Over the past few years, businesses have increasingly recognised the benefits of implementing an employee wellness initiative. Workplaces with robust employee wellness initiatives see many benefits. These can include improved productivity, reduced sick leave, increased employee happiness and higher staff retention.
Since 2020, we’ve seen more changes in our workplace than ever before. Shifting work patterns to working from home, adapting to virtual meetings and coping with the increased levels of stress. For human resources departments, employee wellness initiatives must be prioritised.
The Evolution of Employee Wellness Initiatives
The idea of workplace wellness goes back hundreds of years. Bernardini Ramazzini, an Italian physician who lived from 1633-1714, is believed to be the first one to write about workplace wellness. He looked at how exposure in the workplace affected the workforce. He was also interested in how the wellbeing of workers could be improved with preventative measures.
In our more recent history, employee wellness initiatives were often seen as corporate perks. Johnson & Johnson’s Live for Life program, launched in 1979, was considered the archetype for corporate employee wellness programmes.
In the past 10 – 15 years, the idea of employee wellness has blossomed. Wellness initiatives now cover more than they ever previously have. Businesses are looking after the wellbeing of their employees in more ways than in the past.
Why is Employee Wellness Important?
Looking after the wellbeing of their employees can really help a business. Research shows the positive impacts than an employee wellness initiative can have. These include:
It’s important to note that implementing an employee wellness initiative involves a shift in your company culture. You’re committing to a culture of wellness. It’s a great place to be! To help get you started with your wellness initiative, we’ve covered some best-practices to help you along.
Define Your Objectives and Goals
The employee wellness programmes of the past were primarily focused on the physical aspect of health. As our understanding of wellness in the workplace has evolved, so have employee wellness initiatives. Now, they can cover a wide range of things.
When defining the objectives and goals for your wellness initiative, it’s important to first get a feel for your current workforce. You’ll want to get an understanding of:
Current levels of employee satisfaction
Areas where employees feel there could be improvements
Feedback on overall workplace wellbeing
With this information, you’ll have a better understanding of areas that you can focus on. From this, you’ll be able to shape a wellness initiative that fits your employees’ needs.
Consider the costs involved, as well as how you’re going to market your initiative. You’ll also want to think about whether you’ll need additional resources of support. Will your workplace need an employee wellness committee? If so, how can people express their interest or get involved? What roles will be needed? What other commitments may be needed?
Alongside the logistics, you’ll also want something to work towards. Having defined your objectives, how are you going to be able to measure your success? Set yourself measurable targets, and ensure that you are tracking the progress.
Develop Flexible Wellness Initiatives
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that a flexible workplace is a successful workplace. The ability to pivot and adapt to a rapidly changing workplace has helped employees and employers through the COVID-19 pandemic. When implementing an employee wellness initiative, it’s important to take learnings from these unprecedented lessons.
Your wellness initiative should also consider the ongoing changes we’re seeing. Supporting employees as they transition from a work from home model back to an office. Or, perhaps your business is going to operate on a hybrid model moving forward, that is, part from home and part in the office.
Keeping up with the wellness initiative when working remotely
Ensuring that employee engagement is maintained (or even better – improved!)
You can also help the success of your wellness initiative by making it something that’s easy to adopt outside of the office. For example:
Employee fitness challenges
Healthy eating challenges
Providing access to virtual health resources
Resources pointing to online fitness and / or wellness programmes
Encouraging time away from the computer
Use Technology to Support your Employee Wellness Initiative
Human resources technology has come a long way in the past few decades. HR tech can help support your employee wellness initiative by providing you with added layers of data.
Once you’ve decided on the objectives and goals for your initiative, it’s important that you are able to measure its success. Initially, you should have already assessed the existing climate for your employees. An effective HR tech solution should be able to help you track the progress of your wellness initiative. To truly understand the impact of your initiative, you should be able to see:
Definitive improvements in areas that you’ve focused on, such as fitness or overall wellbeing
Sticking points that require further addressing
Measure the impact of the benefits that you have implemented at the individual employee level
Many companies opt for surveys to assess their workforce. While surveys can be a great way of collating an overall birds eye view, they fail to pinpoint issues that affect different employees individually.
Fortunately, there are HR tech solutions that can provide you these measurements at the individual employee level. hug is a platform that will provide you with real-time, actionable insights on your workforce. With bespoke reporting dashboards, you can see the state of your existing workforce at a business level, down to the individual employee level. What’s more, hug analytics will allow you to track the results of your employee wellness initiative. hug is an affordable, effective way to understand your team. With hug, you can measure, report and assess the real impact of your employee wellness initiative. Interested in finding out how? Request your demo by clicking here today.