10 Ways to Maximize Workplace Employee Experience and Wellbeing Programs

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Welcome to the age of acceleration where disruption to our workplaces is occurring daily (think of how we communicate today compared to just 5 years ago!). With this rapid transformation underway there is a lot of stress involved – for individuals, teams, and entire organizations – to adjust or risk falling behind. To mitigate this, top HR teams are continually improving the employee experience to attract and retain their best talent to stay ahead.

Building a nurturing and positive culture requires constant attention, refinement, and innovation. Salary, health benefits, and perks no longer attract top talent, especially millennials. People today expect the entire job experience to cater to their personal growth and lifestyle - in and out of work. To get this right, HR must understand the behavioral preferences, desires, and drivers of people and cater the employee experience to meet these demands.  

10 Best Practices to Boost Employee Experience and Wellbeing Programs:  

Lead by Example. While many employers understand the value of creating employee experience programs, they often make the mistake of implementing a workplace wellness program, engagement platform, or LMS to solve a problem they have instead of plan for the future. Employers need to demonstrate their commitment to enhancing the employee experience from start to finish for everyone involved.

A key first step is to not hold HR leaders solely responsible for the rollout and success of a any given program or overhaul. In addition to HR, team leaders and senior management have to lead by example to ensure that cultural initiatives are successful and being utilized across the organization.

As an added benefit, managers that prioritize their health and personal development will stand out as more creative, focused, and engaging leaders. Studies prove that they will more consistently hit deadlines and establish stronger lines of communication with peers. They will also set a contagious example for the rest of the company and the industry at large.

Give Employees a Say. Organizations should give employees a contributing voice and stake in their workplace culture programs to increase commitment and to design more effective and tailored initiatives. Involving employees is facilitated by designating program ambassadors, scheduling group strategy meetings, or through digital channels and feedback forums. This dialogue should include opinions from across the organization to make the program all-encompassing and inviting. When everyone from top executives to interns gets involved, it can galvanize the entire organization!

Appreciate that Everything is Connected. All work-related issues HR professionals face regarding engagement, wellbeing, attraction & retention, etc. are derived from the same root problem. HR’s reactionary responses to address these seemingly different challenges often over complicates the situation, leading to added stress and anxiety for everyone. Taking a step back to appreciate the bigger picture will further illustrate that these themes are all connected. Perhaps the ultimate goal is to increase customer relationships or build a more cohesive brand image. Once understood, HR can assess why certain problems arise and how best to approach them from a holistic and sustainable perspective. It seems overly obvious, but remember that most problems can be alleviated by making the workplace intrinsically healthy!

EMPLOYERS ATTRACT THE EMPLOYEES THEY DESERVE, AND VICE VERSA

Design the Program to Fit Your Unique Needs. Employee experience programs are not “one size fits all”. Utilizing custom marketing, branding, and personalized messages will demonstrate that you care about your employee’s wellbeing and have invested the time to cater to their needs and environment. Maximize impact by changing the messaging of the program to fit seasonal or quarterly company initiatives, team or divisional goals, and even individual aspirations. Start strong by measuring baseline health motivation, personality, and engagement rates and then build-up from there.

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Make it Social. Organizations often attempt to increase engagement of employee-centered programs with incentives. Although helpful in certain scenarios, this generally results in short-term bursts of interest that fizzles out. A more sustainable approach is to incorporate wellbeing into the social fabric of the organization. Frequently used tools include social media, internal company platforms, team challenges, company sponsored initiatives, and social good & volunteer efforts.

Intelligently Market and Promote. Many organizations do not sufficiently publicize their workplace employee experience programs internally to their employees, leading to low utilization rates and diminished returns. HR teams must actively promote employee services to prospective and current employees across multiple channels. Utilizing company intranet and web portals is effective but broadening the reach to include email, social media, physical posters and flyers, and other modern communication channels will help to increase engagement and employee satisfaction while also promoting your brand as employee-focused and human-centric.

Constantly Review the Program. Workplace employee experience programs must be accessible and operational 24/7. To ensure this, organizations have to constantly measure employee engagement, program efficacy, and messaging. This requires a large amount of data reporting and analysis; a growing skill and attribute of top HR teams. Frequently reviewing the program will provide key insights and strategy on how to best adjust the messaging, content, and intervention to align core objectives.

