What factors into employee wellbeing? Premium

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Every year, the Great Place to Work Institute publishes its rankings of the best companies to work for. This marks an occasion to reconsider the three dimensions of employee wellbeing: trust in management, a sense of pride in one’s work, and a positive work environment.

The annual stock market returns of Fortune’s 100 best companies to work for are three times greater than those of other companies (firms of the Russell 3000 and the S&P 500 indexes).

1. Trust in management
“Employer/employee relationships are often marred by a general sense of wariness. What does it take to build mutual trust?
• Communication: This is essential to ensure that employees fully understand strategy and that management is aware of any difficulties in execution.
• Respect: Trust stems from management’s willingness to listen to employees’ opinions and ask for their input. Management should be aware of company members’ expectations, problems, and needs.
• Fairness: This does not mean treating everyone alike. It means upholding unambiguous, transparent HR policies.

2. Work-related pride
Well-being in the workplace also depends on feelings of belonging and a sense of participating in something bigger than oneself.
• Personal pride in one’s work: This refers to how people feel about their individual contributions to company performance.
• Pride in being part of the team: A feeling of belonging is a powerful lever of performance and helps people deal with everyday problems as well as major strategic challenges.
• Pride in one’s company: People feel proud when their company offers good quality products and services, enjoys good relationships with stakeholders, and has a reputation for positive social impact.

3. A good work atmosphere
• Camaraderie: Work is not only a place for pursuing personal goals of success, it is also a means to respond to very human needs for social belonging and friendship
• Collaboration: Working in a supportive place where people help each other out rather than compete helps to foster wellbeing.

Microsoft Finland: a range of work spaces
In 2010, Microsoft Finland vastly redesigned work spaces to enhance employee well-being and satisfaction. Isolation-inducing cubicles were replaced with a range of work spaces for people to pick and choose according to their needs and mood. They include, for exemple, the café, a restaurant area where meetings are generally held and The park which is a plant-filled area generally used for working alone.

Read our dossier
Why conviviality is a managerial asset

Based on, among others, The Great Workplace: How to Build It, How to Keep It and Why It Matters by Michael Burchell and Jennifer Robin (Pearson, May 2011) and “Flipping the switch: who is responsible for getting employees to take a break?” (Knoweldge@Wharton, February 2012).
Business Digest nº 228, july 2012.

Watch the video
Dan Henry on what makes well being

Dan Henry, the Chief of Human Resources at Bright Horizons, explains how well being can be achieved on a personal basis. An employee must be understood as more than merely the sum of his or her labor output.