In this tough economy we are all looking for ways to reduce costs and increase productivity without increasing the cost to the bottom line. Have you taken a look at your payroll figures lately? Most business will find that the piece of expenditure pie for their employees continues to grow due to health care costs increasing at an astounding rate. And to combat this rise in costs, the trend is for businesses to spend some money on improving the wellness of their employees.
How can you improve your employees overall wellness?
What are some realistic goals for improving your business’s wellness culture?
Workplace wellness is any workplace health promotion activity or organizational policy designed to support healthy behavior in the workplace and to improve health outcomes.
Your first step in improving your wellness culture is to set some goals. Write those down. Now you know what you are aiming for.
Increasing morale – Let’s improve our staff’s cheerfulness, confidence, and spirit of optimism.
Reduce turnover – Let’s lengthen the amount of time employees stay employed by us.
Improve staff productivity – Let’s make every worker have the tools to improve their job performance.
Reduce worker’s fear of losing their job – Let’s make every worker feel valued and appreciated.
Reduce absenteeism – Let’s address the issues and problems that are causing employees to be habitually late to work or frequently gone from work.
Decreasing health care costs – Let’s try and improve individual employee health so that overall we have a healthy workforce that may lower insurance premiums.
In order to meet the above goals we must come up with a strategic plan to implement what we want to accomplish. One of the most important and frequent tools to any wellness campaign is a health risk appraisal. A health risk appraisal or assessment allows you to quantify risks mathematically. This can then be the tool you use to see if your wellness programs are actually doing the job you want and helping you reach your wellness goals.
In a recent survey 45% of the businesses surveyed offer an incentive to employees to take part in wellness initiatives.
Illuminate individual health risks – Have all employees take a confidential Health Risk Appraisal. This will provide data not only for the individual employee but also the group data can be used by the employer to pinpoint areas of risk for the company overall. For example do you have many smokers? Then that could be addressed companywide with smoker cessation programs.
Eliminate worker stress – Job stress is a productivity killer and leads to employee turnover. Increase the dialog with your employees; question them on what you could do to make their job easier. Set up an anonymous suggestion box, take the suggestions to heart and make some changes.
Improve workplace safety – By improving workplace safety you can reduce accidents and on the job injuries. A clean safe environment also demonstrates company pride and that value are placed on the employee’s wellbeing by the owner.
Get help for employees dealing with depression – Do not ignore signs of depression in your employees. Statistics show that everyone will at some point in their life deal with depression. Train your supervisors to note the signs of depression and provide resources for your employees in your local area.
Help employees balance work / life issues – Vacation days are necessary to keep us recharged for work. Encourage employees to take the time off you provide. Provide the needed resources so that employees can work their shift and go home. A workaholic does not have a good balance in his life and will often times self-destruct. If a large group of your employees is having child care issues. Not all businesses are large enough to have onsite daycare but you can contact some day care providers close to your office to provide brochures or arrange a presentation that will give your workers some informed choices.
Use that health risk assessment to determine what issues are most critical for your group of employees. Now strategize on the best way to address those issues. Luckily today with the internet information is easy to obtain.
Posters and flyers – If you have common areas that all employees frequent use the walls for displaying posters on important topics or place flyers in employee mailboxes. This is an old-school method for getting information directly into the employee hands. This is great for promoting workplace safety. You can also use this method to announce a new workout facility close to the office that your employees may not be aware of.
Provide internet links – If you have employees dealing with specific issues doing the work upfront to provide them with quality links to information on blood pressure issues, or managing their diabetes can be helpful. Some people can never find the time to do the research that would improve their lives. There are many non-commercial sites that provide good information for free.
Use your intranet – Email individual employee’s specific information. Most of us are very good at keeping up with our interoffice emails. Do not forget how quickly you can access individuals or groups using this information tool.
Set up a suggestion box – This may seem totally old-fashioned but they work. Anonymous suggestions can often bring to light issues that people are afraid to bring to their immediate supervisor. Anytime you empower someone in their environment they go from feeling like a pawn in someone else’s game to pride in their work.
Company newsletters – Setting up a company newsletter is a great tool for boosting morale and keeping people in the know. It also stops speculation at the water cooler. A newsletter that provides who had a baby, who is retiring, plus helpful health improvement information would be a great addition to any business. People love their local paper because the news is specific to them. What businesses have opened, or closed, who got elected to the school board etc. Your company newsletter would be a great way to disseminate information and provide morale boosts. Don’t forget to add productivity numbers or good sale numbers to further encourage your employees.
Employee costs are often the biggest part of a business’s budget. Now that we have so much time and money invested in the people we hire it is in our best interest to improve our workplace wellness.