Don’t Give Up! Plan to be nimble and change your approach every once in a while to re-engage employees and improve program efficacy. If you expect your employee engagement program to be a plug and play resource then it will fail. Participation will wax and wane. Remember to take a step back and keep the bigger picture in mind and be persistent. If people believe that the program is a long-term addition to the workplace, they will be more open to adoption.

If you expect your employee experience program to be a plug and play resource then it will fail

 

Start Early. Effective employee experience programs will provide key insights into the personality traits of your employees and overall workplace culture. This information can be used to guide recruitment strategy by highlighting what traits to look for in prospective candidates, as well as filling gaps within your culture. Advertising key aspects of your program during the recruitment process will also attract better talent and distinguish your offering from that of competitors. On-boarding assessments are a crucial tool for identifying the personality and motivation factors of employees and designing development plans that fit their specific needs. This gives employers an invaluable window into their workforce.

Take Action Now to Show That You Care. Employee experience platforms not only allow individuals to improve their own personal health, but they also demonstrate that employers are equally invested in their future development. Perception is integral and contributes to the positive experience from day one onwards.

An organization can be at the forefront of its industry by placing a much-needed emphasis on the employee experience of their employees. A positive purpose-driven workforce is the backbone of any successful company.

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About Psocratic 

Psocratic is a behavioral AI building the future of work. Through soft skills development and social connection we help our customers unleash the potential of their workforces. 

Our integrated development programs leverage leading-edge behavioral & managerial psychology, big data technology, and proactive intervention plans to transform HR departments into the revenue, savings, and business strategy generators of the future.

By delivering customized engagement and soft skills services for employees, predictive analytics & reporting for managers, and a continuous layer of support and measurement for leadership, our approach keeps organizations ahead of the curve.

Psocratic is a proactive behavioral health platform on a mission to advance workplace culture and wellness. Schedule a demo or say hello: info@psocratic.com 🙌

7 Ways Companies Fall Short on Stress Management

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Being human is awesome. We’re technologically advanced (invented Netflix), at the top of the food chain (hello, ice cream), and have built dynamic societies (mega malls). But it also means we deal with a few inherent downsides. Notably, stress.

Whether you’re a parent, plumber, or astronaut, stress is an unavoidable part of life. Although we don’t typically use our animal instincts for physical survival anymore, the fight or flight response is ever present. Modern stressors have taken on a new and widespread fangless form. Everyday “dangers” now include navigating complex social dynamics and inequalities, maintaining physical and mental well-being, career progression, relationships, political uncertainty & presidential tweets, financial instability, 24/7 connectivity, and work-life balance, just to name a few. Stress has seeped into so many aspects of our lives that the World Health Organization calls it the great “health epidemic of the 21st century”.

But one culprit exceeds the rest. If you’re like most American adults, work is far and away the leading cause of stress in your life. Unlike the traditional 9–5 desk job of generations past, we are now expected to be connected 24/7, work longer hours without extra compensation, make tight deadlines with fewer resources, compete for promotions, and fear layoffs and reorganization — all while finding passion and meaning in what we do. Sound familiar?

Stress derived from work is obviously not a new phenomenon, but over the past 20 years there has been a massive increase across the U.S. and modern workplace statistics reveal that:

  • 80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.
  • 42% say their co-workers need help with stress management.
  • Work-related stress costs U.S. businesses $300 billion a year due to presenteeism, absenteeism, turnover, and healthcare costs.
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Since most people work, and work is our greatest stressor, the workplace environment presents a prime opportunity to learn how to effectively manage and cope with our stress. Yet only 1 out of every 6 working adults consider their organization’s stress management programs adequateAccepting stress as “just another part of the job” is clearly costing us a lot across the board. So why aren’t we doing a better job of managing stress in the workplace?

