The do's and don'ts of wellbeing measurement [PODCAST]

23 January 2024
Podcast Hillewaere

Data-driven, based on a comprehensive approach

As a rule, HR managers have a good idea of the mood within their organisation, because of the input they get from employees, on the one hand, and their gut feeling, on the other. But there’s more to it, according to Pieter from Waldon. Moreover, HR managers also often look to confirm their findings with external and objective information. "When we compare their views with the data, it's nice to see that these are often consistent with their intuition for the most part", Pieter says. "But with the right data analysis, you get an even better idea of what you should be prioritising.  This type of analysis is crucial if you want to build a solid case for the top tier of management within your organisation because, by definition, they base every decision on hard facts.

Pieter also believes that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. "Often there already are a lot of data and solutions available within the organisation," he says. "It's up to us to distil the necessary insights and conduct additional studies that HR managers can use to make concrete progress." 

Nancy from Hillewaere Group agrees and welcomes Waldon's holistic approach in particular. "Most wellbeing partners tend to limit themselves to the 5 Ws — work(ing) organisation, content, environment, conditions and relations. This is a good place to start. But Waldon’s surveys are much more comprehensive and in-depth, giving you a more realistic idea", she says. The focal points their survey identified for our organisation were very clearly defined: connection, physical health, and the need for disconnection."

"In collaboration with our partner The Vigor Unit, a spin-off of Ghent University, we have expanded the classic risk analysis", Pieter confirms. "We have added more variables to gain a deeper understanding of employees' wellbeing, both at work and in their private live

Getting everyone on board

Obtaining and using the right data is one thing, but fostering engagement for your efforts is an altogether different matter. "In rolling out our wellbeing policy, we wanted to avoid appearing patronising or pedantic", Nancy explains. "It needs to be a two-way effort, or you won’t have enough impact."

"It is important to keep employees engaged across the board", Pieter confirms. "As an organisation, it is in your interest to share the results of surveys you conduct with your employees. That way, they feel their input is valued. And you demonstrate maximum commitment if you also use the results to design improvements." 

How did Hillewaere Group go about this? "We visited all our offices with our own wrapped tour bus", Nancy says. "This gave us an opportunity to promote our plans more widely.

Hillewaere bus

We also launched our own learning management system (an application used to manage, deliver, and track online training and educational programmes for employee development). Naturally, we also shared the results with our employees. We then elaborated on this by discussing the next steps. The intention is to put together a special team of employees and managers to work on these three pillars in the coming period. Their job will be to transpose this input into action plans and projects, in both the short and long term. Hopefully, we will then be able to conduct a new survey in five years' time, with significantly improved results for these focal points." 

Find out more about the survey!

Shared responsibility

According to Nancy, some of these points for attention can easily be transposed into action plans. However, the physical aspect relies heavily on employees’ sense of initiative. "As an employer, you can raise awareness, but soon you’ll run into familiar challenges such as fatigue, among others. That doesn't make it any easier for organisations to be facilitators", she adds. 

Hillewaere Group has thus experienced first-hand what Waldon has previously confirmed: wellbeing is a shared responsibility. "If a co-worker is planning a holiday, it is up to him or her to ensure that the right processes are in place to ensure continuity", Pieter explains. “This is just one example of that shared responsibility, of course.”

“Some of our branches have already launched individual initiatives in the past, including yoga exercises with a coach", Nancy continues. "Experience shows that such initiatives tend to fizzle out very quickly. That is why we have changed tack: we want to create long-term positive impact and look at ways of incentivising such projects. We really take the time to engage with our employees, informing them about our plans in great detail. That is the only way to promote engagement." 

Intrigued? Listen to the full podcast episode (in Dutch) here for a better idea of how to measure wellbeing levels within your organisation!

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