Understanding and addressing employee needs in an international wellbeing strategy

‘Wellbeing’ is broader than ever before and must be viewed holistically. Tackling it in terms of a range of components that need to be addressed, from financial advice through to mental health support just isn’t enough. They need to be incorporated into the wellbeing strategy, using the key ingredient of the employee experience.

Understanding and addressing employee needs in an international wellbeing strategy

The employee experience and wellbeing

We’re starting to better understand the ‘employee experience’, recognising that it’s an employee’s everyday experience, comprising a multitude of micro-experiences, from interactions with colleagues and emails from leaders, through to events, celebrations and appreciation. For an employee experience to be positive, it needs to be filled with more happy ‘peak’ experiences than negative ‘valley’ experiences. And by focusing on creating these peak micro-experiences, employees will be more engaged with a greater sense of wellbeing.

In fact, thriving cultures with great employee experiences are 13 times’ more likely to have highly engaged employees and are three times’ less likely to have employees experiencing moderate to severe burnout.

However, this knowledge of employee experiences is rarely being used when creating a wellbeing strategy. Instead, key components that make up a wellbeing programme are being ticked-off like food on a shopping list. By putting a greater focus on the employee experience, this provides a vital bottom-up rather than a top-down approach to wellbeing.

Enhancing the employee experience

So, how can you go about improving the employee experience and therefore employee wellbeing? There are a number of key elements to focus on. These include:


Employees long to work for a company with an overriding purpose that they feel connected to and inspired by. And when they do, they’ll feel more motivated and a greater sense of belonging. In fact, employees that find a meaningful purpose in their work are twice as satisfied with their jobs. Purpose and wellbeing are therefore intrinsically linked. 


Employees who feel as though they’re part of a winning team will feel a greater sense of belonging and higher self-esteem. Regularly communicating accomplishments and sharing success stories are key to this.


Employees want opportunities to progress and try new things, but most importantly they want their voice to be heard, their opinion valued and to be given the chance to give input on important decisions. Failure to provide this, may prove detrimental to mental health.


Ensuring everyone feels appreciated and valued is vital for a healthy and happy workforce. Organisations with successful recognition embedded into everyday culture are four times’ more likely to have highly engaged employees and 44% less likely to have employees suffering from burnout. And with the right technologies to support recognition initiatives, appreciation can become an integrated part of everyday workplace culture, helping to bring people together regardless of location and time zone.

Modern leadership

This is the very foundation of a great employee experience and is crucial to success. Modern leaders who are open, transparent, compassionate and get to know their employees as individuals while connecting them to purpose, accomplishment and each other, play a key role in creating a happy, thriving culture.

A final word

Creating an international wellbeing strategy must focus on the employee experience first and foremost. Yes, the wellbeing programme ‘infrastructure’ needs to be in place, from financial support services through to mental health first aiders. However, any wellbeing programme must look at daily working life through the employee’s eyes, concentrating on how this can be enriched so that people feel cared for, appreciated, connected to purpose and an acute sense of belonging.

Research statistics taken from O.C. Tanners’ Global Culture Report.

The author is Robert Ordever, managing director of workplace culture expert, O.C. Tanner Europe.

This article is provided by O.C. Tanner Europe.

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