Employees are humans. Human beings work best when we’re well, happy, cared for, and valued. A big part of a positive employee experience is the wellbeing aspect of working life. When the people who work at your place have good levels of wellbeing they’re more motivated, more creative, more imaginative, and they work harder.
It’s clear every good business deserves a proper Employee Wellbeing Strategy. At Ovation Incentives, we have all the experience and expertise needed to help you bring about wellbeing across the board, for every employee at every level. This post reveals all you need to know about an employee wellbeing strategy, from why it’s so important to how to create one that’ll work hard for your company.
What should you include in a wellness programme? How do you implement employee wellbeing? What are the 6 pillars of wellbeing, and which tactics promote it? Read on to find out. By the end of this article you’ll understand what’s involved, and you’ll know where to start.
What is an employee wellbeing strategy?
An employee wellbeing strategy formalises the actions you need to take to keep everyone at your place well, happy, and motivated. The best employee wellbeing strategies focus on every aspect of wellbeing in a work context: the financial side, the physical side, and the psychological side of workforce wellbeing. And it’s about a lot more than the here and now.
As well as instant support for problems in the ‘now’, yours needs to take into account vital long term positive and preventative approaches to helping employees thrive at work. Because of this, every employee’s wellbeing strategy is different. Yours will form a unique strategy tailored directly to your organisation, its needs, your people, and their needs.
Why is a wellbeing strategy important?
So why is having a wellbeing strategy so important for your employees? The very fact that you care enough to put wellbeing at the top of the list makes a difference to the way people feel about work. It comes with better employee morale and engagement because people’s financial, physical and psychological requirements are being met. The culture you develop is healthier and more inclusive, a caring place as well as an efficient, effective place. And all that means you experience fewer absences from sickness.
Why are so many organisations starting to invest in employee wellbeing? It’s a profit thing. But it’s also about compassion. We spend a lot of our lives at work. We all deserve to be taken proper care of while we’re making money for our employers. Then there’s mental health, which has quickly become the main focus for workplace wellbeing strategies. No employee should feel so unhappy at work that they suffer from depression and anxiety. Everyone should experience a fair focus on a sensible work-life balance. Each employee should feel they have a voice. Diversity and inclusion matter when a lack of both can make a workplace very uncomfortable and unpleasant for some people.
All of this marks a dramatic change in attitudes. Employer thinking has shifted from focusing on the costs of ill health to understanding and providing the things that actually make a workforce healthy in every way, and help them thrive.
How to create an employee wellbeing program?
How, exactly, do you go about setting up an employee wellbeing programme? Like every decision in a business, you first need to pin down the results you want it to achieve. You need goals, so you can ultimately measure the results against them. Your goal might be a 5% increase in productivity in year 1, and 5% a year after that. It could mean boosting annual company profits to a specific amount. It might simply mean creating a culture at work that everyone loves, where everybody is happy, healthy, and cared for, with all the motivational benefits happy people bring to their roles.
Next, mull over the things you want to address in the workplace. Maybe you have a dire sickness rate, with multiple workers calling in sick on Monday mornings – a clear sign something at work isn’t right. Perhaps your employee churn rate is eating into your margins. Once you know exactly what you need to improve and why, the path ahead is clearer.
Think about the type of improvement to wellbeing you hope to achieve. Do you want your employees to be more resilient physically, or more able to make their feelings and opinions heard by the people who matter? More confident? More willing and able to give honest opinions? It’s wise to actually talk to your staff before you build a plan of action and consider how to implement the new wellbeing programme. They’re at the coal face. They know how they feel, what’s bothering them, what’s making their lives harder, and what’s de-motivating them.
Finally, explore how you’re going to assess and measure the impact and effects of the employee wellbeing programme. You’ll want to see clear evidence you’re achieving your goals, and that hitting those goals is making the right kind of differences. This kind of analysis also gives you the insight you need to make changes when things aren’t working as you expect.
What should be included in a wellness program?
Here’s a good example for you, something many companies are putting in place. Tapping directly into most people’s desire to be fitter, stronger and healthier, as well as saving money, cycle to work schemes really do incentivise people. If you can incentivise and support your employees via the cycle to work scheme, you’ll be on to a winner, as will your workers.
A cycle to work scheme comes with all sorts of benefits to your bottom line as well as making employees’ lives easier and healthier. What are the benefits of implementing a cycle to work scheme? For a start you get fewer parking and congestion problems at your premises. You all help fight climate change. And it means people can cut their NI contributions by 15.05%, a very powerful employee incentive.
