Entrepreneurship17 June 20206 min

Why you should start investing in employee wellbeing right now #WisdomWednesday

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Founding a startup is exciting, but it’s also demanding. For every milestone, there are many long hours, working weekends and late-night pizzas. The uncertainty and anxiety of the corona crisis has made it even more clear that startups need to pay attention to employee wellbeing in order to thrive. That’s why we’re organising our Wellbeing Academy Day, and more and more of our startups are focusing on health. This #WisdomWednesday we’ll explain why investing in employee wellbeing benefits everyone:

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People need more purpose & connection

In a survey by the Belgian federal government, 25% of employees said that work has a predominantly negative effect on their health. If the business world doesn’t take into account the effects of the corona crisis on health and wellbeing, that percentage will only increase. While we were all inside trying to flatten the curve, our mental health took a big hit: social isolation, uncertainty and concern for family members and friends who fell ill are just a few reasons why there is more need than ever for companies to have a wellbeing policy.

The crisis has also been a time of reflection and rethinking our priorities, and people are looking for a sense of purpose even more than before. If their employer is no longer in sync with their values, there’s a good chance they’ll go looking for another job. So now is the time for leaders to step up and show empathy and compassion, cultivating positive human connection in the workplace. A people-centred workplace can make teams more resilient in the face of challenges, improve productivity and even lighten the pressure on team leaders.

Are you going full steam to restart your company right now or do you want to breathe new life into your company post-corona? Then be sure to check out these tips from our partner Accenture on their “people-first approach” to reopening and reinventing your business.

It increases engagement & lowers absenteeism

Mental and physical illness not only cause a lot of human suffering, but also lead to high costs for employers. As a company, you obviously want to prevent sick leave from surging. Then there’s also “presenteeism,” where you get the bodies in the chairs, but not much is going on upstairs due to fatigue or distraction. This is a very common problem at work today and is more prevalent in employees who don’t take care of their physical health, for example by smoking or eating junk food.

So it should be clear: sickly workers are also bad for your financial health! Does this sound familiar, or do you want to avoid this at all costs? Search for the cause and look at how you can detect potential issues on time. A lot of employers have the tendency to react rather than prevent. At Start it @ KBC we’re big believers in prevention over a cure! That’s why we enjoy the support of partners like Carevolution and VITO,a research organisation which focuses on health among other topics. You get what we’re saying: don’t let burnout stand a chance.

With the insights you gain you can start improving your working conditions. Don’t know how to go about it? No worries: our startup Medicheck is a pro at tackling absenteeism.

Another tip: involve your staff in setting up your wellbeing policy. Ask them what you can do better. Not only does this help build a better framework, it also increases their engagement and their performance. Invest in concrete programmes with the aim of increased wellbeing. For example, you can explore the advantages of company yoga with some help from Yogatime.

Space for more innovation & growth

When your employees are more engaged, it’s good for your wellbeing, but also for innovation. Engaged employees are more enthusiastic, flexible and challenge-seeking. According to Gallup, only 29% of workers strongly agree that they’re expected to be creative or think of new ways to do things at work. They also found that “organisations that promote creativity engage workers, and engaged workers are more creative.” In other words, employee engagement helps generate new ideas.

Wellbeing is essential to employee engagement and creating an environment that stimulates innovation. It’s up to leaders to create the right atmosphere to help make this happen. Just ask our mentor Gilles Mattelinabout how his company Intuo’s talent management tool bridges the gap between wellbeing and business performance. He will surely be able to tell you a few things about how these two go hand in hand!

In it for the long haul

As a company you may be focusing on compensating your losses from the corona crisis right now. Of course it’s important to get back on top, but there is more than just the short term to think about. Investing in wellbeing lets you reap benefits in both the short and the long term!

That is one of the many reasons why we at Start it @KBC invest in the wellbeing of both founders and their teams. On Thursday, June 18 you’re invited to attend The Wellbeing Academy Day exclusively for Start it @KBC startups.

Ready to learn more about creating work-life balance, better physical and mental health and increased wellbeing? Sign up here!