  1. Misconceptions about Stress — Stress is not something that you can simply get rid of. It’s an inherent property of human nature but it can be managed like other emotional responses. While short-term stress can be beneficial for your health, prolonged or chronic stress, in the form of multitasking, information overload, decision making, and social strife, has adverse effects — both mentally and physically. Over time, stress is scientifically shown to lower immune health, release harmful chemical reactions that weaken physiological health, and is directly linked to diabetes, obesity, and poor cognitive performance.
  2. Mental Health Stigma — It’s fair to say that most people do not fully understand the legitimate emotional, mental, and even physical impacts that stress can have. People with stress-related mental health issues face widespread discrimination in social environments, as well as ‘self-stigma’, especially in the workplace. Showing signs of anxiety, depression, and extreme stress is discouraged at work because it often leads to even more stressful situations, such as feeling disconnected from the team, performance review, and receiving negative attention; potentially hurting your career or even resulting in losing your job.
  3. Cost and Measurement — Stress reduction is relatively hard to measure, so it’s equally hard to justify spending money on it. Many organizations and individuals prefer to invest in wellness programs that quantify physical health, or financial stability, which can be clearly charted since measuring steps taken or money saved is easier than quantifying a 5% reduction in chronic stress levels.
  4. Business Sense — Many stress management solutions are viewed as counterintuitive to traditional business ideologies — suggesting that employees work less, disconnect from email and company communication channels, receive higher salaries, and take more time off can be hard for businesses to digest and reconcile without guaranteed returns.
  5. Low Priority — Oftentimes, corporate wellness programs place a large emphasis on physical health and developing social culture, while overlooking mental well-being. Organizations prefer to implement programs that look good on paper, such as a health challenge that can be easily measured with wearable devices, or a corporate event to bolster social connection that can be documented. Understanding the positive link between effectively managing stress and other health categories, such as physical health and social connection, will help to prioritize holistic stress management programs for individuals and organizations alike.
  6. Lack of Support — Practices such as mindfulness and meditation to manage stress are often viewed with skepticism and can seem daunting to start and maintain without guidance and social support. Understanding how effective and simple it is to promote and adopt stress management habits is a key challenge of both employers and employees. Recognizing a colleague’s efforts to manage their stress is a great way to validate what they are doing and learn about new techniques and resources.
  7. Data Privacy — Understanding how stress impacts individuals and organizations requires measurement and employee data. But collecting information on people’s mental states and stress levels is invasive and can be used against employees if it’s mismanaged. Making sure that personal health information (PHI) collected remains anonymous, doesn’t negatively influence employer-employee decisions, and is only being used to support stress management, are key challenges of companies that create their own stress care programs.

Understanding what causes stress and how to best manage it is a required skillset of top performers and organizationsIn order to accomplish this, we need more robust individual and company-based stress management programs and environments. As employees, we should regularly self evaluate our stress levels and understand what coping methods work best for certain scenarios. As employers, we need to open the doors for unbiased conversation about stress and mental health, provide resources and support, and encourage teams to develop skills to handle stressful situations, both professionally and personally.

A good first step is seeing how your company currently stacks up when it comes to mental wellness. Check out your company’s Psocratic Wellness Score here.


Psocratic is a proactive behavioral health platform on a mission to advance workplace culture and wellness. Schedule a demo or say hello: info@psocratic.com 🙌

The Art of Data Teams: Exploring the Relationship Between Qualitative and Quantitative Thinkers

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The best data teams are the ones that tell the most insightful stories. But what characterizes a good versus poor data team? I’ve found — from my 15 years of experience working with data— that it always boils down to the relationship between qualitative and quantitative team members and how they complement each other.

First, what do I mean by qualitative and quantitative?

Generally, the qualitative thinker is visually and verbally gifted and has the business chops to understand and explain the shifting groundwork of any given industry. They are likely managers or leaders, deal with bigger picture challenges, and are client facing.

On the other hand are quantitative individuals. These are the analytical thinkers — the facts and figures miners — and they can explain why certain phenomena occur with models, regressions, and evidence supported by data big and small. While they can make sense of the numbers, they oftentimes lack the business savvy and experience to relate it back to the bigger picture, or to clearly explain how their findings impact business trends.

Together, they make the modern data team. Part analytical wizard and part storyteller, equipped to make sense of complex systems with data-powered narrative. Their effectiveness depends on how the team is structured, leading to reports that are either mind-blowingly insightful, have a few interesting takeaways here and there, or are total data mush.

