No. 4 of: 8 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement
Wellness as an engagement tool is based on the simple premise that if you feel better in work, you’re likely to perform better.
In the past, feeling well was left solely to the employee to manage. However, more and more the expectation is that the company can facilitate if not proactively improve wellness in their employees.
And it makes financial sense for a company to help improve their workers wellbeing. According to research by Tower Watson, a healthy and happy workforce can reduce costs by more than $1,600 per employee, with reduced leave days caused by disability or unplanned sickness.
Workplace health and well-being programs not only have a positive impact on employees’ wellness, they can also lead to a significant increase in engagement, cohesiveness and overall productivity.
Workplace wellbeing can be divided in to 3 main strands - physical health, emotional health and financial wellness. Here below are some examples of initiatives your company can take to improve wellbeing in each-
Physical Wellness Initiatives
Physical health is the most obvious, covering both prevention and cure. Initiatives include-
- Bike-to-work scheme
- Subsidised gym membership / on-site gyms
- On-site shower facilities
- Healthy food in canteen
- Free healthy snacks
- Nutrition advise
- Wearable fitness trackers as rewards
- Quit smoking sessions
- Company sporting events, like the PWC Staff Relay (http://www.staffrelayseries.com)
- At work medical screening
- Free Winter flu vaccinations
- Lunchtime walks or runs
- Company sports clubs
Emotional Wellness Initiatives
Emotional wellbeing deals with stress, anxiety and more complex mental health issues. But increasingly it focuses on the positives such as building mental resilience and using mindfulness as a management tool. Initiatives include-
- Ergonomic office design
- Mindfulness training
- Emotional Intelligence training
- Relaxation / quiet rooms
- Mental health talks
- Stress management classes
- Emotional resilience training
- Better sleep advice
- Retirement coaching
- Peer recognition programmes
- Corporate Social Responsibility programmes
Financial Wellness Initiatives
Financial wellness as part of a wellbeing strategy is the newest, but fastest growing, wellness area. Worries about money can have a powerful negative impact on both physical and emotional health. Financial wellness initiatives include-
- Health insurance expert advice
- Pension expert advice
- Car, health & house insurance group schemes
- Financial education
- Financial planning training
- Expert tax advice
- Corporate discounts scheme
- Tax-free bonuses (Small Benefit Scheme)
It can sometimes be confusing for companies to know how to formulate an overall wellness strategy. Fortunately, there are lots of new products and services being launched that can help. For example, Irish start-up, Peptalk (http://www.peptalk.ie/) both designs corporate wellness programmes and offers a wellness app to help manage the programme.
In almost all cases, some outside help is useful, at least to get started, and it is important that employees are involved in the development of any programme – after all, the success of any wellness initiatives will be determined by employee engagement with it.
Even though wellness can be a dauntingly broad subject for companies to grapple with, the obvious benefits in terms of employee engagement and productivity gains, means it is worth the effort to figure out.
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