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What is the Role of the CHRO in Improving Employee Wellbeing?

Source | | Caroline Styr

Recently, on the Digital HR Leaders podcast, we were fortunate enough to be joined by two fantastic leaders – Arianna Huffington, Global Founder and CEO of Thrive Global and Donna Morris, CHRO at Walmart. David, Arianna and Donna discussed 

  • How the role of the Chief People Officer has changed since the beginning of the pandemic

  • What the impact of these increased expectations has had on Chief People Officers themselves

  • The lessons in workforce agility Walmart has learned from hiring over 500,000 associates so far in the crisis and how they will carry these learnings forward

  • How to adopt the mindset to find opportunity in ambiguity and why it is important that Leaders set the tone

  • What HR can do in 2021 and beyond, to capture more value for the business

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In this blog, we’re going to take a closer look at one topic that was top of mind throughout the episode: employee wellbeing. We’ll look at:
  1. Why wellbeing should be a company priority

  2. Problematic corporate cultures that promote hard work over health

  3. Technology’s emerging role in understanding workplace wellbeing

  4. How to take ‘microsteps’ to tackle cumulative stress

  5. The role of the CHRO in supporting employee wellbeing

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The ‘happy worker–productive worker’ theory dates back nearly a century. It posits that employees high in well-being also perform well, and vice versa.

At Walmart, the ‘happy worker-productive worker’ theory seems to be working. “I can tell you the retention rate of talent across Walmart is right now, extremely strong. Why? Because people know we care. They know that it is not just what they are doing, it is how they are doing it. And they know that the organisation is focused on the associate experience. I believe that one of the biggest, I will call it returns on investment, is reinforcing the importance of people to your organisation,” says Donna.  

The business case for employee wellbeing is clear, with prolific research demonstrating the correlation between wellbeing and performance. One meta-analysis demonstrated not only the correlation between the two, but that it does not matter which level you provide employees with resources to address wellbeing – the individual level, group level, leader level or organisational level. In other words, whatever organisations can do to address employee wellbeing, they should do.

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