Episode Episode 1
Season 5

What is Employee Wellbeing All About?

You almost need to hold wellbeing in one hand and have that in one hand whilst you make any other decisions in the organization. So you’re really empathizing with are we doing this in a way that’s conducive to somebody’s good wellbeing. And I think for most of the leading organizations at the moment, they’re in this mindset of we’re moving away from do no harm to, we’ve got to do better.

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Show notes

In this episode of Oven-Ready HR host Chris Taylor talks to author, speaker, psychologist Gethin Nadin. Gethin is one of the world’s top Employee Experience and Wellbeing Influencers. Gethin’ work has been featured in the FT, Forbes, Guardian and The Huffington Post. Gethin is also Chair of the UK Government-backed Engage for Success Wellbeing Thought Action Group and a fellow at the RSA.

How many pillars of wellbeing are there? [01:33]
Gethin says a lot of organisations struggle with this but he believes s that there are broadly 5 pillars of wellbeing and these are:

1. Physical wellbeing
2. Financial wellbeing
3. Emotional wellbeing
4. Community wellbeing
5. Leisure wellbeing

Gethin recommends that organisations think about wellbeing in these five broad terms and to move away from ‘buying’ off the shelf wellbeing products where he believes many organisations get it wrong.

Why should organisations be concerned about wellbeing?[03:30]
Gethin argues that there is compelling evidence that organisations who commit to employee wellbeing benefit from increased profits and shareholder returns. When an organisations is seen to care for its employees, employees perform better in terms of improved customer service, their productivity increases and they produce better outcomes. Gethin states that employee wellbeing is an investment in people.

How much of the wellbeing tech is evidenced based?[12:49]
Gethin estimates that there are some 400,000 wellbeing apps available for download but warns that the majority of this technology is scientifically unproven despite some of the technology being recommended by healthcare organisations such as the NHS in the UK. Gethin goes on to warn that some of the available apps could actually cause harm by creating a sense of over-reliance and self-diagnosis by the individual. So he cautions organisations against putting technology based solutions in front of employees that lack the necessary scientific rigour and evidence.

What is Psychological Reactance?[19:40]
Gethin explains the terms Psychological Reactance the term used to describe human behaviour when we’re told something that we feel threatens our freedom. Gethin explains that messaging surrounding health and financial wellbeing often fail because organisations use ‘negative associations’ as opposed to ‘positive’ ones. He gives an example of retirement planning where positive messages such as dining out and holidaying regularly once retired are much more successful. i

Employee Burnout and toxic work cultures[26:19]
Gethin states that having work-based friends is effective in employees not feeling isolated or alone at work. Gethin argues that employee ‘burnout’ is most likely to be caused by poor organisational design and structure and quotes recent research to back up this claim. A lack of autonomy, not feeling appreciated, a lack of direction and unrealistic deadlines all contribute to burnout.

How do I start a wellbeing strategy?[38.27]
Gethin outlines the very first steps an organisation needs to undertake when embarking on an employee wellbeing journey. The steps include asking why are we doing it and what do we hope to get out of it whilst at the same time keeping the employee front and centre.



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