We hear so much about Workplace Wellness, how can a programme benefit employee health and productivity?
The World Health Association defines Health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Employees are an integral part of a business therefore investing in their health and wellbeing can have a positive financial return. For a business this can be represented in increased productivity through reduced absenteeism, improved team cohesiveness, employee retention and reduced presenteesim. Providing employees opportunities to improve their health can increase employee job satisfaction through feeling valued and supported which can also increase recruitment prospects.
What are some of the identifying factors that a company may be able to identify that would trigger them seeking advice on a wellness programme?
-High level of sick leave recorded
-High level of stress reported
-Increased injuries (workplace or non-workplace)
-Low employee retention rates
Do you believe a company can measure a return on a wellness programme and what would that look like?
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Accurate and credible evaluation of your wellness programme initiatives is crucial in order to quantify the benefits of the wellness programme to your company and measure return on investment.
Understanding the key drivers of your organisation will assist you to choose improvement priorities or outcomes that are important to your organisation. For example, it could be customer satisfaction and/or corporate social responsibility (e.g. banking industry); it could be to reduce the burden of absenteeism (e.g. manufacturing and blue collar); it could be innovation and retention of key staff (e.g. Government funded research agencies); improve morale and team work (e.g. retail); increase staff engagement and reduce presenteesim (e.g. call center environments).
Keep in mind data and markers of progress such as; attendance, weight loss, fitness and self-rated improvements in energy take time. Therefore a successful wellness strategy takes time to be effective. Once the appropriate data has been collected, repeat the measure to calculate the return.
How can a company introduce a policy or programme with a few simple steps?
There are key elements of a successful program.
-Management Participation: They need also to be seen getting on board and involved.
-Develop an internal Wellness Committee (or individual “champion”): who will drive the program and rally staff.
-Identify the key drivers and then needs of an organisation. You can use an employee interest survey and health risk assessment (confidential).
-Develop a clear plan to address these areas of health from the start to ensure the program has momentum and continues to engage staff.
-Outsource: Depending on the needs and budget of an organisation consider outsourcing support and expertise.
-Marketing and branding: Positive, fun and engaging communication (e.g. presentation from wellness provider) to introduce the program or policies. This gives employees the opportunity to raise concerns and develop an understanding of the benefits within the workplace.