Wellbeing is important in many areas of a business, and one of the most important relates to employee retention.

As we head towards the end of the year, people start thinking about their holidays. It’s the time of year that can be quite emotional and difficult for some people, while for others it can be quite celebratory. It’s a great time to talk about wellbeing on your team and to take a look at what you’re doing to support your employees.

Don’t forget – the start of the new year is the prime time for dissatisfied employees to start looking for their next job.

The Key Domains of Wellbeing

One organisation that works in this area is the CIPD in the UK, a professional body of HR and people development. CIPD talks about the key domains of wellbeing, with fact sheets on their website that you can download. CIPD looks at the key domains of wellbeing including:

  • Health – physical health.
  • Good Work – the working environment, including people’s management as employees, work demands, autonomy, change management and how people are paid.
  • Values and principles – leadership, ethics, inclusion and diversity. 
  • Collective social – employees having a voice, how the business communicates with them, and their relationships with other team members. 
  • Personal growth – career development, emotional wellbeing, learning and creativity.
  • Good lifestyle choice – physical activity and healthy eating. 
  • Financial wellbeing – are employees being paid fairly? Do they know how to plan for retirement? What other financial support is available to them? 

When you consider wellbeing within your businesses, it’s easy to consider only physical wellbeing. That’s why it’s useful to reflect on these key domains of wellbeing, as CIPD calls them, to remember that wellbeing includes many different areas within your businesses.

Financial Wellbeing in Focus

This year, in particular, we have a difficult economic environment and financial wellbeing is becoming more important to employees. The CIPD research report Financial wellness is the poor relation of employee wellbeing, found that financial wellbeing is the least promoted area of wellbeing, with just over a third of those responding to its survey actually taking action in financial wellbeing. 

That means financial wellbeing offers a really good opportunity for your business to differentiate from other employers, as well as providing support to your employees.

That means financial wellbeing offers a really good opportunity for your business to differentiate from other employers’

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Wellbeing & Retention

Research from Gallup reports that employee wellbeing directly impacts on retention. And the stats are that when employees are thriving, they’re almost a third less likely to be watching out for, or actively seeking, another job. That’s a pretty big percentage, and it shows the strong connection between your employees’ wellbeing, and wanting to stay with your organisation. 

Another piece of research from the Myers-Briggs Company shows that as employee wellbeing increases, their reported intention to leave the business decreases, which is very consistent with that Gallup research.

Psychosocial Risk Assessment

Under Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation in Australia, employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means wellbeing obligations. 

Part of this responsibility is in psychosocial risks and there are codes of practice now in many states across Australia, as well as talk about this becoming a regulation. Psychosocial risks relate to risks that go beyond physical risks, relating to risks to our psychosocial selves. This includes things like: 

  • Underwork
  • Overwork
  • Bullying
  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Autonomy

If you haven’t looked at this recently, because WHS feels like a very dry, boring topic for many people, then there are really two things you need to know:

  1. Understand your obligations If you’re not really sure about your obligations, when it comes to WHS in your business, then that’s your first piece of homework. 
  2. Activate control measures This is a key component of your obligations in WHS. It can be broken down into a couple of elements:
    • Consult with your employees You need to be consulting with people around things that will affect their health and safety in the workplace. 
    • Conduct risk assessments Look into things like underwork and overwork, for example. Ask, what’s the hazard? What are the risks? What’s the likelihood of it occurring? What is the harm look like? What about control measures? 
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Proactive Approaches to Wellbeing

What else can you do around wellbeing? One important step is to put an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place. There are many providers offering this service, EAPs provide your employees with a way to contact a third party organisation to access services with psychologists, therapists or counsellors to help with daily stresses in life, whether they are personal or work related, and these services are confidential.

EAPs provide your employees with a way to contact a third party organisation to access services with psychologists, therapists or counsellors to help with daily stresses in life’

Some EAP providers will also provide more proactive services. They may have provide training for employees, or provide fact sheets sent out out every month on different wellbeing areas. It’s a good idea to do some research in the market and decide on the best provider for you. 


You may look at wellbeing-focused benefits that you can offer employees in your organisation. 

  • Doona days Some organisations have doona days where, usually up to two per year, where an employee can stay home from work snuggled up in the doona, no questions asked. It may be that you’re just feeling good, or feeling challenged, or have some big issues to deal with in your personal life. Some people also call these mental health days.

‘an employee can stay home from work snuggled up in the doona, no questions asked’

  • Share resources Another easy benefit to implement is to share resources with your employees. This migh happen on days like RUOK Day, when you discuss mental health and provide information to your employees. Beyond Blue has some great resources. 
  • Taking about wellbeing Talk about wellbeing and put it on the agenda for staff meetings, which can help to normalise these conversations in the workplace. This can be a huge boost to people’s wellbeing.
  • Check you state authority Have a look at what your local state or territory government is doing in the wellbeing space. In New South Wales, the New South Wales Government website offers free training around mental health at work for businesses of under 200 employees or for nonprofits of any size, as well as free coaching. There may be similar services available in other state, check it out online. Sometimes we don’t even realise that these free resources are available. 
  • Staff surveys Conduct a staff survey to look at different areas, such as psychosocial risks and other areas of wellbeing related to those key domains of wellbeing outlined by the CIPD.
  • Financial wellbeing resources Reach out to your default superannuation provider for your workplace and find out if they have any financial wellbeing resources they can share. Some funds have free webinars and training. EAP providers also typically have financial wellbeing services that employees can access as well.

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