7 ideas to improve social wellbeing in the workplace

In order to be a high performing organisation, you need to have high performing employees. For employees to be high performing they need to be mentally, physically and financially well. An important element of human wellbeing is one’s sense of purpose and feeling connected to other people or social wellbeing.

lightbulb moment

New Philanthropy Capital defines social well-being as “…a person’s state of mind, relationship with the world around them, and the fulfilment they get from life. It can be understood as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives. It is linked to a range of other outcomes, including mental health.”1

People are social animals and in these days of flexible and virtual working, it’s easy to overlook the potential for employees to feel isolated or undervalued, purely because they don’t get enough of the right human interaction. 

Every employer needs to think carefully about the social wellbeing of its staff and look for opportunities to improve where possible. Here are seven ideas for doing just that. 

1. Regular short staff meetings (team, division or organisation wide) that enable staff to feel part of something worthwhile and which is bigger than themselves, by focusing on communicating:

    • the company’s core mission, values and purpose
    • staff achievements and contributions
    • customer success stories and feedback
    • progress against key organisation objective

    The more you can allow staff to take an active part in these regular meetings the better. Done right, this can help foster a sense of collective ownership and shared endeavour.

    2. Sponsor events and activities that enable staff to socialise without financial cost to them. For example, having a social area of your office stocked with snacks and drink and organising out of office events like quiz nights, sports days, skating or bowling.

    3. Encourage staff to organise staff clubs and special interest groups like football, running, squash, photography, LGBT, BME and parents with young children.  

    4. Have your organisation sponsor community initiatives and encourage (but don’t compel) staff to take part. Examples include things like river or park clean up days, speaking at local schools, or visiting elderly people. 

    5. Adopt a relaxed approach to the beginning of the day by giving staff freedom to catch up on their personal lives. It might seem like people are wasting time but  trust people to get the work done in time. Avoid micromanaging. If people understand what is expected of them work wise, those daily social interactions will pay dividends.

    6. Give staff paid days off to do volunteering of their choice. You could link the number of days to length of service, achievement of personal KPIs or another agreed measure, but make sure everyone knows the rules.

    7. Facilitate charitable giving through the payroll and share employees’ charitable giving stories through your staff communications. The more you can communicate the causes that your staff support and why, the more they’ll feel a sense of community and meaning.

    Every organisation is different so there is no need to adopt all (or indeed any) of these suggestions. But the more you can integrate opportunities to foster social wellbeing into your overall staff wellbeing strategy, the happier and healthier your workforce will be.  

    And happy and fulfilled staff will give your organisation a great base to deliver high performance.

    This article is provided by Salary Finance. 

    If you'd like to hear a lot more on the topic of employee wellbeing, and also specifically from Salary Finance, then sign up for Employee Wellbeing Congress on 20 June in London, where they'll be exhibiting.


    1. New Philanthropy Capital: OUTCOMES MAP: PERSONAL AND SOCIAL WELL-BEING 2013 

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