Corporate wellness programs have come a long way and more employers have come to realize that an employee’s wellbeing is related to how engaged they are in the workplace. Multiple studies over the past decade have definitively proven this correlation. When employees are engaged at work, productivity and efficiency improves, customer service is enhanced, and staff turnover is reduced – all of which leads to higher profits. Engaged employees are more enthusiastic and committed to their work and workplace. They also demonstrate a willingness and ability to contribute to organizational success. Businesses with engaged employees simply perform better. Yet, Gallop Company indicates that only 32% of employees are actively engaged and 51% of employees are not engaged at all. These statistics indicate that unhappy, disengaged employees cost Canadian companies billions annually in lost productivity. Gallop calculates that for every disengaged employee, the cost is 34% of their salary. So, if an employee’s annual salary is $60,000, approximately $20,000 is spent on unproductive work time.
Creating an engaged workforce is no small feat. It takes effort and an investment in wellness programs that promote the wellbeing of employees. Employee wellbeing deals with all aspects of working life, from safety and health concerns to how an employee relates to their work and the work environment. In today’s fast-changing business environment, businesses can’t afford to ignore the correlation between employee wellness and engagement. Adopting and prioritizing wellness programs in the workplace fosters a healthy workforce, promotes employee commitment and holistic employee wellbeing – all vital to business profitability and success. However, like diversity programs, it can be challenging to introduce wellness programs that engage employees. Effective wellness initiatives need to be personalized to fit the needs of the organization and its workforce.
Tips for Implementing an Employee Wellness Program
Conduct an Employee Assessment: Before introducing any wellness program, it’s important to gain an understanding of the current health of the workforce, level of employee engagement and their willingness to make improvements. Things change and people change, so even if you’ve done employee surveys in the past, it doesn’t mean the information collected then, depicts the situation now. To adequately measure employee engagement, it’s important to gather a combination of quantitative and qualitative employee feedback. This information will give you comprehensive insights that can be used to design a wellness strategy beneficial to both the organization and the employees.
Establish a Wellness Committee: An internal employee-driven committee can help build and sustain a wellness culture within the organization. Wellness committees that include employees are better able to encourage colleagues to adopt wellness program goals and objectives. They can also provide insights into what’s working and what’s not from an employee perspective.
Develop Goals & Objectives: Using the information collected from employee surveys and assessments, establish goals and objectives for the program. Common goals include increased productivity, lowered absenteeism, or improved retention. Set broad, long-term objectives expected from the program and determine how these objectives will be measured.
Design a Wellness Program Unique to Your Organization: There isn’t a one-size fits all standard program. Effective wellness programs vary and should be based on organizational needs and resources. Programs can range from a basic program to elaborate, multi-faceted programs. The important thing to keep in mind is that the program should be designed to target and alter risk behaviours, while keeping the needs and interests of employees at the forefront.
Create Program Incentives or Rewards: Using incentives or rewards can be an effective way to change unhealthy behaviours and engage employees. They also increase employee participation rates and help individuals complete the program or components of the program. People are driven to act when positive incentives and rewards are expected from their actions. If you are working with a smaller budget, simply recognizing the efforts of employees publicly, can be a key motivational tool you can use.
Communicate the Wellness Plan: Communicating the plan through various touch points and modalities (ie: make a big announcement, launch a campaign using video, push notifications, posters, emails ++) increases exposure to the program and encourages employee participation.
Offer Opportunities to Make a Difference: When employees feel their voices are heard, they become more engaged. Provide opportunities for them to share opinions and ideas. It will strengthen their sense of belonging. Give them room to experiment, let them flex their creative muscles and try something new. By providing opportunities to make a difference and a safe place to try something new, you build employee trust.
Organize Team Activities: Involving employees in team activities is one of the best ways to improve team cohesion, employee engagement and the overall working environment. Whether the activity is conducted during the lunch hour (ie: healthy lunch and snacks, combined with a fun activity) or after working hours (ie: happy hour, fitness activities ++), getting employees together promotes camaraderie, improves morale, and strengthens the work culture.
Provide Access to Wellness Tools & Support Resources: Providing employees with wellness tools and support that looks after the physical, mental, emotional, and financial well being of your employees can have a positive impact on employee morale and on productivity in the long run. These programs can give employees the tools and resources they need to thrive in both their working and personal lives. Examples include employee assistance programs, digital health tools and financial resources.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle: An engaged workforce must be healthy, both mentally and physically. Health is wealth and, in the business world, this is critical to ensuring success, improving morale, and retaining top talent. Healthy employees tend to have a higher level of self-confidence, inspire confidence in others around them and stay motivated.
Organizations that invest in their employees reap very tangible benefits that contribute to their overall success. The correlation between employee wellness and employee engagement is irrefutable. Wellness initiatives offer a glimpse into the more human side of the workplace culture. Provided by Vexxit, the Distinctive Program supports your workforce when they need it most. It transforms employee wellness and overall organizational success through increased employee engagement. The Distinctive Program is a digital solution, developed with your employees in mind. It supports them with insights on life’s serious stuff like managing debt, handling relationship stress, buying a home, and more. It's a place to get free education from vetted professionals on work, relationships, and finances, so they can move forward with confidence. The best part? When they are ready to take action, Vexxit will match them with the right financial advisor, accountant, or lawyer, best suited to meet their needs, for free.