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Workplace Health and Safety

Ensuring Employee Well-being During — and After — a Pandemic

The global pandemic sparked a sudden shift toward remote work, bringing about challenges including employee isolation, difficulty collaborating, and a lack of engagement. Dan Diamond, M.D., coach and international disaster physician, sat down to discuss the future of employee well-being — and its connection to a company’s bottom line.

Dan Diamond, M.D.

Coach and International Disaster Physician

What is the employer’s role in employee well-being?

It’s not just a top-down thing. When I go into a disaster, the way I establish that culture as the team leader helps tremendously. But it also helps if I honor my team by inviting them into the process, because when people feel psychologically safe at work, they’re much more likely to participate.

What can businesses and HR professionals do to support employee wellness?

People go in the direction of where they look. You have to be very cautious about where you point. If you’re pointing in the direction of “we have all these problems,” it’s gonna get bad. We need to flip that and talk about “how do we create a culture where employees would never want to leave, and where diverse perspectives are welcomed, a wide variety of opinions?” Culture happens at the level of the team, not so much at the C-suite.

Why should employers prioritize employee well-being and a positive work environment?

Because according to The Wellbeing Lab from Michelle McQuaid, people that have higher levels of well-being are six times more likely to feel engaged, 29 percent more likely to be productive, 45 percent more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, and 125 percent less likely to burn out. Workplaces that chose to invest in employee well-being also experienced 70 percent fewer safety incidences, 42 percent lower turnover, 10 percent higher customer ratings, and 10 percent higher-over-average shareholder return. Those are some pretty good numbers.

Where do you see the future of employee wellness in the workplace, and its role in office health and safety?

About a year ago, I was certified as an Xchange Facilitator. We bring everybody in and start with this idea of what’s the best of what was? What’s the best of what is? How can we take those strengths that we have and then imagine a new, amazing future? Then we move into an innovation phase and then an implementation phase, where we say, “All right, how do we do this?” We can take whole organizations through that in a couple of days, and we can do it online.

What’s your advice for both employers and employees for the future?

Show some grace to each other. Show up with openness, kindness, curiosity, and we will get through this.

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