Framing Wellbeing Within Your Organisation to Drive Engagement | EAPA-SA

Some organisations focus on measuring and evaluating their employees’ engagement, while others focus on improving their workers’ wellbeing. However, it has been found that there is a striking correlation between engagement and wellbeing. For example, when an employee is happy and engaged in their job, it impacts their health in a positive way. And when an employee is feeling physical and mentally well, they will feel happier and more engaged at work. The upshot is that employers have a tremendous opportunity to benefit from simultaneously building upon the relationship between wellness and engagement. 

Employee wellbeing and engagement are reciprocal

Employee wellbeing refers to the state of employees’ mental and physical health, which often results from influences both within and outside of the workplace. Employee engagement is evaluated by how employees feel about their role, their work and their perceived value within an organisation. According to Gallup research, there is a significant relationship between employee engagement and wellbeing, with managers being the conduit between the two. It shows that, 

“engagement and wellbeing are reciprocal — each influences the future state of the other. They are also additive — each makes a unique but complementary contribution to the thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and performance outcomes of employees. When they work together, they are a super-charger for a thriving, productive workplace. For instance, when employees are engaged and thriving at work, burnout decreases and productivity improves.”


“Building an engaged workforce starts with skilled managers”

There are three key components of employee engagement

  • Skilled leadership

Building an engaged workforce starts with skilled managers. According to Gallup, “Managers — more than any other factor — influence team engagement and performance. That’s not an exaggeration: 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager.” Managers are the most important factor in employee engagement and the work performance that results, as they are closest to the day-to-day lives of employees in some of the following ways: 

  • managers are best positioned to daily navigate and communicate ongoing organisational changes and threats;
    • managers are key in identifying the natural strengths of employees, which is a vital component of both engagement and wellbeing. Workplace burnout is dramatically reduced among engaged, thriving employees who use their strengths;  
    • engaged employees are more likely than actively disengaged employees to be comfortable discussing their wellbeing with their managers;  
    • managers who give frequent and meaningful feedback have employees who are more likely to be engaged and more likely to be thriving as compared with managers who do not. 
  • Rewards and recognition

Recognition is one of the key components of employee engagement. When you appreciate employees for their effort, they are more loyal and motivated to work harder and achieve more. Rewarding teams helps to build collaboration and teamwork.  Incorporating a rewards and recognition programme leads to many benefits for the organisation, such as increased productivity and retention.

  • Professional development

Employees who aren’t learning are more likely to leave. According to a LinkedIn survey, 94 percent of employees would stay longer with an organisation if they saw an improvement in their professional lives. This survey shows that over 25% of Millennials and GenZ workers believe that learning is the top factor that contributes to them feeling happy at work. And simply engaging with learning correlates with a sense of growth, advancement and adaptability. These statistics prove that professional growth is an essential component of employee engagement and should not be ignored. Source:


Building wellbeing programmes that drive engagement 

Realising their employer cares about them, helps employees feel more connected to the organisation and their colleagues. Here are five strategies for building a wellness programmes that drive engagement: 

  • Include employees in the wellbeing conversation

Asking employees to contribute to wellbeing ideas on how to enhance career, social, financial, community and physical wellbeing, both at work and at home, is a great way to make them feel like they are part of the organisation’s wellbeing movement. Ensure all ideas are discussed openly, and investigate ways to incorporate the feasible ideas among them into workplace wellbeing programmes. As the people using (or choosing not to use) what’s currently available to them, they will have useful feedback about what’s working and where there’s room to improve.

  • Link the wellbeing of each employee to the purpose of the organisation

Connecting with an organisation’s mission or purpose is a critical aspect of employee engagement. To this end, have employees review the mission of their organisation and discuss how a vibrant wellbeing culture is critical to the mission’s success. In addition, how might the mission help them live their lives well? Find ways to create reminders of these connections. For example, create posters explaining how each element of wellbeing is connected to the mission or host onsite or virtual opportunities for employees to live out the mission and culture of wellbeing.


  • Encourage participation in wellbeing activities to suit the individual

Let employees choose the wellbeing activities best suited to them based on their individual wellbeing goals, thus fostering accountability and ownership. This approach will promote a culture of wellbeing, and do so while honouring each person’s unique talents and interests. Employees are often unaware of the programmes and offerings at their disposal so this provides an opportunity to clarify what programmes are provided. 

  • Have each employee identify the element of wellbeing at which they are most successful

One of a manager’s most important roles is focusing on the natural strengths of employees. To apply this in the context of nurturing wellbeing, have employees describe the element of wellbeing that they gravitate to most easily in one-on-one or small-group meetings. Learn about what factors in life and work motivate them to succeed and what they do to succeed in this area. Providing examples for others while also honouring what their colleagues are best at in their lives and in the workplace will result in peer encouragement and learning. 

  • Recognize employees for their wellbeing achievements

Recognition reinforces what is valued within an organisation’s culture. A key reason recognition is such a reliable driver of employee engagement is that employees who know they will be recognised for excellent work and accomplishments will be more motivated. The same principle applies when building a culture of wellbeing. It is a good idea to formalise wellbeing recognition mechanisms in the workplace to increase both visibility and spur greater effort, thus improving wellbeing and engagement simultaneously. 


In a nutshell, by addressing employee engagement and employee wellbeing at the same time employees are more likely to have their psychological needs met, as well as to stay engaged and be better shielded from the negative effects of any anxiety and stress they are experiencing. 


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