What is employee wellbeing? Gethin Nadin talks to Oven-Ready HR

In this episode of Oven-Ready HR, host Chris Taylor talks to author, speaker and psychologist Gethin Nadin. 

Gethin is one of the world’s top employee experience and wellbeing influencers, and his work has been featured in the FT, Forbes, The Guardian and HuffPost. Gethin is also chair of the UK government-backed Engage for Success Wellbeing Thought Action Group and a fellow at the RSA.

This episode covers:

How many pillars of wellbeing are there?
Gethin believes that there are broadly five pillars of wellbeing: physical, financial, emotional, community and leisure.

Why should organisations be concerned about wellbeing?
Gethin argues that organisations that commit to employee wellbeing benefit from increased profits and shareholder returns. When an organisation is seen to care for its employees, employees perform better in terms of improved customer service, productivity and outcomes.

How much wellbeing tech is evidenced based?
Gethin estimates that there are some 400,000 wellbeing apps available for download but warns that the majority of this technology is scientifically unproven despite some being recommended by healthcare organisations such as the NHS. He warns that some apps could actually cause harm by creating a sense of over-reliance and self-diagnosis.

What is ‘psychological reactance’?
‘Psychological reactance’ is the term used to describe human behaviour when we’re told something that we feel threatens our freedom. Gethin explains that messages surrounding health and financial wellbeing often fail because organisations use ‘negative associations’ as opposed to ‘positive’ ones.

Employee burnout and toxic work cultures
Having work-based friends is effective in employees not feeling isolated or alone at work. Gethin argues that employee burnout is most likely to be caused by poor organisational design and structure. A lack of autonomy, not feeling appreciated, a lack of direction and unrealistic deadlines all contribute to burnout.

How do we start a wellbeing strategy?
Gethin outlines the first steps an organisation needs to take when embarking on an employee wellbeing journey.  These include asking ‘why are we doing it?’ and ‘what do we hope to get out of it?’,  whilst keeping the employee front and centre of the strategy.

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