I have a question: how healthy is your business right now? You might be tempted to answer me by talking about profits, losses, pipeline, market challenges and opportunities. If you don’t include the health and wellbeing of your employees in that list then it perhaps it is time to consider an employee wellness programme (or review your existing one).
Let’s make no bones about it, the individual health of your employees and your business health are inextricably linked. Ignore the link and you will suffer. Alternatively, explore the link, identify a cohesive wellness programme that suits your business, and you will reap the benefits.
An employee wellness programme is a suite of offerings that will support your employees’ physical and mental health. It will do this by
- Helping them to adopt positive behaviours
- Reduce health risks
- Enhance their productivity
- Impacting positively on your bottom-line
Ultimately it should be addressing both prevention and cure of health issues, but we will come on to that shortly.
If you can successfully deal with sickness absence in your organisation you will save a lot of money. Preventing absence is obviously a good starting point. When sickness does occur, providing the right support to the absent individual as well as the team that picks up their work as a result, is also important to prevent any knock-on effects.
When employee wellbeing is ignored, this can lead to costly legal situations, so again it is all about being proactive and preventative.
Attract and retain
If you want to attract the best candidates to your business, you need to be offering them more than just a job. A programme that gives them opportunities to bring balance and improvement to their lifestyles will not only appeal to many jobseekers, but it will do much to retain them once they join you.
A happy workforce is undoubtedly a productive one. If you are supporting your employees’ physical and mental health they will function far more effectively. It is also possible to build your employee wellness offering into your overall reward package. For many people reward isn’t just about money, and they actually place more value on the softer benefits that a programme can offer.
The CIPD have identified five domains of wellbeing that should be considered by any organisation, large or small:
- Health – physical and mental
- Work – environment, pay, management style, work/life balance
- Values – leadership, corporate responsibility, diversity
- Social – collaboration, relationships
- Personal Growth – career, emotional, creativity, learning
Within our society we know that some of the current key health concerns are around obesity, musculoskeletal issues, drug and alcohol addiction. Mental health awareness is finally being given a platform and for good reason. Stress-related illnesses can, and will, occur indiscriminately. There are other less obvious considerations such as the increase in personal debt, and the pressure to care for other family members (young and old).
You will have an understanding of the factors in your organisation that can impact on health and this will shape your decisions on what to include in a wellness programme. Some examples include employee health screening, access to occupational health officers and physio, subsidised gym membership, free fresh fruit on site, season ticket loans, cycle to work schemes, sleep awareness schemes and medical/dental insurance.
A good starting point would be to look at your absence data and see if there are any patterns. Identify where the help is needed most. In addition, any wellness programme must be aligned with your overall business goals and strategy.
Senior management buy-in is essential. Line management can have a dramatic impact on employee wellbeing and it is the common denominator that runs through each of those 5 domains mentioned above, so the leadership of your organisation need to be engaged.
It may be pertinent to seek employee input when designing your programme – what would appeal to them and what would make a tangible difference to them?
Finally, you will need to report on measured outcomes. Before you launch, decide what success will look like and how you can measure that. If you do this from the beginning, it will be easy to demonstrate the benefits of the programme as well as continually review and renew the offering.
There are many employee wellness packages you can purchase for your organisation and I can work with you to identify which ones will be best suited to your needs. We can schedule a rollout as well as help you the measure the benefits.