Designing an Effective Workplace Wellbeing Strategy
Researchers agree that employee wellbeing directly impacts key performance indicators, including productivity, engagement, and retention. One study found that engaged employees show 21% greater productivity. Why? Because engaged team members bring energy, imagination, and commitment to the office. Which leads to decreased absenteeism, increased retention, and higher overall output. Unengaged employees, on the other hand, cost US companies up to $55 billion per year in re-hiring costs, lost revenue, and increased health premiums.
It makes sense. Happy, healthy humans have more mental and emotional energy to devote to working smarter and better. They’re also more likely to associate work with positive experiences and a sense of accomplishment. Which means they’re more likely to remain committed to their roles (and their employers) over the long term.
Prioritizing employee wellbeing clearly benefits your organization’s bottom line, but how can you maximize the return on investment? Create a comprehensive workplace wellbeing strategy. Take into account the multiple facets of employee health with guidance from front-line workers and management to ensure that your team feels supported for the long-term and align wellness initiatives with overall business goals.
Here are 5 tips for building an effective workplace wellbeing strategy that drives engagement, reinforces your organization’s core values, and provides employees with meaningful wellness tools.
1. Take a Holistic Approach
Employees are, first and foremost, people. People with complicated lives outside the office that affect their workplace productivity and engagement. A workplace wellbeing strategy shouldn’t just support physical or mental health. Strategies that also encompass financial and social development stand to make the most long-term impact and cover the needs and concerns of more team members. Like a wellbeing buffet, there should be a little something for everyone.
2. Collect and Assess Employee Input
Ensuring that your wellness programming aligns not only with your organization’s broader business goals but also your team’s needs means collecting information from all levels about their wellness concerns. Surveys are one way to solicit direct feedback. But organizations can also learn a great deal about employees’ needs from data like health plan utilization rates and environmental or cultural audits.
3. Treat All Team Members as Stakeholders in Wellness
As with any significant initiative, a workplace wellbeing strategy needs buy-in from senior management and front-line workers to succeed. A Wellness Committee spearheaded by ‘champions’ committed to the cause helps keep initiatives focused and can serve as a valuable source of real-time feedback on what programming works and what doesn’t. Putting leadership and junior team members together also creates opportunities for management to take ownership and receive unstructured feedback from employees.
4. Set Measurable Goals
A good workplace wellbeing strategy will incorporate objective metrics to measure participation and progress. Specific targets keep different stakeholders working towards the same goal, while concrete measurements help you gauge the effectiveness of programming and initiatives. For example, to evaluate programming, you might track attendance and engagement in workshops over time or follow up with participants after several months after the program asking if they’ve made any changes. Longer-term goals, like diversity initiatives, may require more complex analytics such as assessing hiring trends over multiple quarters or tracking retention and promotion against benchmarks set by leadership.
5. Choose the Best Tools
Opting for a diverse range of wellness tools and offerings dramatically increases the odds that all employees will find something of value. But in addition to offering a range of wellness tools, consider the best way to provide instruction and training. Recorded webinars and online materials may work best for a nutrition class, while a stress reduction program may require group calls and other in-person interaction.
Designing a successful workplace wellbeing strategy may require some reflection and planning, but the business rewards for your organization and personal rewards for your employees make it more than worth the effort.