being is significantly associated with better job performance, lower absenteeism, employee retention, and increased employee engagement.

So, what can organisations do in this area? Let’s explore the research a little further.



Goal setting and striving to reach pre-set targets are linked to an increased sense of life satisfaction. For individuals, working towards goals provides direction and purpose in daily life, while the self-selected nature of the goals provides a sense of autonomy. (1)

However, there is also the group context to consider, as those goals are deemed to be most important to the individual where they are considered to hold value to the group the individual belongs to. We can see then that a viable avenue towards increasing life satisfaction and positive experiences in an organisational context is development, where clear, attainable goals are agreed upon.

By aligning the developmental goals of the individual and the organisation, we can offer employees a sense of meaning, belonging, and autonomy. From the perspective of the organisation, we will find employees more likely to be engaged, motivated and passionate about their work, while the relationship between retention and career development is well established.


What might this look like in your organisation?

  • Individually tailored development plans
  • Regular career development conversations
  • Clarity on desired outcomes and goals
  • Further education supports
  • Aligning development to organisational strategy
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

From the passage above, the links between a sense of purpose in line with group needs and wellbeing are clear. Sticking with this theme, we should also consider the often-forgotten outcome of charitable engagement, beyond the immediate benefits to causes contributed to.

There are numerous studies that compare the long-term psychological benefits between those who frequently volunteer and those who do not. Frequent volunteers experience lower rates of depression, increased sense of self-worth and higher overall rates of life satisfaction. (2)

Furthermore, it has been noted that CSR and a sense of belonging for employees are linked. This is due to the alignment between individual and organisational values, where the employee feels that their goals match with those of the organisation. With those aims being seen as ethically sound and impactful to society, the levels of trust between individual and organisation increases, with that trust being linked to greater engagement and retention. (3)


What might this look like in your organisation?

  • CSR committee
  • Fundraisers
  • Staff selected causes
  • Group volunteering
  • Paid volunteer days


The relationship between wellbeing and innovation often works both ways. Where employees are experiencing high job demands and feel they have little autonomy, innovation is less likely to occur. However, where appropriate resources are in place, such as psychological safety, reasonable workloads, and positive, trust centred relationships with people leaders, the conditions for creativity are more accessible, as these factors are strongly linked to employee engagement. (4)

Innovation initiatives, where a sufficient level of challenge and ability to utilise one's skills are evident are enriching for many employees. In terms of outcomes, employees engaged in innovation centred work report benefits such as personal development, skill attainment, opportunities for recognition, increased communication skills, life satisfaction and group cohesion. (4)

In addition, there is evidence to suggest the benefits of innovation are felt beyond creative endeavours, where the problem-solving nature of the creative process can lead to individuals feeling more equipped to navigate challenges in their environment generally. (5)


What might this look like in your organisation?

  • Recognition of innovation attempts
  • Hackathons
  • Incentivised innovation programmes
  • Dragons Den style competitions
  • Internal idea development database


Concluding Comments

Let us consider what we want from employees for a moment. What more could we ask for than goal-orientated, continuously developing employees, who feel connected to the organisation’s mission, and are motivated to create new cutting-edge products and ways of working? Well, we could ask for emotionally healthy and satisfied employees, and thankfully these goals can work in tandem.

When we speak about creating great cultures, it is this dynamic that is at the heart of the message. That is why we are so passionate about what we do and why we are certain we help you on your journey to create a positive and productive workplace for all.


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  1. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological bulletin, 125(2), 276.
  2. Konrath, S. (2012, in press) The power of philanthropy and volunteering. In Interventions and Policies to Enhance Wellbeing, Felicia Huppert and Cary Cooper (Eds.). Wiley Press.
  3. Su, L., & Swanson, S. R. (2019). Perceived corporate social responsibility's impact on the well-being and supportive green behaviors of hotel employees: The mediating role of the employee-corporate relationship. Tourism Management, 72, 437-450.
  4. Huhtala, H., & Parzefall, M. R. (2007). A Review of Employee Well-Being and Innovativeness: An Opportunity for a Mutual Benefit.
  5. Rasulzada, F. (2007). Organizational creativity and psychological well-being. Lund University Department of Psychology (Published Doctoral Thesis), http://www. farida. se/Farida_Rasulzada_book. pdf, 18, 2014.


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