Computing the monetary benefits of having healthy employees is challenging at best. There is no reliable accounting for it, and it is mostly open for interpretation. However, a study by the Centre for Mental Health clearly shows the costs of poor mental health to UK business organisations, as follows:
- £26 billion worth of productivity.
- Almost 10 million working days.
Unfortunately, companies can’t quantify their employees’ psychology. Organisations have yet to find a way of translating a person’s performance into their spreadsheets.
How can well-being programmes attract the best talent?
Businesses should now include taking care of their employees as part of their package in attracting recruits. While they consider acquiring and treating their best people as a strategic move, they should also consider their well-being programmes as a means to reduce the costs incurred by the departure of employees.
Such programmes can also reduce the workday losses caused by sickness or health issues. A UK human resource body reported that stress, anxiety and burnout are costing the UK economy an annual £137 million in a workday loss.
- Establish a culture of well-being
A well-being programme should include the physical, mental and emotional health of an employee. Employees, particularly younger ones, will love these programmes. A USA Today article even found out that millennials would gladly trade high pay for their happiness. The article stated that people between the ages of 25 to 35 are willing to change their job for one that can provide career development or a healthy work-life balance. Millennial employees are more health-conscious than previous generations and almost 75 per cent of them exercise at least once a week while 95 per cent care for their health.
Millennials, as a workforce, will most likely take advantage of and even demand wellness programmes from their employers. They will also encounter various stressful situations, such as worrying about student loans. Companies can appeal to these recruits by offering a holistic well-being programme, which should include fitness and nutrition guidelines in order to guarantee its appeal to this millennial workforce.
- Make your wellness programme convenient
Many workforces are used to receiving information quickly. You can make your programme the same. Companies should consider using apps to help employees monitor their fitness goals. They can also access their well-being programme using a smartphone or tablet. With these kinds of convenient options, staff will be more likely to participate in the company’s wellness initiative.
Another way to make it easier for staff to participate is by providing health screening and flu jabs. Employees will appreciate such gestures since it saves them time and money. Also, proactive approaches can reduce sick leave. In addition to creating a positive return on investment (ROI), it will cultivate loyalty and dedication among staff.
- Engage staff at work
In addition to making employees healthy, this investment can also reduce the likelihood of good talent leaving the company. Consider making your programmes engaging, at the same time helping people to achieve their healthy lifestyle goals. Here are some ways in which to engage staff:
- Encourage employees to volunteer in the community or participate in sports competitions.
- Provide a gym or community garden on site.
- Introduce healthy snacks and meals in the company’s canteen.
- Organise meetings or offer resources relating to how to make healthy lifestyle choices.
In the UK, health and safety officers value the importance of employee well-being. Here are a few suggestions on how it can be implemented:
- Offer extended lunch breaks once a week.
- Consult with staff and ask for feedback regarding the well-being programme.
- Encourage staff to use the full lunch hour break.
- Encourage staff to have eight hours’ sleep a night.
- Allow staff to take advantage of annual holidays.
- Encourage physical activity, for example, sport.
- Monitor signs of mental stress or illness.
In addition, employers can present a behavioural-based safety system for work or play within and outside the company. For example, you can encourage mindfulness at work or provide incentives for daily exercise.
A real-life example:
In the UK, in 2013, a housing company introduced a well-being programme for its staff. In less than a year, sick leave had been reduced by more than 50 per cent and financial savings for the organisation were estimated at £25,000 for that first year. The company continued to save money in subsequent years. Management also noticed that customer satisfaction went up to by 90 per cent.
Investing in employees’ well-being will improve company finances and profitability
Experts believe that the business model of short-term profit and quick ROI is bound to fail. Only a few people will reap most of the rewards and the majority, including the company’s rank and file, will suffer from:
- Low wages.
- Job insecurity.
- Unsafe working conditions.
Companies should therefore consider their employees as long-term investments. If employees get sick or burn out and leave, employers will need to reinvest in finding and retraining the new ones.
Businesses should be aware that well-being programmes don’t have to be expensive. However, they will require commitment and clear communication with the workforce. Employers can provide healthy food and physical activities on site.
Meanwhile, employees can obtain information on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle outside work. In return, the company is rewarded with higher productivity per employee and fewer absences or replacements.