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Well-being works: Working on (mental) well-being…

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Well-being works: Working on (mental) well-being at work in a way that works

A 3-year research partnership with bpost, B-Tonic (a subsidiary of Baloise), and Elia, aims to convert the well-intended energy that organizations are currently investing in welfare actions into interventions that actually yield results. This partnership aims to develop and share new interventions and knowledge, with the ultimate goal of improving well-being in the workplace.

The research project is led by Kathleen Vangronsvelt and Eva Geluk.

Type project Research partnership
Project partners Bpost, B-Tonic (dochteronderneming van Baloise), Elia
Duration March 23, 2023 - March 26, 2026
Contact person Eva Geluk

Research on effective well-being interventions

Workplace well-being is a crucial aspect of organizational strategy because it directly impacts employee satisfaction and mood. These factors, in turn, influence performance, productivity, and the sustainability of the relationship between employees and the organization. Active investments in (mental) employee well-being are therefore essential for the success of an organization. However, the vast array of tools, workshops, and interventions makes it difficult to determine which interventions are truly effective in promoting employee well-being and which only incur costs without any impact.

Despite the growing range of interventions aimed at improving workplace well-being, many of these initiatives seem to miss their mark. The number of employees taking time off due to mental health reasons has never been higher. While there are indications of evidence-based interventions in the complex literature on (mental) well-being, these are rarely applied on a large scale. This underscores the need to critically examine the effectiveness of existing interventions and strive for more evidence-based approaches to truly improve workplace well-being.


Focus on strengthening leadership and building a well-being policy

Increasing employee well-being is not a simple task; if it were, every organization would be doing it. While academic literature provides many insights, it is often a challenge to translate these into practical applications.

This 3-year research project aims to provide insight into what does work. We aim to understand the underlying mechanisms, identify the necessary conditions, and emphasize the importance of various stakeholders in promoting workplace well-being.

The research focuses on the question "What makes well-being interventions effective?" with specific attention to the following sub-questions:

1. Strengthening leadership: We acknowledge the crucial role of leaders in preventing absenteeism and promoting employee well-being. However, leaders are not superhumans; we cannot burden them with all the responsibility. How can we empower leaders by providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and interventions to have a positive impact on the well-being of their team members?

2. Building a well-being policy: Significant investment is currently being made in workplace well-being, but it is unclear whether these investments actually yield results. Moreover, what works for one organization may not necessarily be suitable for another. Perspectives on well-being often differ among the organization's top management, HR, prevention, leaders, and employees. How can we develop a well-being policy tailored to the specific needs of the organization, where initiatives complement rather than undermine each other, and which relies on elements known to have a positive impact on employee well-being?

Dissemination of Findings by Phase

The research progresses through various phases; from broad exploration to application in concrete reality, from literature review to developing applications, from reading to focus groups and interviews with leaders, from silently developing knowledge to loudly spreading knowledge.

After each year of research, a dissemination phase follows in which the researchers and their partners share the acquired knowledge with a wide audience.

Register now for the first event "Well-being Works: Results after 1 year of research" on May 27, 2024, at the AMS campus.

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The results we aim to achieve with this research are:

  • Understanding effective methods to improve well-being in the workplace.
  • Identification of ineffective approaches where organizations should not invest resources.
  • A better understanding of the complex factors influencing workplace well-being and which strategies are effective.
  • Insight into the needs of leaders to promote employee well-being.
  • The definition of the responsibilities of leaders regarding employee well-being, including what they can and cannot do.
  • Guidelines for timely interventions, intervening not only when employees are already ill.
  • Clarification of the role of various stakeholders, such as HR, leaders, prevention, and the executive committee, in promoting employee well-being.


Wellbeing leaders

Research results: Quarter of executives would not hire employees with mental health problems

More and more companies are starting to pay attention to the mental health of their employees. Yet almost half (48%) of Belgian executives believe that employees with mental health problems can bring their colleagues down emotionally. Moreover, a quarter of them (24%) would not hire someone with a history of mental health problems.

I'm curious about more insights

Wellbeing works leidinggevenden

Blog: Awareness, Training, and Policy: Three Keys to Mental Health Prevention

In the workplace, mental health is crucial for well-being and productivity. Leaders play a key role in prevention but face challenges such as uncertainty about prevention, lack of support, and time constraints. Important focal points for prevention are awareness, training, and policy, to reduce stigma, recognize early signs of stress, and create a supportive work environment.

I want to know more about prevention

Werkcontext welzijn op het werk werkgever

Blog: How Can Employers Determine What is Truly Effective for Workplace Well-being?

Four domains influence employee well-being: societal context, private context, personality factors, and work context. Employers can primarily influence the work context, which includes energy, essential needs, potential, and reciprocity. This presents opportunities to improve employee well-being by reducing adverse factors and creating stimulating environments.

I want to know how to improve employee well-being

Absenteïsme heading pic

Preliminary Research: What Makes Absenteeism Interventions Work?

The preliminary phase of this research focused on the effectiveness of interventions for return to work after illness, with attention to criteria for successful return and measuring success. Additionally, they examined the role of leaders in absenteeism policies, including strategies for reducing absenteeism and promoting the health and well-being of employees.

Read more about our preliminary research

Learning Network - get a taste of peer learning with our appetizer session

In our exploration in the learning network on well-being, we'll take it a step further on this research and look beyond traditional organizational settings, drawing inspiration from examples like Blue Zones, Malmö's diversity approach, Khan Academy, and Portugal's drug policy. These examples reflect major shifts in the work landscape too. As we navigate these transitions – addressing respectively longevity, mindful AI, addiction, and diversity - our goal is to illuminate workplace well-being.

Join us in deciphering these challenges, extracting insights, and shaping a future where both individuals and workplaces thrive.

AMS Lerend Netwerk wellbeing

Masterclass Well-being Science at Work: The Core of a Good Well-being Strategy

This masterclass delves into the research on the essential elements of well-being in the workplace and supports you in translating them into your work environment. We provide practical insights based on academic research.

What drives the individual? And how can the work environment facilitate or hinder this energy? We also focus on psychological safety and conclude with a look at current and evolving research domains.

AMS OEP Hubspot Wellbeing 1000 x 600


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Geluk Eva web

A question about this project?

Function Researcher Human Centered Design, senior project lead Stress and Burnout
Geluk Eva web

A question about this project?