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Employee Well-being – Added Value or a Waste of Time?

8th March 2016 HR and H&S

The concept of employee well-being has increasingly become a focus for many organisations and is a concept that has grown in popularity over the past few years.

In recent months the topic of employee well-being has been hitting the headlines and would appear to be firmly at the forefront of the agenda for many organisations.

ACAS suggests that whilst an individual’s well- being is related to their own character and home or social life, there is clear evidence to suggest that employers can influence and impact on an employee’s sense of well-being.

Across a team or entire organisation, if staff well-being is undermined, many key organisational performance factors can be negatively impacted, for example:

  • reduced productivity
  • conflict (with colleagues and up-line/downline management/subordinates)
  • increased grievance and disciplinary incidents
  • increased days lost through sickness and absenteeism
  • low morale and negative atmosphere
  • poor customer service and quality
  • low staff retention

If there is an association that improvement in well-being will result in higher levels of employee engagement, which is, in turn, associated with improved business performance and potential for enhanced business outcomes..

..then why are so many employers not prioritising and implementing programmes relating to the health and well- being of their workforce?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, so designing an effective employee well- being strategy and the initiatives/ programmes within it should be based on the unique needs and characteristics of both the organisation and the needs of the workforce.

But with such a wide scope for what the term means, due to its meaning different things to different people, where does an organisation begin with creating a well- being strategy? And what do well- being initiatives/programmes include?

There are many areas that could be considered as part of a well-being strategy:

  • Advice on healthy eating
  • In-house gym or Subsidised gym membership
  • Support to stop smoking
  • Regular health checks
  • Private health insurance
  • Personalised healthy living
  • Access to counselling service
  • Access to physiotherapy

As well as these initiatives, organisations should also consider in their strategy Training/Workshops for their staff and the impact of their Organisational policies and procedures.

Organisations should identify why they are introducing employee well-being initiatives, looking at key drivers and what they are hoping to achieve before deciding what they introduce in order to ensure it is supporting their overarching aim.