Why social wellbeing is a fundamental pillar of an inclusive culture
Inclusivity is an important cultural characteristic that employees truly value. Employees want to feel comfortable at work and have the freedom to be themselves, form positive working relationships and feel part of a community.
An inclusive culture is an attractive business trait too. In Deloitte’s inclusion pulse survey (2017), 80% of respondents reported that inclusivity is important when choosing an employer, while 39% said they would even leave their current employer for a more inclusive business.
Creating and cultivating an inclusive culture is therefore not a tick-box exercise, it’s an essential exercise that any business can fulfil through their reward and recognition strategy.
To uphold and sustain an inclusive culture through reward and recognition, social wellbeing is a fundamental pillar that, when nurtured, can make a real impact to your business. That’s why your reward and recognition strategy should champion social wellbeing to create a culture where your employees feel like they belong.
How does social wellbeing support inclusivity?
The relationship between social wellbeing and inclusivity is mutually reinforcing. While the social wellbeing of your employees will be impacted by your culture, your culture will also be shaped by the social wellbeing of your employees.
In essence, a business that nurtures social wellbeing, fosters an inclusive culture. For instance, employees who have positive social wellbeing will feel more involved in the business, they will have good working relationships, feel part of a team and have that all-important sense of belonging.
All of this creates social inclusion, which is both a key component of social wellbeing and an inclusive culture. So, how do you deliver this to employees using reward and recognition?
Delivering social wellbeing
A reward and recognition strategy that keeps social wellbeing at its core will effectively connect all areas of the business together to build an inclusive culture. All of this will have a positive impact on employee experience, productivity, engagement and your business’ overall success.
There are a number of ways to integrate social wellbeing into your reward and recognition strategy and, in turn, create an inclusive culture:
1. Peer-to-peer recognition
Giving employees the freedom to praise and appreciate their colleagues is a great way to champion social wellbeing. Not only does peer-to-peer recognition facilitate communication across all areas of the business, it makes it possible for any employee to receive recognition back.
Any employee from any department, location and level within the business can receive positive feedback, which is a truly inclusive feature. When managed on a platform too, every employee has equal ability to send messages of recognition to their colleagues, all of which will be delivered business-wide.
A remote worker, for instance, will generally have less contact with colleagues which might cause them to feel disconnected from the business. Introducing peer-to-peer recognition can counteract this because it encourages positive communication in the workplace which isn’t restricted by location, role or working hours. Employees’ voices are amplified across the business as a result, which closes the gaps between colleagues and gives them a way to connect.
2. Interactive community-based platform
To support both social wellbeing and inclusivity, your reward and recognition platform can be built into an intuitive one that facilitates and encourages social interactions. Essentially used as an employee network where everyone can log in and access all reward and recognition information, a community-based platform is a useful (and inclusive) mechanism that supports social wellbeing.
On a platform, every employee in the business will have their own account and a profile which they are free to use in their own way. By adding a profile photo and a bio, employees can craft their own identities and enhance their personal visibility across the business when they interact with others.
Installing a social wall into the platform, much like the feeds on the big social networks, gives employees full view of things going on in the business and the freedom to ‘like’, comment and share on instances of recognition. This is another aspect that will enhance your business’ sense of community, one that your employees will feel like they belong to.
Another way you can support social wellbeing and inclusivity in your reward and recognition strategy is by launching awards. These provide a team morale boost and an opportunity for employees from all areas of the business to get together to celebrate excellence and achievements.
Awards can be embedded into your reward and recognition platform and supported by face-to-face delivery to make them extra special for employees. Distributing awards and holding specific events for them creates opportunities for your employees to come together – a unifying experience both physically and mentally.
‘Employee of the Year’ is a common award that businesses introduce into their reward and recognition strategy. Not only does it drum up healthy competition between employees which maintains positivity and excitement, it’s an award that every employee is eligible for, making it fully inclusive.
Employees from all levels can get involved in these kind of awards, whether it’s through their own efforts to win, or rallying behind a colleague. Having the whole workforce involved creates a sense of harmony that can be very powerful, both in terms of social wellbeing and inclusivity.
4. Life events
To further factor social wellbeing into your reward and recognition strategy, it’s important to show employees that you value them as human beings. Taking the time to recognise personal milestones will make employees feel valued and part of a community that cares. Birthdays, work anniversaries and other important life events should therefore be acknowledged and celebrated, for every employee.
Using your reward and recognition platform, you can integrate the employee data of your entire workforce to ensure your business always acknowledges employee life events. So, when an employee celebrates a birthday, for example, they’ll automatically receive a birthday message and a gift. No employee gets left out or forgotten; everyone gets the same treatment and recognition.
Making this part of your strategy builds a sense of community across your business because your employees will feel that their individual lives matter. Rather than feeling like they’re just an employee hired to do a job, they’ll feel part of a family of people that, together, make a business. Not only is this a way of supporting the social wellbeing of your employees, but in doing so, you’ll create a culture that is welcoming, strong and inclusive.
When a business nurtures social wellbeing through their reward and recognition strategy, they simultaneously build an inclusive culture. What’s important is that this strategy has features that can be used by every employee and is relevant for every employee too. By focusing on the social aspects of your business, your culture and community will naturally come together to become stronger, more productive and more successful.
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