The Covid-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to turn crisis into positive change for many organizations. Around the world, people have experienced the pandemic in different ways. One thing remote working has given us is a better sense of people’s lives outside work, and the realities and challenges they are dealing with. This insight is driving the focus on employee wellness much more holistically than ever before. Organizations cannot be successful if their people are burnt out and unproductive. The workforce is the fuel for a modern-day business’s viability in a competitive market.

Over the past year and a half, it has become very clear that employees require support to combat the stress of work, on top of health and personal crises and challenges they may be facing. In the past, many employee wellness programs only focused on health and fitness. We now know that more is needed to help people thrive, including how the organization itself is adding to the work-related stress its people are feeling.

As we look at new ways of working with more consideration for people’s commitments outside of work, it is important to look at areas in the organization that may be causing unnecessary stress as well as providing the support and resources employees need to make informed choices about their health and well-being.

Here are five ways you can ensure a thriving and engaged workforce through a people-centric lens.

Acknowledge Vulnerability

During the pandemic, most of us learned that everyone has vulnerabilities and a life outside of work, and that is okay. The biggest thing companies can do for their people is trust them and help them understand that they need to find a working rhythm that works for them.

The Right Culture

The secret to solid culture is people-centricity. Leaders must ensure people are involved in decisions and are supported to succeed. Do they feel their needs are prioritized? Do they feel a sense of belonging? Diversity is key here, in its broadest sense. The organizations with winning cultures cultivate unique perspectives, experiences, ideas and viewpoints. This is imperative to ensure employees feel valued.

The importance of this focus cannot be underestimated in terms of impact on the business, either. An IBM and Workhuman study found that organizations scoring in the top 25% on employee experience report double the return on sales.

A Sense Of Purpose

Everyone likes to feel they have a purpose in life, and the workplace is no exception. Employees frequently go to leadership for guidance on why they’re doing what they’re doing when they’re looking for a sense of purpose. That does not mean a focus on the business’s financial goals.

Executives must understand that, while the financial component of the business is vital, it is not what motivates people. Instead, C-level executives should lead with empathy and ask, “How do I start building that feeling of purpose and community, so our people thrive?” By studying and thereby tapping into their employees’ core motivations, they may encourage their teams to put purpose and intention into their work. People-centricity will become a natural, dominant trait of your business if you make purpose a priority.

Meaningful Work

Every organization has systems and processes that people work with every day and every one of those should be created to service people effectively wherever they are working from. Technological advancement means there are ways to build and implement solutions that think like people and are designed for the way they work. There is an opportunity to design infrastructures with a people-first mindset which can ensure they are not spending their days frustrated and hounded by outdated systems. Rather, they are empowered to spend their time on the work that matters and help them achieve their purpose.

Leaders that fight for and prioritize solutions that are built with people in mind will naturally promote their employees’ aspirations and requirements.

Examine Inner Workings

Businesses can be a significant and trustworthy source of healthy living education and advocacy for individuals. Organizations need to combine those efforts with analysing the underlying cause of work-related pressures in the organization and advocate change. Unrealistic demands, a lack of support, unjust treatment, a lack of decision freedom, a lack of appreciation, an effort–reward imbalance, contradictory responsibilities, a lack of transparency, and poor communication are all stress-inducing management practices.

Physical activity, taking breaks and ensuring proper time for work planning all must be considered and built into an employee wellness program. Communication between the company and employees is also essential for a good stress management program. By exhibiting a dedication to and concern for the well-being of employees, remedial actions can be taken.

Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the workplace forever. In turn, people expect more from their employers when it comes to wellness.  Your people are your business, so let them be the guiding light on your path to success. Culture will thrive, innovation will flourish and your employees will be empowered to make genuine change if you let your people lead the way.