HR 5.0 thinks about employee well-being

In Mexico, 64% of companies pointed out that before Covid-19, and boosted further during the pandemic, they offered some activities for employee well-being, such as flexible time to improve productivity, according to the 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends.

Today this figure takes on other dimensions because it turns out that this pandemic has left us with an important lesson: understanding that the boundary between work and our personal life is blurred.

This has to be a call for HR, it already was a few years ago when talks began about putting the employee at the centre of the equation, as well as more recently with the implementation of the Official Mexican Standard (035) focused on preventing work-related stress in employees.

Today however, the idea of working on actions favouring well-being –as a person and in the work environment – is not optional. Not in the current context of rising demands for work and economic recovery, and in which working hours do not include digital disconnection and the loss of autonomy due to lockdown, while increasing anxiety in people.


How is HR 5.0 envisaged?

At the first instance, as an area that helps create a non-perfectionist work environment and where it’s okay to get it wrong. Traditionally, leadership styles often focus on punishing mistakes, discouraging employees who want to put forward proposals. Yet the pandemic advocates questioning the HR role from another angle, for example, by asking, how do I help employees to become fulfilled?

I heard this perspective from Maria Salanova, an expert in positive organizational psychology at Jaume I University, and it makes complete sense to me.

For a well-being approach at work to function, one of the most basic keys, which isn’t easy to achieve, is to train managers to encourage employees to rediscover their purpose at the workplace.

The point is to help the person answer the question: “Of what I do in the company, what helps me to transcend?” With this clear in mind, the level of retention increases and thus helps employees to renew their sense of belonging to the job, or not.

In Latin America, there are no conclusive numbers on the correlation between employee well-being and productivity. However, the North American Employee Assistance Professionals Association, estimates that unhappy employees account for an average cost of $13 billion annually.

Salanova, through her research and model for ‘hero’ companies—that promotes well-being through resilience, recognition, positive communication, among other factors—indicates that for every dollar invested in the health promotion program there is a return of $3.27.

The happiest people are more secure and more socially attractive and cooperative in a team, as she pointed out in her research on Healthy and Resilient Organizations. As HR, take stock and estimate whether it is worth promoting welfare actions, or not.



To talk about a positive HR style, focused on creating scenarios for employee happiness is not easy, because this proposition for work is perceived as somewhat esoteric and linked self-esteem issues. However, there are several approaches, with practices applied to companies, that help with implementing a model focused on well-being. Here are some suggestions:

  • Use tools like positive psychology, an approach through which happiness is scientifically studied and oriented to building qualities such as optimism, work ethic, ability to enjoy and social responsibility in people.
  • Proactive resilience needs to be fostered, i.e., building the ability and tools for the person to keep on working well in adverse situations, and not just knowing how to react to an event.
  • Focus on need, and ask what does your team require? The human being needs a salary, but also especially nowadays to receive comments like, “You’re doing very well.” Such feedback generates well-being and an eagerness to work.
  • Another basic task is to understand what motivates and drives the employee in the long-term, and to spot activities where the collaborator gets ‘a bit more ‘ of what makes him feel satisfied.
  • Propose a 3-minute plan, for instance, three minutes of mindfulness to keep concentration on the present. to employees.

There is a duty to understand the person without losing sight of how he is a human being who contributes to the progress of the business. The pandemic, in this sense, is the point in the journey at which we can do a reboot process. Are you ready to work on the 5.0 version of yourself?

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