Well-being works: effective approach of well-being at work

April 10, 2024

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Trend report 2024: ‘Wellbeing & Sustainability’

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Building well-being: sustainable commitment to mental and physical well-being at work

A 3-year research partnership with bpost, B-Tonic (a subsidiary of Baloise), and Elia, aims to convert the well-intended energy that organizations are currently investing in welfare actions into interventions that actually yield results. This partnership aims to develop and share new interventions and knowledge, with the ultimate goal of improving well-being in the workplace.

The research project is led by Kathleen Vangronsvelt and Eva Geluk.

Type project                   3 year resarch partnership
Projectpartners             B-Tonic, bpost and Elia
Length                              March 23, 2023 – march 26, 2026
 

Research on effective well-being interventions

Workplace well-being is a crucial aspect of organizational strategy because it directly impacts employee satisfaction and mood. These factors, in turn, influence performance, productivity, and the sustainability of the relationship between employees and the organization. Active investments in (mental) employee well-being are therefore essential for the success of an organization. However, the vast array of tools, workshops, and interventions makes it difficult to determine which interventions are truly effective in promoting employee well-being and which only incur costs without any impact.

Effective interventions for workplace well-being: a new approach

Despite the growing range of interventions aimed at improving workplace well-being, many of these initiatives seem to miss their mark. The number of employees taking time off due to mental health reasons has never been higher. While there are indications of evidence-based interventions in the complex literature on (mental) well-being, these are rarely applied on a large scale. This underscores the need to critically examine the effectiveness of existing interventions and strive for more evidence-based approaches to truly improve workplace well-being.

Focus on strengthening leadership and building a well-being policy

Increasing employee well-being is not a simple task; if it were, every organization would be doing it. While academic literature provides many insights, it is often achallenge to translate these into practical applications.

This 3-year research project aims to provide insight into what does work. We aim to understand the underlying mechanisms, identify the necessary conditions, and emphasize the importance of various stakeholders in promoting workplace well-being.

Well-being interventions and policy formation: research on effectiveness and approaches

The research focuses on the question “What makes well-being interventions effective?” with specific attention to the following sub-questions:

  1. Strengthening leadership: We acknowledge the crucial role of leaders in preventing absenteeism and promoting employee well-being. However, leaders are not superhumans; we cannot burden them with all the responsibility. How can we empower leaders by providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and interventions to have a positive impact on the well-being of their team members?
  2. Building a well-being policy: Significant investment is currently being made in workplace well-being, but it is unclear whether these investments actually yield results. Moreover, what works for one organization may not necessarily be suitable for another. Perspectives on well-being often differ among the organization’s top management, HR, prevention, leaders, and employees. How can we develop a well-being policy tailored to the specific needs of the organization, where initiatives complement rather than undermine each other, and which relies on elements known to have a positive impact on employee well-being?

Dissemination of findings by phase

The research progresses through various phases; from broad exploration to application in concrete reality, from literature review to developing applications, from reading to focus groups and interviews with leaders, from silently developing knowledge to loudly spreading knowledge.

After each year of research, a dissemination phase follows, in which the researchers and their partners share the acquired knowledge with a wide audience.

The results we aim to achieve with this research are:

  • Understanding effective methods to improve well-being in the workplace.
  • Identification of ineffective approaches where organizations should not invest resources.
  • A better understanding of the complex factors influencing workplace well-being and which strategies are effective.
  • Insight into the needs of leaders to promote employee well-being.
  • The definition of the responsibilities of leaders regarding employee well-being, including what they can and cannot do.
  • Guidelines for timely interventions, intervening not only when employees are already ill.
  • Clarification of the role of various stakeholders, such as HR, leaders, prevention, and the executive committee, in promoting employee well-being.
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annelies theunissen

Annelies Theunissen
People Sustainability Expert

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