Cycle to work schemes help build a healthier and happier workplace. It’s free to sign up. Your employee will save a lot of money on bikes and accessories, with as much as a 49% discount. You reduce your carbon footprint and workers slash their commuting costs. There’s no tax or VAT on new bicycles, making them an excellent deal, and cycling is proven to improve our overall health and wellbeing.
It’s popular even when you’re based in a busy area. Some employees on the scheme arrange cycle trains to get safely to and from work, with more people joining along the route. It’s fun cycling in a line with your colleagues. The shared experience helps build stronger teams.
How do you implement employee wellbeing?
You need ways to assess and measure employee experience, quantifying and qualifying the outcomes against the goals you’ve set. Employee experience surveys are the most common technique, a reliable way to gather quantitative data. Focus groups, where a number of people get together to discuss a matter frankly for a specific purpose, are handy for adding context to the survey data.
Other ways to check you’re on the right track include existing staff metrics. You’ll already have a handle on important stats like employee turnover rates, employee referrals, customer satisfaction feedback and the ways employees progress within the company. Take a snapshot. Start your programme. Then, at intervals, see if there’s less employee churn, more candidate referrals by employees, and a hike in customer satisfaction rates, you know for sure it’s having the right impact. If not, you can analyse the data to see if there’s a clear reason, then tweak the scheme until it starts to deliver.
What are the 5 pillars of employee wellbeing?
There are five pillars of wellbeing. Tick all five and you’ll know your people are feeling good, enjoying their working days, and motivated to succeed.
Mental And Emotional Wellbeing
Mental health matters in business. When people’s mental and emotional health is in good shape we find it easier to think clearly and make good decisions. We don’t get so easily overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious. We respond well to everyday challenges and we know when we reach the point where we need help. Don’t forget your managers, leaders and HR people. Everyone can suffer from poor mental health, at every level.
Social wellbeing connects closely with mental and emotional wellbeing. As an employer you can help create it by building a culture of togetherness and tolerance, promote collaboration at every turn, and encourage people to share their knowledge with each other. If you’ve felt excited to get to work, one of the reasons is your social wellbeing needs are met there.
When your finances spin out of control, so does your peace of mind. When you can’t focus because you’re worried, you can’t work well. When you have control over your financial wellbeing you have the skills and resources to manage your money well. There can be an unhelpful stigma around money troubles. Start by getting rid of that. Then give your people the education, tools and support they need. This is really important when you want your people – therefore your business – to weather hard times with courage and resilience.
You can be feeling great mentally but if you’re struggling with health issues, it’s hard to work effectively. The basics of good health are pretty simple. Eat well, sleep well, get exercise. It makes good business sense to give your people the flexibility to work in a way that suits them, so they have the time to look after themselves.
Almost all of us work with a computer or portable gadget at least some of the time. Being digitally healthy means feeling like you’re in control of the tech in your life. It’s easy for the work-home tech line to blur. When people are keen to do their best, they can slide into working at home in the evenings. And that can mean they start feeling overwhelmed. Encourage a good work-life balance by asking people to properly switch off from work at the end of the day.
What strategies promote wellbeing?
Now you know what it is and why it matters, how do you promote employee wellbeing?
Promote Mental Health Awareness
You could provide free sessions with qualified therapists, or a 24/7 helpline to help people figure out what’s wrong then recover from mental health issues.
Ease Workplace Stress
In an ideal world your people won’t be constantly stressed by their everyday work. To handle the times when things do get stressful, some companies offer stress management training, meditation platforms, resilience training, digital helpdesk services, and even mandatory leave.
Expanded Employee Assistance
You can play an active role. A business can be a lot like a family. Give your employees the space to share their thoughts and concerns with you. This means they’ll trust you more, relax with you more, and inspire them to communicate with you more openly.
Highlight Achievements And Reward Staff
When companies recognise their employees and highlight the achievements made, they openly and publicly acknowledge people’s efforts. It’s a potent motivator to be rewarded, and it encourages the rest of the team.
Build a powerful wellbeing strategy for your business
Now you know what an employee wellbeing strategy is, and why it matters, it’s time to build your own. Would you like to trial our system? Click here to arrange a free demo, or get in touch to discuss the potential with a member of our friendly team.