Care in the workplace isn’t any different from self-care, empathy, or supporting a loved one — and the impact is significant.
A 2019 study by the Limeade Institute found that when an employee feels their organization cares about them as an individual, they’re nine times more likely to stay at the company for three or more years, twice as likely to be engaged at work, and 10 times more likely to recommend the company to others as a great place to work.
It’s simple: What’s good for people is good for business. It’s time for organizations to step up and start thinking about how to show their employees they truly care — especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach employees you might not see in the office every day.
Showing employees you care is about more than a paycheck or praise for a job well done — it’s about everything from well-being and engagement to inclusion and communications at both the organizational and individual level.
Here are four ways to start showing employees you care today:
1. Invest in Employee Well-being
Research shows that well-being is deeply connected to employee engagement. The higher an employee’s level of well-being, the more likely they are to be engaged and performing at their best.
However, people are complex and well-being is personal. In light of this fact, traditional wellness programs focused on lowering healthcare costs for the company are ineffective.
At Limeade, we define “well-being” as “feeling good and living with purpose.” What that means for each employee will vary, but you can still show workers you care by offering some key well-being supports, such as:
- Connecting employees’ job responsibilities to the greater mission of the organization.
- Encouraging leaders and immediate managers not simply to be supportive, but to become champions of employee wellness. Leaders and managers should actively encourage employees to find more well-being in their lives.
- Giving employees access to tools and resources that support well-being, like targeted resilience activities and comprehensive well-being assessments.
- Taking a whole-person approach by supporting not only employees’ physical well-being, but also their emotional, financial, and workplace well-being.
2. Encourage Engagement by Granting Your Employees More Autonomy
Employee engagement is an individual’s deep connection to their work and sense of purpose in their job. Engagement motivates employees to commit to and spend extra energy on their work because it matters to them. In other words: Engaged employees are more motivated to execute well on their tasks and projects.
In order to sustain their engagement, employees need autonomy. They need to be able to make decisions, feel challenged, receive feedback, and have a manager who supports them. You can help encourage employees’ autonomy and engagement by:
- Making sure that employees gain a sense of meaning from their day-to-day work.
- Ensuring that your employees are learning and growing by extending regular opportunities for professional development.
- Coaching managers on how to assign appropriate workloads and support employee success.
- Providing employees with resource groups that allow for positive interactions with peers from different departments and locations.
3. Foster an Inclusive Culture That Values Everyone
Inclusion is more than a buzzword — it is crucial to the success of your business. Research shows inclusive cultures are six times more likely to be innovative. Why? Because a diverse mix of employees with unique perspectives collaborating with one another is more likely to generate new ideas.
When organizations make employees feel valued, they return the favor. This presents a huge opportunity for today’s HR leaders, who can support bottom-line business objectives by establishing inclusive programs and practices across their organizations. Support inclusion and show every employee you care by:
- Asking employees what tools and resources they actually need to do their jobs well — and delivering those tools and resources.
- Recognizing the unique perspective and value each employee brings to your team and the organization at large.
- Stop assuming. Instead, ask employees what they need from the organization to feel seen and heard at work.
4. Send Relevant, Actionable Communications
In a world of email overload, companies struggle to communicate effectively with their workforces, especially when many of their workers are now desk-less. Today, one in five Americans use smartphones as their primary means of accessing the internet. Employers must take heed and start thinking mobile-first when delivering important communications.
Using the right medium can get employees’ attention, but you have to convey the right message once you have their ears. Personalized, relevant, actionable communication enables employees to trust, inspire, and support each other. Organizations can support such effective communication by:
- Communicating appreciation through words of recognition.
- Offering different communication channels for different employee audiences — e.g., regions, facility locations, remote employees.
- Delivering the right messages at the right time to the right people, rather than relying on mass communications.
Organizational care doesn’t happen overnight. It takes the four components of well-being, engagement, inclusion, and communication to develop an employee experience that builds trust and conveys positive intent. Through these strategies and actionable insights, you can start showing all of your employees you care — today.
Dr. Laura Hamill is the chief people officer of Limeade, the corporate wellness technology company that measurably improves employee health, well-being, and performance.