Social wellbeing: why it’s important and how to support your employees
Social wellbeing is a key pillar of wellbeing and in the context of the workplace, refers to a sense of belonging and inclusivity, an alignment with company values, frequent social interaction and strong relationships with colleagues.
Employee social wellbeing has become more widely acknowledged over the past year as many workplaces have had to do a virtual pivot. Not only have more and more employees been working from home or remotely, but there has also been a heightened sense of job uncertainty, so it’s more important than ever for businesses to focus on improving the social wellbeing of their team, so individuals are satisfied socially and feel as though they belong.
Despite living in a hyper-connected world, the social needs of employees often aren’t met through the day-to-day working environment. In fact, research shows that there is a demand for social connections to be made at work with 56% of people surveyed saying they would enjoy success celebrations and 45% saying they would value Friday drinks.
A sense of belonging is vital for high levels of engagement and productivity and will in turn strengthen your business and its values. As most of us spend more time at work than doing any other activity, team members who know their social wellbeing is at the centre of their business will be willing to go that extra mile. It’s important to utilise the workplace, whether that be in-person or online, as a hub for social contact. Here’s how:
1. CREATE A SENSE OF BELONGING
In order to foster inclusivity, it’s important that members of your team feel part of the bigger picture and are kept in the loop. This isn’t always easy, particularly in big organisations with lots of employees. But to tackle this, try and host meetings as frequently as possible, welcome your employees’ input into your organisational values and decisions, and take their ideas on board. Ensure all of your employees feel valued as individuals and show them that they have meaningful, equitable roles. Secondly, celebrate and value individuality. Diverse workplaces are something we should all be striving for, and employees shouldn’t feel they have to suppress parts of themselves to fit in.
Having an inclusive space where all employees can come together to connect, recognise each other’s achievements and celebrate as a team is valuable. It builds an online community where every employee has the opportunity to belong. That’s why reward & recognition platforms will continue to play a vital role in driving social wellbeing and employee engagement.
2. ARRANGE DAILY CHECK-INS
One-on-one conversations with colleagues are so important for creating a sense of belonging and a holistic culture at work, especially for those that work remotely. Beyond that though, they’re also vital for checking on the mental health and wellbeing of individuals in a more personal setting. In these regular check-ins, employees will have the opportunity to discuss their workload, raise any concerns and just catch up with their manager on a personal level. These interactions are so valuable for building the manager-employee relationship and demonstrating to your employees that your business cares about every individual that makes up their team.
To implement this, it’s necessary for your business to have an effective strategy in place whereby managers are encouraged to actively nurture their team members and build a relationship whereby individuals feel comfortable being open about their mental health and wellbeing.
3. ORGANISE SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Social activities provide a great opportunity for your business to establish a strong, inclusive company culture. By allowing individuals to bond both personally and professionally, they’ll discover similarities and common interests that they can connect over beyond work. If your company has numerous departments, social events and activities give employees the chance to get to know colleagues they might otherwise never interact with. Forming new relationships and strengthening their bonds with colleagues will boost your employees’ morale and enhance their sense of belonging. You could organise an internal competition to promote teamwork and healthy competition. Alternatively, you can keep it simple by encouraging your employees to eat together in a communal space or organising a work lunch or drinks over zoom.
4. ENCOURAGE PEER-TO-PEER RECOGNITION
Building a culture of recognition is a brilliant way to improve employees’ social wellbeing in the workplace. When employees are regularly acknowledged for their contribution to the business, they’ll feel like a valued part of a team and more connected to the bigger picture. There are various reward and recognition tools available to help your employees feel valued and recognised. Peer-to-peer recognition is particularly important for building and strengthening relationships within the workplace. By using a smart tool to do this, your employees can log in and demonstrate their gratitude and appreciation whenever they see fit. Not only will this reinforce purpose among team members and boost motivation levels, it will make recognition part of the everyday.
Your employees’ social wellbeing should always be on your radar as an employer. Consider ways you can tailor your business’s wellbeing support and reward and recognition services to improve social wellbeing within your workplace, and ensure every member of your team feels valued, included and happy at work. We offer a variety of recognition tools through our ereward solution, as well as lots of useful wellbeing tools through our solution, the zone. Whether you want to launch a simple ‘thank you’ service to drive company values and individual morale or offer your employees confidential support to openly talk about their wellbeing, head to our resources page to view the full range of services available.
Watch the webinar: HOW TO USE REWARD & RECOGNITION TO SUPPORT SOCIAL WELLBEING