Employee Wellbeing

The Link Between Employee Engagement and Wellbeing

Lynsey May Sutherland
Lynsey Sutherland
August 18, 2023
5 min read

For employees and organisations to thrive, it’s crucial to understand the link between engagement and wellbeing. Where you have one, you’re much more likely to have the other, and both can have massive benefits for your business. 

An engagement and wellbeing strategy that supports employees is a worthy investment. Better wellbeing initiatives can reduce stress by almost 50%, improve productivity and contribute to a greater organisational culture overall. 

What is employee engagement and why is it important?

Employee engagement is a way of looking at how invested, enthusiastic and passionate your employees are about their role in your company. High engagement tends to lead to higher-performing individuals, teams and organisations. 

What is employee wellbeing and why does it matter?

Employee wellbeing can relate to a whole lot of different factors, but is essentially an amalgamation of an individual’s overall mental, emotional, physical, and economic health both within and outside the organisation. 

How does employee engagement contribute to wellbeing?

Employee engagement and employee wellbeing are more closely linked than you might imagine. People who are engaged tend to feel more satisfied and motivated, both of which can create a sense of purpose and a more positive mindset. And on the flip side, employees with high levels of wellbeing are more likely to have the capacity to be engaged and thrive in the workplace. 

Gallup has some fascinating research about the link between wellbeing and engagement and found that employees who weren’t thriving in their lives had a:

  • 61% higher likelihood of burnout often or always
  • 66% higher likelihood of daily worry

The areas you’re most likely to see the connection are:

Work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance allows time for recuperation and reflection, which boosts wellbeing and means employees tend to be more highly engaged during the hours they are at work. 

Meaningful relationships 

We all know how much of a drag work can be when you don’t get on with your colleagues, but research from Gallup also found that people with a work best friend are seven times as likely to be engaged than people who don’t. 

Motivation and job satisfaction 

People who are engaged at work are generally more satisfied with their jobs and have higher levels of motivation, both things that can have a beneficial effect on wellbeing overall. 

A sense of purpose 

There are few things as good for cultivating a sense of wellbeing as having a strong sense of purpose. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can help improve sleep, boost immune systems, lower stress levels and improve cognitive function. 

Autonomy 

While it’s great to feel guided and supported in the workplace, feelings of autonomy can help improve both engagement and wellbeing. Most people enjoy the ability to make their own choices and see the benefits of those for themselves. 

Psychological safety and wellbeing

There’s also a strong link between feelings of wellbeing and a culture of psychological safety. Knowing that you are free to speak your mind and that your opinions and emotions will be respected can and does have a big impact on everyday health and happiness. 

Employee Engagement Guide

Everything You Need to Know About Employee Engagement

Get your complete guide on all things employee engagement

How to improve engagement and wellbeing

If you’re ready to start strengthening engagement and wellbeing, you need to start thinking about creating the kind of culture that makes space for both. 

Conduct regular employee engagement surveys (and act on the results) 

There’s no better way to know how your employees feel than to ask them. Regular employee engagement surveys can collect some very valuable data about what’s working and what isn’t. Just be sure to also act on the suggestions or patterns you see emerging. 

Not only does failing to act mean that your scores will never improve, it can also sap motivation over time and make it unlikely that employees will welcome or respond well to future surveys. 

Employee Engagement Survey
Employee engagement surveys give important insights that become action

Improve communication and transparency

Communication is one of the first things to work on if you want happier and more engaged employees. Poor communication is the root of many misunderstandings and can result in frayed tempers and wasted efforts. 

Transparency is also essential, as no one likes to feel as though key truths or decisions are being hidden from them. Leaders who can communicate clearly and effectively create an environment that nurtures employees.  

Make wellbeing a priority 

To make it clear that wellbeing is a priority for your company and not just a buzzword, you need to put some firm policies in place. 

  • Strive to create a healthy respect for a good work-life balance
  • Embrace a human-centric leadership style
  • Make lunch breaks mandatory
  • Offer access to mental health resources 
  • Reward and recognise effort

Get some more help in our guide to wellbeing at work

Give employees autonomy

Give people the ability and freedom to make their own choices – and to take responsibility for those choices – and you’re creating a place where employees are more invested in outcomes. 

It can be tempting to over-manage teams or to protect individuals from the reality of an idea that doesn’t come to fruition or a plan that doesn’t work out well. But you’re much more likely to raise engagement and foster high-performing teams if you offer autonomy alongside support. 

Give employees meaningful work

Avoid busywork or unnecessary bureaucracy and instead focus on ensuring that when your employees are working, they’re working at something with meaning. Why? Well, the results of studies are impressive – According to McKinsey, when employees find their work to be meaningful:  

  • Their performance improves by 33%
  • They’re 75% more committed to their organisation
  • They’re 49% less likely to leave

Provide development opportunities

Personal growth is a massive motivator for both engagement and wellbeing. Offering employee development allows people to plan for the future and set a series of achievable goals, both of which can be very beneficial when it comes to mental wellbeing.  

Play an active and supportive role in upskilling your employees and not only will they be more motivated, they will continue to bring new talents and insights to your organisation.

Transform your culture with Mo

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Book a free demo to learn how Mo can help you:
  • Improve employee engagement scores
  • Reduce employee churn
  • Build a collaborative culture
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Mo is an employee recognition and engagement platform that can help leaders improve collaboration and morale, reduce employee churn and drive change. 

Our platform creates a vibrant culture by developing team habits, encouraging people to celebrate success, recognise results and appreciate colleagues. Your complete toolkit for connecting and motivating teams in the new world of work. Book a demo with our team today.

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