I am a mathematician and qualitative thinker by trade and have worked on successful, lackluster, and subpar data teams across various organizations. While I was at Gartner, an IT research and advisory firm, I learned something really interesting about what defines a good vs. mediocre vs. poor data team, and how to work with a qualitative teammate to create insightful reports quickly.

At Gartner, our immediate data team consisted of only two of us; myself on the quant-side, and my boss as the qualitative leader. We were tasked with advising CTO’s and IT managers on how to attribute IT spending and personnel back to the bottom line impact of the overall business. Working on-site, my qual-minded boss would piece together a story of what was happening at a high level and where the bottom line could likely be improved with his strong business chops. He would then articulate this message to me and I would work to gather the data to support or negate his assumptions. With our story complete, we would present to CTO’s and tech managers on ways to optimize their IT businesses. We soon became so adept at the job that we were providing the services of other 10 person teams.

Initially, we figured our high performance was the product of our individual quant and qual strengths but this was not the case. What actually allowed us to outcompete most every team was my understanding of storytelling and business themes, partnered with his comprehension of analytics and data tools. For example, when we were compiling a client report, he knew just enough about analytics, and what was possible, to structure our story with missing quantitative arguments that I could quickly generate. He trusted that I had the business wherewithal to gather the relevant data and display it in a way that would support the story he was crafting and appeal to our client’s interests. In effect, we were simultaneously creating the same storyline — he laid out the structure, and I filled in the missing pieces with the right data, days and weeks before our competitors could.

This mutual understanding also allowed us to hold each other accountable without wasting time. He would constantly challenge my approach and ask why I did things a certain way, where the data came from, how it was presented, if there were any missing variables, how it supported or negated the story we were telling, etc. On the other hand, I would challenge his assumptions with data evidence and course correct his pitch to the client if my analysis conveyed a different narrative.

Essentially, we found the ‘Goldilocks’ principal of overlapping skillsets: “not too much, not too little, but just right. We were not too different-minded to make it difficult to communicate, nor did we overlap to the extent where we were stepping on each other’s toes.

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After realizing the effectiveness of this team dynamic firsthand, I started to incorporate it into my company, Psocratic. We started by hiring two quant-minded employees with business chops and partnered them with our qualitative storyteller, who understood analytics, to work on a handful of projects. In one week, we identified three major initiatives to benefit the company. Three months after that, we had created two reports that became core pillars of Psocratic, and built a tool that we used to validate our entire model; all of this 4 months ahead of schedule!

From there we took this approach one step further and incorporated it into our actual well-being and leadership product. We do this by providing storylines for individuals, teams, and organizations that are fueled by quantitative reasoning. For example, each user and client of our platform is provided with a compelling storyline that is supported with data to quantify their mental health or human capital statistics.

In the future, we plan to play around with this model a bit. Hiring multiple quantitative teammates and storytelling types, that care about our overall mission of improving mental health, and putting them into two person teams on a rotating basis. Constant circulation will allow for more access and exposure with other teammates to help spread skills and increase empathetic thinking. We will obviously be crafting a data-supported narrative along the way.


Psocratic is a proactive behavioral health platform on a mission to advance workplace culture and wellness. Schedule a demo or say hello: info@psocratic.com 🙌

The Psocratic Index: Measuring Employee Wellness vs. Profitability

At Psocratic, we believe happier, healthier employees can increase your profits — so much so that we built our business on it! But how can you tell if your company is on the right track?

By measuring company culture, pay, leadership, and other personnel factors against profits and revenue, we’ve created The Psocratic Index, an interactive proprietary tool that can help companies understand where they fall within their industry.

Click here to explore The Psocratic Index to see where your company stands.

Don’t see your company or industry? We would love to add you to our growing index, contact us at info@psocratic.com for more information.


How did we conduct this research? We compiled employee data taken from the top 1,500 companies on the NYSE, and explored trends within and across major industries. The wellness score on the Y-axis is the combination of employee data covering 5 company specific themes — culture, fair pay, career path, company leadership, and work-life balance — evaluated on a 0-5 point scale. Gross profit per employee is provided in public statements and annual reports. More questions? Reach out, and we’re happy to explain more! info@psocratic.com