Healthy, motivated and competent employees are what we all want. At the same time, this cannot be taken for granted.
And here comes the importance of it sustainable employability look around the corner.
What is sustainable employability?
First, let's zoom in on the definition of sustainable employability.
It is a theme that receives a lot of attention from the European Union.
Since 2014, the European Social Fund has been providing subsidies to companies that want to work on this employability.
It means keeping workers motivated, healthy and productive so that they can work inside or outside the organization until retirement.
This goes further than the health and safety and absenteeism policy that is already being implemented within companies. This is not just about preventing employees from getting burned out. No, what you want is that employees can be healthy, motivated and competent and therefore productive in your company.
Cartoon by: Arend van Dam
The challenge for the employer
You have probably noticed that employees who feel good about themselves generally really want to commit themselves to the work. They are productive and often come up with new ideas. These employees really add value to companies. And they fully realize that themselves.
As an HR professional or as a company owner, how can you ensure that all employees in this flow come?
And that not only for now, but also in the future.
The interplay between psychological job demands and control options
The American sociologist Karasek, together with colleagues, developed a clear work stress model that can give you a lot of insight into the most important factors that influence the health and well-being of employees.
It gives you opportunities to influence and increase the health and wellbeing of employees.
The question is how big the job demands for employees are. This concerns, for example, the amount of work, the degree of difficulty or the time pressure that is present.
In addition, the question is how great the control options for these employees are at the same time. This refers to the extent to which the employee himself has a sense of control over his duties and behavior.
Karasek's model shows that the health and well-being of employees are increased when both the job requirements are high and the control options are great. So the work may be challenging and demanding, but the employees feel like he is in control.
This makes him an employee who can experience personal growth, who learns a lot and can develop themselves.
The importance of openness within the organization
You now know that you can set quite high standards for employees. But now you want to know what the control options of them are. And you will only find out by entering into a conversation.
An open dialogue between manager and employee is of great importance here. Where do the employee's passions lie? Where does he get satisfaction? Perhaps you will find out together that there are many more work aspects in which the employee would like and could have more control of his own. This own direction is very important for the sense of autonomy and thus for the employee's control options.
The importance of social support within an organization
In addition to challenging job demands and plenty of control options, the ability to experience social support for employees is also essential for their well-being. That is why it is important to keep the mutual relationships open, to create opportunities in which employees can meet each other in an accessible way.
It is important that colleagues can support each other when one person is struggling or does not know how to tackle something. Giving each other good information is also important.
If colleagues can count on each other, that gives a lot of extra job satisfaction.
Promote a healthier lifestyle
Sustainable employability of personnel in 2021 is of course strongly related to the health of the personnel.
With the subsidies provided by the European Social Fund, great strides are already being made in this area within all kinds of companies.
You too can promote the vitality of your employees by, for example, offering them personal coaching by a vitality coach. He will discuss various topics that affect health with each employee. It can be about exercise, smoking, the use of alcohol or diet.
Image via Alex Hallatt's Arctic Circle
These are all topics that may not be obvious topics of conversation for employees, but which have a very basic impact on their health.
By alternating in working methods such as online questionnaires, group sessions and personal coaching, you make this theme negotiable within your organization.
You make it not only negotiable, but also live it out. If you create good preconditions and facilities for employees in your company, for example to shower and change for work, more people will choose to come by bicycle. With that you show that you have the health of your employees important finds.
Making use of the individual differences between employees
employees remain more motivated and become more enthusiastic when they are able to do the things that match their specific capacities.
Again, it is very important that you have knowledge of those specific capacities.
When do these employees feel challenged?
Make the working environment flexible so that it matches the talents and ambitions of the people.
But what are those talents?
Talk to the staff or have a screening carried out to gain insight into what works for these employees. In this way you let the employees create their own job and you give him or her the necessary direction that is so important to be able to enjoy their work.
The question you have to ask yourself over and over again is whether everyone is still in the right place or whether there should be a shift within your organization.
Promote a culture of mobility. And don't forget that older employees sometimes need different working conditions than younger employees.
So think age-consciously.
This also improves the employability of the staff in the longer term.
Creating a learning culture
Last but not least, you have to sustainable employability of your staff also think about promoting one learning culture in your company.
Here, supervisors and employees can learn from each other by entering into a conversation with the help of advisers. What are the qualities of our company, what do we want to change and what do the employees need to do so?
Mapping the learning culture, improving it and constantly directing and refining is something HR Consultant UK can definitely help with.
The recognition of non-company-specific knowledge and skills can also be included in this. For example, some employees will be happy when they are supported in the development of leadership or communication skills and they can develop further in this.