Employee Wellbeing Programs

Employee Wellbeing Programs
Employee Wellbeing Programs

In a recent survey, 85% of employees felt that employers had a responsibility to ensure good health among its workforce, with 60% admitting that feeling happier at work would increase their productivity. It is no surprise therefore  that employee well-being is gaining momentum as the new, must have strategy in corporate social responsibility (CSR).

What are Employee wellbeing programs?

It is a concept that ascribes importance to influential factors on the individual’s state of being, taking into account organisational, societal, and environmental conditions. As a concept, it looks to create an overall picture of an individual by looking to an employee’s mental and physical health, personal prosperity, satisfaction and happiness.

Poor well-being, according to Nuffield Health, costs UK employers alone, £8.4 billion annually, prompting organisations to align well-being strategies with their wider CSR programmes. Costs associated with poor well-being are largely attributed to ‘legitimate’ absences, i.e. reflective of minor illnesses contracted by the workforce, but more recently, to the rise in ‘illegitimate’ absences. These account for work-related stress and home care responsibilities, which are indicative of unfavourable working environments. The World Economic Forum estimates that well-being programmes can save $700 per employee per year, therefore a healthy workforce costs less.

In light of this, forward thinking organisations, such as SAS, a leading business analytics software company, have rolled out extensive well-being programmes. These programmes have seen the company rank 2nd on the “Great Place to Work” list of World’s Best Multinational Workplaces. The company headquarters in North Carolina, sees the organisation offer flexible working conditions and a variety of initiatives to support its employees in managing their work and home responsibilities. Two subsidised day care centres cater for 600 children and the provision of summer camps relieve the concern of child care during holidays. An on-site healthcare centre has even been constructed, employing a range of healthcare professionals to provide free information and diagnosis. On the success of this programme, SAS have extended it globally, acknowledging local laws and cultural norms.

Fujitsu, a multinational IT equipment and services company, in partnership with stakeholders and suppliers, implemented a well-being strategy that generated an 11% decrease in employee absences in just one year! Through an Employee Assistance Programme, Fujitsu is able to provide advice and support on a spectrum of matters, from family crises to consumer rights. In line with this, the company offers flexible working conditions to encourage a healthy work-life balance and to enable employees to factor other responsibilities into their lifestyles. Success of this flexibility programme is demonstrated by the 95% return rate of employees who take maternity or adoption leave. To manage the problems associated with poor health, Fujitsu works closely with its catering supplier to ensure correct dietary information and labelling of products, and a reduced fat content in food. Additionally, they offer comprehensive health screening and weight management support.

Vacsera, the manufacturer of vaccines and biological products in Egypt, is another such company concerned with employee wellbeing. It recognises the values of education in their well-being programmes and finances employees to undertake further study in different fields with paid leave offered during examinations. Additionally, and where necessary, Vacsera offer free literacy classes which have successfully eliminated illiteracy among its workforce.

Tesco and Carillion are some of the first firms to sign up to Bupa’s ‘Boost Health and Well-being’ app. The app strives to not only foster a proactive attitude towards achieving one’s own health and fitness goals, but provides employers with anonymised aggregated data on the health risks and issues faced by their workforce.

These organisations demonstrate how employee well-being offers great potential for employee and employer benefit. There is considerable scope for a strategy to turn a company’s weakness into a strength, improving the overall competiveness of a company and generating opportunities for the wider community.