How to effectively measure employee mental wellbeing

Author

Daniel Evans

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Employee mental wellbeing refers to the overall state of employees’ mental, physical, emotional, and economic health. Employers have a responsibility ensure employee wellbeing is a priority and support any staff who are suffering. To do this it’s important to measure existing feelings within the business to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Changes can then be implemented to improve employee wellbeing.

In our 2022 Wellbeing Report, we asked employers how they currently measure wellbeing, and found that 70% of employers went off a ‘general feeling within the business’. The issue with this technique is that there aren’t any metrics so it’s difficult to understand the impact. Here are some ways to better measure employee wellbeing in the workplace.

 

PLAN

To effectively measure wellbeing, an evaluation should be the key driver of your overall wellbeing strategy. The data you obtain should guide where you want to invest your efforts, start by drawing up a plan – consider why you are measuring wellbeing. Is it to understand the general wellbeing of your staff? Or to tackle specific issues? Your focus should tie back into your business objections so that you are measuring something that contributes to your success.

 

METHOD

Wellbeing survey
Employee surveys provide employees with the opportunity to share their experiences and feelings about their work and the organisation. Monitoring the changes over time allows employers to make necessary alterations so they don’t further hinder productivity or happiness within the company.
Creating bespoke surveys with specific questions means the data you get will get is more likely to be reliable. In our research, we found that only 12% of employers used a formal survey process to measure mental wellbeing.

External Surveys
We found 12% of employers outsourced data by using surveys conducted by external specialists in measuring wellbeing i.e. investors in people. External businesses can look at workplace culture without bias. They’ll then detail the findings and put it into data points that you can use.

Anonymous feedback
We found 52% of employers used anonymous feedback to measure their mental wellbeing. The good thing about acquiring feedback anonymously is that people aren’t concerned about the consequences of their responses so the results you obtain are more likely to be honest. However, if you did receive negative feedback or a response from someone who was really struggling, you then won’t be able to identify who needs the extra support.

Focus group/ check-in
A good way to track thoughts and feelings is to have a ‘mood check-in’ every so often, where employees can speak out conversationally rather than like an interview. This can be done away from the office in a relaxed environment so that people might feel more comfortable discussing their feelings. This method can help obtain anecdotal feedback by allowing employees to speak openly about their experiences. The results of our feedback found 36% of employees used anecdotal feedback to measure wellness.
Appraisals could also be an opportunity for individuals to provide a check-in with their line manager, as this is usually an existing procedure in most businesses so it’s easier to ensure it is repeated every few months and result can be compared.

 

THE DOs…

Consistency – One of the most important reasons to measure wellbeing is that it allows your organisation to track changes to wellbeing over time. Creating a process where you are measuring wellbeing consistently will help start to build a bigger, better picture of what works for your organisation. From here you can identify strengths and where there is room for improvement.

Accessibility – Whichever method you select, ensure everyone can contribute should they wish to. Ensure that if you are using surveys that they are inclusive of all ages and demographics, and that the questions are worded appropriately.

 

TAKE ACTION

Action your data, the point of collecting this information is to provide you with an understanding of the overall wellbeing of your employees. Use this information to help guide you on where to go from here. If the data you have collected is limiting, it’s a good opportunity to revaluate your method.

Most of us will spend 80,000 hours at work in our lifetime and our workplace has a significant impact on our wellbeing, so measuring wellbeing in the workplace is crucial. Comparing data output before and after you started introducing measures can help track progress.

We recently launched an employee wellbeing initiative ‘Wellbeing that Works’ which a new initiative from JCW Group to create a benchmark for wellbeing at work. Workplace wellbeing relates to all parts of our working lives and is linked with productivity, so it should be a priority for every business.

We recently published Our Wellbeing report for 2022. We hope this report will help employers to shape their mental wellbeing practices.

You can download our full 2022 Wellbeing Report here.