At the end of every year, there are a handful of lists that name that best places to work. They typically describe a variety of reasons why such companies have made it into the exclusive club. Have you ever asked yourself how they got there? Or, more importantly, how can your business get there?
In my experience studying these companies, I’ve found the leaders have one thing in common: They all keep up with industry trends.
Following industry trends
To keep up, you have to find, follow and experiment with these trends. It goes without saying that not all industry trends are worth emulating. However, for our purposes, we’ll examine one industry trend that every business owner or executive should follow if they want to aim for that exclusive “best places to work” club: employee well-being and fitness.
In previous generations, compensation was considered the ultimate benchmark, and staff well-being was merely a “nice to have” incentive. But today, employers are learning that employee well-being is a highly relevant aspect of any modern workplace. From the quality of the physical environment to how workers feel about their work, employee well-being ensures employees are safe, healthy, satisfied and engaged at work.
History of employee well-being
Many organizations worldwide have come to realize that making the well-being of their staff a business priority will ultimately result in maximum productivity. But how did organizations arrive at this conclusion?
The origins of corporate health and wellness programs as we know them began in the 1980s.While wellness was once synonymous with physical health, it has evolved to include physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Today there are quite a few regulations around working hours, but employers can still do more to improve their employees’ overall well-being. For instance, well-being and stress management issues are within the overall “duty of care” that an employer owes its employees. However, many organizations are inclined to offer more than just the basic duty of care, having found that the well-being of staff is a major factor in quality, performance, effectiveness and profits.
Why should business leaders jump on this trend?
Prevention, they say, is better than a cure — and I believe that applies here. With global healthcare costs skyrocketing, it is only sensible for organizations and business owners to be proactive to reduce overall healthcare costs. Certain health conditions can be improved with lifestyle changes that can go hand in hand with wellness initiatives.
Here are a few benefits of following this trend:
• Reduced healthcare costs: The heart of any good well-being program is behavioral change. Healthy behaviors can reduce health risks, which in turn can reduce health costs. A long-term plan can ensure that the healthy behaviors stick.
• Improved productivity: Distractions, stress, social media and poor health can all impact employee productivity. A wellness program that promotes exercise and a healthy lifestyle can reduce the effects of stress and may play a role in preventing conditions such as depression.
• Higher engagement: Engagement is an important aspect of employee well-being. This involves inviting employees to be a part of the process, which fosters a sense of belonging, self-worth and confidence. Ultimately, I’ve found that this can help increase creativity.
• Higher employee retention: Many organizations have accepted that the best asset any business can have is its people. By providing well-being programs and initiatives to employees, organizations show that they value and support their staff. This in turn will help to attract the best candidates while also maintaining the high employee retention.
Reduced absenteeism: By reducing workplace stress and fostering a healthier environment, companies instituting an employee wellness program may immediately see a reduction in employee absenteeism.
Support for workplace well-being
Despite the widespread trend of workplace well-being, many businesses have yet to introduce wellness programs. The success of this process depends largely on support from senior-level executives. In building a climate of well-being, employers must play a key role by participating themselves to motivate employees to engage in the process.
The future of employee well-being
Employers today have more access to data on employee behavior than ever before. This allows them to learn as they go and make adjustments along the way. Employers should focus on the needs of their specific employees to achieve the greatest ROI.
There are many benefits available to both the employer and employee engaged in well-being programs. These benefits extend from employees to the company and also to the experiences created for your customers.
Yes, well-being programs cost time and money — but the argument remains that the overall impact of having a well-being program in the workplace is an effective way to increase top-line revenues while decreasing healthcare costs.