06 Nov 2023

The five most crucial parameters for employee well-being

Employee well-being is high on the list of factors that support employee retention. But how do you best ensure happy and satisfied employees? We will share our five most important parameters.


The coronavirus crisis and a red-hot labor market have put employee well-being more in focus than ever before. The battle for the best talent is tough, which is why it is important to ensure the well-being of your employees, both in the short term and especially in the long term. This is the message from our HR expert Mette Nørlem:


"There has been a change in the way we approach our working lives. We have a greater focus on our own needs, wishes and well-being. We are in a place where 'the good life' means more than just sticking with the job you have if you are not satisfied with it. We place more demands on our employer."


As an employer, it can be difficult to crack the code to score top marks in employee well-being. So here is Mette Nørlem’s view on what can take you all the way to the top and give you a decisive head start as a workplace.



1) Preboarding and onboarding

Get your new employees on board – otherwise, it will be a brief and expensive story for both parties. A good onboarding process can determine the outcome of a new labor marriage because many employees have already decided whether they can see a future in the company at this stage.


Preboarding is also gaining in popularity in the fight for good employees. Preboarding is about maintaining the employee’s motivation from the time the contract is signed until the first working day. According to Mette Nørlem, this is the window in which an (upcoming) employee is most motivated.


Therefore, there are several good reasons for prioritizing both preboarding and onboarding. Just check the numbers below.

86% of new hires decide to stay or leave an organization within the first six months.

60% believe that the company’s preparations before the start of the job are inadequate or non-existent.

88% want to learn more about the workplace before they start.

"It’s about the employee’s basic feeling: Is the workplace ready to meet me? Do I feel wanted? It’s a gut feeling that forms incredibly quickly. Therefore, the workplace must be able to deliver professionalism in their onboarding process," says Nørlem.



Three tips for your onboarding plan


  1. Preboarding: Keep up the motivation. Send your future employee a video greeting, introduce your values or hold a Teams meeting to introduce the department.

  2. The first days of employment: Keep track of the practicalities and make a plan. Who introduces the employee to the systems? Who will bring the employee to lunch?

  3. After the first days of employment: Make a plan for the employee’s training so there will be no doubt about which tasks are first.



2) Growth in the job and the feeling of mastery

The ability to grow in the job has always been a highly weighted parameter in employee well-being. In a job survey from AS3, 31 % responded that they have changed jobs due to a greater desire for growth.


So it’s not necessarily a question of salary increases and promotions; it is as much about exciting tasks, good briefing on tasks, master classes from wise colleagues, and independence in the job.


Development and mastery of the job are precisely the parameters that provide great job satisfaction, according to Mette Nørlem.


"We love the feeling of being good at our job. But employees must be equipped to master the position they are employed for. They need to be supported in new tasks and challenges to have successful experiences and thereby feel that they are developing and becoming more skilled."



3) Flexible working conditions

Working from home and flexibility have become inevitable, especially after corona, and many employees value them highly, as shown in a Danish candidate analysis from Ballisager.


Flexibility has become a hygiene factor that many employees consider a condition of employment.


"Flexibility should support your employee’s needs as much as possible. As a workplace, it is your responsibility to provide the framework for your employees to create a good life with flexible choices, including outside working hours," says Nørlem.



4) Participation and meaning/purpose

Being heard and having influence are becoming more and more important. According to Ballisager’s Candidate Analysis, there is a clear correlation between job satisfaction and self-determination: The more self-determination and participation you have, the more satisfied you are. Participation does not mean that all employees must be heard on all decisions throughout the organization. It can be as simple as self-determination of working methods.


Nørlem notes that employee well-being also depends on whether there is meaning in what we do.


"Meaning is the keyword. It’s individual and something we create in ourselves. You may not work in the most sustainable company, but do you make a difference in another way? If you sell toilet paper, you’re doing an important job. It is meaningful when we can see that we occupy an important position; from there we can talk about high employee well-being.”



5) Recognition and feedback

When was the last time you praised your employees? Recognition and feedback keep employees in the workplace; it doesn't have to be balloons and department cakes every time. The most important thing is to remember to do it because it means a lot to most employees to feel seen.


"I basically don't think recognition can be overestimated, but it must always be honest and sincere. In many ways, it is silly that managers often forget feedback when those who are praised for doing a good job are usually more willing to go the extra mile," explains Nørlem, continuing:


"We love positive feedback and recognition, but we also want to know if we can do something better - to learn new things and to know that the feedback is genuine. It is exactly this continuous feedback that increases employee well-being."



How to get properly started with feedback


  1. It is crucial that managers are role models. They must lead the way, take the initiative and practice feedback themselves.

  2. Feedback goes both ways. Start by getting your employee to give you feedback.

  3. Don't make it harder than it is. Feedback can be incredibly easy and fast: A high-five in the hallway, a comment by the coffee machine or a like on LinkedIn. Make it a natural part of the culture.



Be inspired by better feedback processes - read articles and download webinar recording


Feedback culture strengthens your business


5 tips for receving feedback


10 tips on how to provide valauble feedback



Learn how to create a healthy feedback culture that promotes employee and company growth, how to lead as a manager, which tools you can use, and how the Emply system supports a good feedback culture in your company.



Download webinar recording






All Aboard: Effective Onboarding Techniques and Strategies, Aberdeen Group, 2008
The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels; Dr. Michael D. Watkins, 2013


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