International Day of Happiness falls on Monday 20th March, and this year the theme is “Be mindful. Be grateful. Be kind”.
The UN first established this day in 2012. However, the UN started its happiness mission in 2011, aiming to create “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and wellbeing of all peoples”.
Here at Sodexo Engage, we give much attention to workplace happiness and equity. Through our Social Value Pledge, we’re committed to leading the way in improving the quality of life for society and our planet focusing on four social impact pathways: People, Planet, Places, and Partners.
Since we produce our content as a resource for HR professionals, we will explore how this year's International Day of Happiness theme applies to the workplace.
The phrase ‘be mindful of’ is part of most people’s vocabulary and acts as both a piece of advice and a warning.
For example, a manager may say, “Please chase up with the art department for the creative assets. However, please be mindful that they’re short-staffed at the moment.”
The undertone of this statement is that although the employee has a legitimate need to follow up on a work request, they ought to go about it with consideration and an awareness of the art department's struggles. In other words, don’t go in all guns blazing!
Communication between teams, managers, and leaders is essential for mindfulness to be successfully practised. If specific business areas don’t see what’s happening outside their teams, they won’t have this much-needed awareness.
Collaboration is vital, with each team and department remembering that they all contribute towards the same business goals, and working in siloes should be discouraged.
Every successful people strategy strongly focuses on gratitude, which, in the HR industry, forms your reward and recognition programme.
Employees are more engaged and motivated when their work is recognised and they’re thanked for their efforts. Gratitude can be expressed in words during team meetings and one-on-ones or recognised by the wider business through a recognition platform.
Here at Sodexo Engage, we encourage every employee to recognise the achievements of their colleagues, boosting their day with a message of thanks or by nominating their efforts for reward.
There are many ways to build meaningful support into employee rewards, including eVouchers and Giftcards, which employees can redeem at over 100 retailers. Your people can treat themselves to something special or use their reward towards their everyday living.
More than Reward
As part of our research for our new eBook, The Mountain of Lost Benefits: Making Benefits Matter, 61% of our employee respondents said they want their workplace to help them more with the cost-of-living crisis.
There’s no need to limit your expression of gratitude to rewards. Show your employees your appreciation every day by supporting them through the cost-of-living crisis.
By embedding financial wellbeing benefits into your people strategy, you can help stretch your employees’ salaries further.
Our Household Support Card gives employees a chance to earn up to 15% cashback every time they use it in-store or online at participating retailers.
Our Employee Discounts Platform gives instant savings on vouchers from your people’s favourite high-end and high street brands.
You can also show your workforce how much you appreciate them by caring for their mental wellbeing. Our Employee Assistance Programme comes with access to BCAP-accredited counsellors, 24/7, 365 days a year, giving your people somewhere to turn whenever and wherever they need it.
You can boost their physical wellbeing, too, with a Corporate Gym Membership and a Cycle to Work scheme. Many Brits (42%) struggling to meet the rising cost of their household bills have given up their gym memberships to save money.
We dedicated a blog to embedding kindness in the workplace in 2022, highlighting four ways kindness positively impacts mental wellbeing, as listed below:
It increases positive wellbeing and state of mind
It improves self-esteem
It provides a sense of belonging and stronger social connections with others
It gives us a more empathetic and optimistic mindset.
Gratitude, mindfulness, and kindness are intrinsically connected, creating a positive workplace culture. This culture then links to employee experience, engagement, and motivation.
Living the theme: Social Value
Cement the message further. Solidify your social value credentials by supporting the people within your community.
Here at Sodexo Engage, we run several initiatives that support our local community, from mentoring schemes to fundraising, sponsorship, and partnerships.
Be Mindful: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
We take every opportunity to enhance our culture and embed diversity, equity, and inclusion into our working practices. This includes bringing in external speakers to champion the need for LGBT+ allies in the workplace and beyond.
For International Women’s Day, we welcomed Jude Jennison, founder of Leaders By Nature, to talk our employees through her OPUS methodology - the 12 ‘hidden dynamics’ of leadership - and how to use it to embed equity into everyday working practises.
Be Grateful: Fundraising
One way of expressing gratitude is acknowledging what we have and helping those who aren’t as comfortable. Our employees understand that there are those within our community who need our support. They frequently come together to fundraise for the local charities that align with our Sodexo Stop Hunger Charity of Food Aid and Beyond Food Aid Goals, including MK Foodbank and MK ACT, a charity in Milton Keynes which works with over 100 families’ every day to help them move on from fear and abuse.
Be Kind: Volunteering
Sodexo Engage employees get three paid volunteering days annually. Whilst people can select their preferred charity, our business organises the opportunity to support MK Foodbank as part of our Stop Hunger Foundation commitments.
The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation empowers its employees around the world to join forces, engage their teams and fight hunger in their local communities.
In October 2022, 30 Sodexo Engage employees contributed 105 business hours to volunteering at MK Foodbank, a charity providing emergency food parcels to families in need in Milton Keynes.
Build A Culture of Happiness with Sodexo Engage
Contact one of our engagement experts for more information on how you can boost employee engagement through an effective reward and recognition strategy and an inclusive end-to-end wellbeing benefits package.
With an abundance of solutions to offer, and over 60 years of experience, Sodexo Engage will be your partner as you take these crucial steps to help your employees.