Many employers already appreciate that an engaged workforce is likely to be a more productive one. However, does this impact upon a person’s overall wellbeing, and vice versa? We’re taking a look at the benefits of a corporate wellbeing strategy and how this can drive and improve employee engagement.
In recent years, it has been well documented that poor health within the workforce can be a significant cost to employers through both increased absenteeism and reduced job performance. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), around 30 million working days are lost in the UK every year due to occupational illness and injury.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement is achieved when a person believes and ‘buys into’ an organisation’s vision, goals and values, and is motivated to contribute to organisational success. Many employers now recognise that they have a direct interest in creating an environment that helps to encourage and improve employee engagement, and one of the many ways they can do this is through improving employee wellbeing.
Why is employee wellbeing important?
Employee wellbeing is an increasingly relevant and necessary consideration in the modern workplace, as it’s a key factor in achieving your company’s current goals and future ambitions. CIPD research published in 2012 suggests that wellbeing is an essential aspect of engagement, and in order to get the best out of people, managers should be adept at helping to manage stress, because high levels of stress can be a key driver in decreasing motivation and undermining employee wellbeing.
Furthermore, having healthy, well-motivated employees who have a balanced level of stress could result in better staff retention rates, lower levels of sickness and higher levels of morale, performance and productivity – all of which assist with creating a positive company image. Employees who believe their employer cares about their wellbeing have been proven to be more engaged at work than the average worker. This is according to the Workplace Wellbeing Charter, a voluntary Government initiative which recognises the positive way in which employers manage their business and support their workforce:
“A healthier workforce makes for a healthier bottom line. As well as making good commercial sense, investing in the health and wellbeing of staff is seen by many as part of your responsibilities as an employer.”
Source: Workplace Wellbeing Charter
Ideas to help boost wellbeing
Wellbeing benefits can be part of a long-term strategy to improve the productivity, engagement and health of staff, and these types of benefits typically include: access to health insurance products or health care cover, emotional support, fitness strategies, and healthy eating.
Whilst there’s no single solution for better workplace wellbeing and engagement, there’s a variety of initiatives that can be used, and below are some creative ideas that you could implement to promote a healthier workforce and to support your most valuable asset – your employees:
1) Stress Busting Sessions
A 15-minute stress busting massage can help to lower the levels of stress amongst your workforce, leaving employees feeling more relaxed and calm. Why not organise for a masseuse to come into your offices and offer your employees a relaxing massage as an alternative to a coffee break?
2) Company Social Committee
Encourage employees to volunteer to arrange social events, to bring together the team on a monthly/quarterly basis. This could include regular social outings to create good team spirit, such as quiz nights or bowling. This way, you can give employees something to look forward to whilst also empowering the social committee volunteers.
3) Health Awareness Day
Employee health and wellbeing is a worthy goal of all modern organisations embracing a culture of corporate social responsibility. You could introduce an annual ‘Health Awareness Day’ including seminars, guest speakers, and activities to get your employees engaged and motivated in order to demonstrate that you care. This could inspire employees to make healthy changes to their lifestyle, resulting in healthier staff.
4) Relaxation Zone
Encourage employees to take ten minutes out of each day to relax by creating a ‘relaxation zone’ in a quiet area of the office. This area could feature relaxing music, books, magazines and comfortable furnishing providing your employees with a real opportunity to relax and take a break from their work. When they return they should feel refreshed and ready to go!
5) Charity Fundraiser Day
Hosting a charity or fundraising event can make for a fun and memorable day, and if you combine this with some physical activity i.e. a ‘Team Charity Sports Day’, it is a great way to get your employees active.
6) Fitness Club
Encouraging employees to volunteer for a company health and fitness club that meets on a regular basis could work towards increasing team bonding through shared experience.
7) Healthy Food Days
What about “Free Fruit Fridays”? You could even stock vending machines with energy-rich ‘brain food’ such as nuts and wholegrains. Eating these healthy snacks could help employees be more alert; helping them to keep more focused and engaged in their work.
8) Be proactive!
There are lots of things that employers can do to improve employee wellbeing, but it’s also a good idea to encourage team members to be proactive about their own health. Providing health cover for your staff, such as a cash plan, is one way of encouraging your team to take their health care seriously. Many cash plans also include an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to provide them with emotional support.
These simple ideas can help you to get started with a wellbeing strategy or further enhance your current activities. Don’t forget: employee engagement and wellbeing is a long-term process – so don’t worry about implementing every idea at once!