Well-being at the workplace is becoming an increasingly important topic – globally, as well as in Bulgaria. The latter is the finding of the first Bulgarian study on the topic of how companies understand and apply well-being in the workplace. The survey was conducted by the Bulgarian Association of People Management (BAPM), denkstatt Bulgaria and Eudamonia Solutions in the period September – October 2017. It included experts engaged in human resource management and development in companies from different branches as well as managers in small and medium-sized businesses.
In recent years, employee well-being has become a priority topic for HR managers in Europe and the United States. This is mainly determined by the fact that more and more companies are clearly seeing that if organizational culture and processes are tailored to the needs of the team, it directly affects engagement and productivity. A number of studies also prove that the way people work and what they achieve is directly dependent on how they feel at work. Accordingly, companies are making more and more efforts to improve the well-being of their employees. This trend is most noticeable in the US, where 52% of workers have access to such programs, and in Europe – 24 % (Global Wellness Institute data).
How is the topic of well-being in the workplace understood and applied in Bulgaria? It is precisely this question that the conducted survey answers. According to the results, well-being is accurately perceived as a concept and is understood in terms of its various aspects – the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of employees. It is understood mostly as a sense of meaning, belonging and contribution, as well as building a working environment of trust, support and openness. This is in contrast to the practices that are implemented in actuality to improve well-being. In theory, good understanding exists, but organizations do not cover the subject in its entirety with their programs. Activities aimed at improving well-being are mainly in connection to additional social packages and benefits offered to employees, rather than to a comprehensive concept linked to organizational culture. For welfare aspects, the exact efforts and activities are mainly aimed at improving employees’ physical state, intellectual development remains in the background, and in terms of spiritual growth there is no set purpose.
The study also shows that employee’s well-being is becoming an increasingly important topic for Bulgarian managers and human resources management experts. Almost half of respondents (44%) confirm the necessity of identifying different aspects of employee’s needs and this needs to be effectively managed.
62% measure and monitor the well-being of their employees, but only 22% have developed special assessment tools. More and more companies are implementing or developing employee well-being programs – 61% invest purposefully and allocate funds to implement such programs. At the same time, 50% do not see a link between employee well-being and the implementation of the business strategy and vision of the organization. By comparison, 78% of survey respondents in the United States say that well-being is a key component of their business strategy, and 87% of the companies invest in welfare or plan to do so in the short term. (2017 Workforce State of the Industry: Employee Engagement Survey, Human Capital Media & Virgin Pulse).
Among the findings of the survey conducted in Bulgaria stands out the fact that more than half of the companies (55%) do not know what this is and / or do not evaluate the effect of the programs they apply. The timeliness of the question of whether the programs are effective and tailored to the needs of employees is also confirmed by the fact that only in a very small number of organizations employees actually take advantage of the opportunities offered. Only 22% say that more than 80 employees benefit from the proposed welfare programs. These companies are mainly in the IT sector.
More details and results from the study of the Bulgarian Association of People Management (BAPM), denkstatt Bulgaria and Eudamonia Solutions can be found in the attached report (only in Bulgarian).