Unlocking the Power of a Caring Company – The Path to Improving Employee Wellness
How you need to Implement a Wellness Programme to improve employee productivity and healthy working environment
Given the high-levels of stress among UK employees, organisations are introducing wellbeing initiatives to support the physical and mental health of employees at work. Nearly half (48 per cent) of businesses offer tools designed to promote wellbeing in the workplace, with one in seven providing stress management seminars or training and annual leave for personal and mental wellbeing.
Health and wellbeing programmes provide so many company-wide benefits; it’s a wonder why more businesses aren’t on board. They solve numerous common problems that harm the efficiency and financial standing of a business.
Ruth Lea, of the Institute of Directors view is that “’People should really get things in perspective, most people are comfortable at work and often stress is just part and parcel of a job. “There may be people who are too stressed, but this can be addressed. It is usually a sign of bad management which can be changed.”
The British ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude often prevents people admitting how awful their workplace is, undiagnosed anxiety conditions now cause more absences from work than traditional complaints such as backache, hangovers and stomach trouble.
‘Starting a wellbeing programme may come at a cost but health and happiness go hand-in-hand,’ explains Mike Lawrence Stress Management Expert, Coach & Integrative Therapist
Stress in the UK Workplace
- 73% of UK employees suffer from work-related stress (Vitality and Cambridge University 2017)
- 29% of employees in the UK are unhappy (Investors in People Wellbeing at Work Study 2014)
- Incompetent bosses causing stressed-out British workforce (Chartered Management Institute CMI 2011)
- Four in 10 workers feel their manager's behaviour increases their stress levels (Chartered Management Institute CMI 2011)
- 42% of women believe they are too stressed, compared to 36% of men (Forth 2018)
The benefits of wellbeing programmes include:
motivation and productivity
Ongoing support helps staff work through personal or work-related difficulties and maintain productivity in a healthy way. They’ll feel motivated to commit more energy to work.
Higher staff retention
Workers who feel supported will want to keep working for you. This means you retain talented people and lower recruitment and training costs.
Reduced sickness absence
Staff will face fewer physical or mental health ailments that require time off.
Builds Employee Community
Presenteeism is when staff come to work despite not being in the best physical or mental health, which causes them to perform below standard. According to research, presenteeism costs one and a half times more than absenteeism because it causes accidents, underperformance, and mistakes. Jobs often need completing twice or staff have to take more time off than they originally would have.
In 2016/17, Britain lost an estimated £14.9 billion due to work-related injuries and ill-health. Mental health issues cost workplaces an estimated £26 billion per year, equivalent to £1,035 per employee. Research shows that spending as little as 80p on health promotion strategies can save around £4 of absenteeism, presenteeism, and temporary staff costs.
Higher job satisfaction
Staff who feel appreciated at work gain more satisfaction from working. According to a workplace survey, 80% of people said that better wellbeing benefits would make them feel more positive towards their employer. 1 in 10 said that something as simple as complimentary fresh fruit would improve job satisfaction.
Word gets around fast about companies that don’t treat their staff right, and this can put off applicants and customers. That’s why it’s within your best interest to build your reputation as a company that respects and supports people. It gives you a competitive edge and attracts talent.
Group activities that involve health and wellbeing will get you connected not only more to your company, but to your fellow colleagues as well. You’ll start to form relationships that haven’t been available to you before because having a wellness program in place engages all members collectively from all departments of the company. That being said, everyone will benefit from the shared knowledge and experiences and your social health will thrive.
What is a Corporate Wellness Programme
A Corporate Wellness programme involves investing time and resources in supporting employees’ physical and mental health. You introduce various health plans and benefits that give workers the opportunity to maintain or improve their health while at work and beyond.
Programmes offered range from a collection of small, positive initiatives to one or two broader enterprises. They will help staff positively manage or overcome major wellbeing challenges, which makes them feel more valued by the company and invested in their work.
Implementing a workplace health and wellbeing programme is a long-term commitment. It only benefits the business if you assess which wellbeing programmes suit people best and you oversee the performance of each over time. Therefore, it involves a great deal of planning and dedication, especially from senior staff.
This level of commitment shows workers that the company-wide culture is to support people’s wellbeing, which speaks volumes about how the business is a rewarding place to work. Few workplaces ever aspire to this standard, perhaps because they don’t see any mutual benefit, but they fail to realise just how many benefits they lose out on by not doing more to look after their staff.
What Does BETTER WELLNESS in the Workplace Look-Like?
A framework of measures for employers and employees which will identify and prevent problems of work-related stress and help to manage them when they do arise.
Create healthy employee solutions well communicated that become an intrinsic part of the culture of the company.
Make the intangible priorities, workplace intangibles, whether it’s honest communication, creating a “vibe” of caring and teamwork, or ensuring workers are intellectually stimulated or free from harassment, are all important components in driving perceptions of on-the-job wellness. And companies that seize the most important intangibles will increase profitability through greater productivity, employee motivation, and less turnover.
Create better bosses. I work with your senior management team to improve the social engagements with your employees and all key stakeholders. People (desperately) want managers and leaders that model positive behaviour. Walk the talk. Communicate openly and honestly and help employees feel valued – and if you want them to be “well” and make lifestyle changes, executives and managers need to start and lead the movement
Working in a company that cares is easier than management may think. And if “caring” and intangible workplace wellness components (whether encouraging friendships or honest communication at work) may seem “soft,” we’ve seen that they have a very “hard” impact on employee health, engagement and productivity – i.e., a company’s bottom-line. And much of what constitutes company “caring” has very little to do with current “add on” wellness programs, which are never a panacea for (or vaccine against) an unhealthy work culture or an unwell workforce.
The relationship between companies and employees, managers and those they manage, is a human relationship, and caring human relationships, of course, involve personalised attention, empathy, respect and flexibility – and great listening and communication. Companies need to reorient their wellness strategies around what employees report best represents corporate caring to them, what has the biggest impact on their overall wellness – paying attention to how this differs across generations.
Occupational fulfilment is a critical part of human wellness. And when employees perceive that they’re cared for, they are happier, healthier and better employees.