How to promote employee health and wellbeing

Julien Saadi

Employee health and wellbeing has become a key focus for many organisations. Ineffectively managing staff wellness can have serious cost and engagement implications for organisations.

Health and wellbeing issues could motivate employees to start looking for a new job, take more time off work and perform poorly. In contrast, lower turnover rates and increased productivity are just some of the benefits to be gained from implementing such a workplace wellness programme.

But how does an organisation go about implementing a successful wellness programme? And what exactly do employees want and expect from their employer when it comes to health and wellbeing? Here are four things to keep in mind when you're investigating initiatives. 

1. Find out what are your employees' basic needs

Time and time again, scientific studies have shown that the cost of not having a workplace wellness programme is greater than the cost of implementing one. Budget and insufficient management support usually being the top reasons for not offering a workplace wellness programme, organisation leaders must remember that implementing a wellness strategy needn’t necessarily include extravagant initiatives such as an on-site gym – employees highly value more practicable initiatives such as:

  • Flexible work options
  • Ergonomic/flexible work stations
  • Generous leave policies
  • Healthy eating programme
  • Exercise classes

2. Get the whole organisation involved

Monitoring staff wellbeing could be regarded as something you would leave up to HR. But for initiatives to be impactful, it is important for employees to see their senior leaders play an active role in them. In addition, organisations should also give employees the chance to help drive the workplace wellness programme. This could be achieved by creating an employee group who is passionate about the subject or by giving all employees the chance to be involved at various stages of the programme, from offering suggestions and implementing the initiatives, through to hosting feedback discussion groups.

3. Monitor what works best

For a workplace wellness programme to be successful, team leaders and senior managers must regularly review initiatives to ensure that they are being properly utilised, and seek input from their employees, through one-on-one contacts, into which initiatives are valued and which are not. This will allow managers to adapt their organisation’s wellness initiatives and working environment to help make their team members feel more supported.

Discovering issues that may be causing frustration amongst your team could be an important preventative measure towards retaining those who are on the cusp of making a move.

“More and more we are finding that top candidates are really looking for an employer that can offer them something more – that extra 10% that other organisations won’t. For these candidates, an organisation that is committed to health and wellbeing will always be attractive.”

4. Implement the initiatives in your talent and retention strategy

When considering new job opportunities, professionals today are motivated by a wide range of factors other than remuneration.

Organisations who promote their workplace wellness program during the recruitment process will differentiate themselves from other employers and attract and retain top talent.

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