Managing the Emotional Well Being Of The Employees

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 3533 , Published on 22 May 2012

Of all human inventions; the organization, a machine constructed of people performing interdependent functions, is the most powerful.  -Robert Shea

From the last decade and a half organizations as an institution have developed tremendously and their significance to the success of any economy can’t be underrated. The quote by Robert Shea clearly exemplifies the intricacy that prevails in organizations since the most important component they are made up of that is “The Human” is the most intricate and difficult to cognize. So it becomes the duty of the most vital institution to cater to the needs and complexity of the most convoluted aspect that is the human component.

The complexity of the human being stems not just from the fact that they are the only living asset in an organization which can make or break it but also from the emotional characteristic which is very unique to them. “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” The quote rightly encapsulates the fact that people who are believed to logical are actually machines constituted of a plethora of emotions.

Emotions are intense feelings that are directed towards someone or something, and are one of the crucial factors affecting behavior in every sphere. To create healthy relationships it is necessary to be aware of one’s emotions and also tune them according to the situations one encounters. Emotions have an inordinate role to play in both the personal life of individuals and their work behavior. Emotions are highly correlated to the well-being of any individual.

Well-being as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is “the state of being or doing well in life; happy, healthy, or prosperous condition; moral or physical welfare (of a person or community) (OED, 2007). All these add up to a healthy individual who can perform to his best in all the spheres of life. The focus of this article is well-being on the job front with special reference to the emotional aspect.

Advocates of the well-being viewpoint argue that presence of positive emotional states and the positive appraisals of the workers and their relationship within the workplace accentuate work performance and quality of work life. When environments provide and people seek out interesting, meaningful and challenging tasks individuals are likely to have manageable difficulties (Brim, 1992). This implies that when demands match or slightly exceed resources individuals experience positive emotional states and would be engaged and productive. From this perspective, a healthy workforce means the presence of positive feelings resulting in a happier and more productive worker.

Thus satisfaction here specifically means high level of emotional well-being. This well-being as stated above is a result of job involvement, organizational commitment, positive environment which challenges both the cognitive and emotional dimensions of the employees.

Peter Warr (2002) suggested some key features which predict well-being which is job specific. Some of them are:

  • Opportunity for personal control, decision, autonomy, absence of close supervision.
  • Skill and task variety, job content and location.
  • Environmental clarity, information of required behavior, feedback.
  • Availability of money, income level, amount of pay, financial resources.
  • Physical security
  • Supportive supervision.
  • Opportunity for interpersonal contact, interaction with others, social density, supportive colleagues.
  • Valued social position.

It can be deduced from the above stated features that there are many aspects to emotional health; which is a resultant of high self-esteem-how one feels about oneself and behavior that is suitable and healthy, high adaptability to change and the capability to cope with stress, and act independently and so on.

It is being observed that there is a different epidemic happening and it has been gaining attention off late. It is generally seen that business owners demand a properly oiled machine be it human or non-human but often fail to remember that both need oiling from time to time. Like the non-human machinery thrives on proper oiling similarly this oil is also crucial for the smooth functioning of the human machinery. It aides the emotional psyche of these live assets of the organization. But organizations these days expect employees to report to work on time work their bone out and then retreat.

This assumption completely ignores the emotional aspect and the physical dexterity is equated to well-being of individuals. This in itself is a very shallow postulation. Businesses schedule time as if the brain had unlimited resources, as if we could focus well all day long. All this has led to the business arena run into an era of an epidemic of overwhelm. This is characterized by too many people's mental well-being stretched through multi-tasking, disjointed attention and information overload. Consequently they have to pay the price in terms of increased turnover, spiraling absenteeism, reduced morale, zero loyalty and falling productivity.

The move towards caring for the well-being of employees is rather sluggish at moving forward in the workplace here. There is little doubt that these days companies have truly started listening and respecting their employees to get dramatically better performance from them. Although it is a really tough task to ascertain the emotional status of workers at any point of time but still companies are now making efforts by hiring consultants and coaches who help drive performance by motivating the employees.

This is often done by helping the individuals accepts themselves holistically and also understand the pitfalls in the various dimensions of their personality. If one looks back not long ago well-being was viewed very narrowly.  Physical comfort in the workplace was ignored and priority was given to cost-effectiveness. Social well-being was considered outside of the business domain and emotional well-being, was just forbidden. Innovative employers are now recognizing that employees are their greatest assets and not merely an expense.  So they are not leaving any stone unturned to make their employees happy.

In today’s enormously competitive business environment, employees are persistently under stress due to numerous reasons such as meeting sales targets, or finishing their tasks within the given deadline. All these can overwhelm the employees and raise their anxiety level. So managers have a really important role to play so as to increase the overall health of not only the employees but also of the organization. Some of the ways through which emotional well-being of the employees could be managed which is one of the most challenging jobs are:

Creating an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

It is one of the most suitable ways to help employees in situations concerning emotions. This program has a structure that swings into action whenever an employee is facing an emotional crisis and needs help. Under this program, the in-house counselor of the company or the designated manager of the program can address the difficulties faced by the employee in an empathetic and intimate manner, and provide him or her with all possible assistance

Providing Employee Health Insurance

Adequate coverage for employee health insurance, which can also include a provision for emotional guidance and support from a health professional trained to help in such situations. It can go a long way in ensuring the best possible emotional and mental well-being of the employees whenever they face an emotional crisis in personal or professional life.

Approachability to the Management

It is imperative to create a management system that enables an easy interaction between the employees and the senior management. Also known as the “open door policy” it lets the employees access their seniors and discuss their emotional issues and problems in confidence.

Periodic Seminars and Motivational Courses

In order to help employees maintain a sound emotional health they can be encouraged to attend seminars, group talks and courses from time to time that are designed to enhance the emotional strength of the participants. The company can sponsor the employees who wish to attend such events, or it can arrange such events within the company which allows maximum employees to benefit from these types of activities.

Develop Intra-organization Solidarity

This is one of the most innovative methods, whereby the managers and employees come together in an informal setting and have discussions about their professional and personal issues and concerns. Employees can be encouraged to speak freely without any fear of negative consequences for their career within the organization. Further, the organization can have provisions for after-hour leisure activities, official parties, day trips or picnics, and other events that create a family-like environment within the company and improve the overall emotional quotient of the organization.

Hence there could be numerous measures which can be introduced so as to lift the spirits of both the employees and the organization.

As it is rightly said: “Emotions are the navigators of the ship called life only if they are going in the right direction.” So great care needs to be taken to manage them.

This article has been authored Shashank Malhotra from IIFT.



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