Putting a price on Employee Wellbeing
This article is written by Andrew Dawson-Jerrard, Business Development Director and first published on Linkedin.
When you think of employee wellbeing, a tangible positive impact on the bottom line rarely comes into consideration. Wellbeing has so often been recognised as a holistic, nice to have when it comes to benefits programmes, but more recently, there has been a focus on the link between employee wellbeing and the financial performance of a business. Both Wellbeing and Engagement levels are now being recognised as leading indicators of performance and even the market value of a business.
Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance at London Business School has been examining the link between business performance and wellbeing for some time. He highlights ’that firms with high employee wellbeing and engagement delivered stock returns that beat their peers by 2.3- 3.8% per year over a 28-year period – that’s 89% to 184% compounded.’ (http://www.greatplacetowork.co.uk/storage/Publications/wellbeing_and_culture_final_011216.pdf)
So, it turns out, you really can put a price on wellbeing.
Wellbeing programmes have come a long way and are now much more than keep fit classes and fruit in the staff room. Relevance is what holds to key to a successful engagement programme. Offering a staff a range of wellbeing programmes and initiatives that resonate and hold real value to their day to day lives is what increases happiness and productivity, and not just the endorphins released at a free Spin Class.
Financial wellbeing is growing in popularity as a wellbeing benefit, with a rising number of employees concerned about money. In 2016, 70% of UK employees said that they were affected by financial worries (Neyber, 2016). There are now many financial wellbeing products available as organisations increasingly feel a duty to protect staff, now and in their future and this can start with helping them get their finances in check. From financial education to debt consolidation and tax efficient childcare schemes, there is a rising demand for initiatives that can help staff become more financially stable.
Alongside financial wellbeing, emotional wellbeing should be prioritised to ensure staff are happy. Not only are happier staff more productive, but having healthy staff reduces presenteeism. And with absence costs at £105bn last year (NHS England), it could save businesses money. 1 in 4 UK adults suffer from a diagnosable Mental Health problem each year (NHS England) and any wellbeing strategies that help with work life balance, managing workload or even mindfulness, will help staff as well as shattering any stigma felt by those suffering from mental health issues.
Of course, we cannot forget Physical wellbeing – the first thing people tend to think of when discussing wellbeing programmes. This isn’t to say that physical wellbeing is less important now, rather that there have been such advances in technology that there are new and exciting ways to get staff moving, to support staff living with chronic conditions, or to help those who may require a steer towards a healthier lifestyle. All of which can be achieved by affordable wearable tech that not only will make them healthier and happier, but more engaged too.
These three areas of wellbeing may look like they stand alone but they are all interconnected and equally important in the creation of an engaged workforce. Any positive or negative influence on one area of the triangle will impact the other areas in turn. At Personal Group we refer to this as the Triangle of Wellbeing – together all of these elements need to be in check to have a successful wellbeing strategy that benefits both the employee and the employer, enabling staff to be happier and more productive.
If you are already providing the full range of wellbeing benefits, but only seeing single digit usage then take a step back and review your wellbeing communications strategy. Having a long list of wellbeing programmes looks great on paper, but without staff take up and interest you will be unable to improve morale and productivity, and will struggle to demonstrate any ROI on your wellbeing investments. The key to this is communication. An effectively communicated programme needs to reach staff in the right way, at the right time. It is important to know that when it comes to communications, one size does not fit all. Organisations may find that staff are not comfortable calling a support line at work in fear of being seen to be struggling. Surrounded by their peers, there is a chance that staff may keep things to themselves rather than be seen to be vulnerable. Unless your resources are in one place, staff will be unlikely to explore the wellbeing services on offer to them. Perhaps you have posters, emails and the intranet is chock full of resources, but if employees have trouble finding the information that can help them best it will remain underutilised. Bringing all of these resources into one place, through a platform or app, not only helps employees, but it shows that you care about how easy it is for them to access their benefits.
In the modern workplace, there are such a wide variety of job roles meaning that a platform may not be the right option for all staff. Desk Based Staff are becoming a rare breed, meaning that staff may not always be chained to the same place for too long. This is why it is so important for organisations to make their wellbeing benefits available to staff, wherever they are. They best way to achieve this is to reach staff where you know they will be paying attention – through their mobile phone. The average person checks their phone 85 times each day, so why not put resources in the place they’re already looking?
The benefit of having an employee benefits app for all staff is that if they spend so much time on their phone, they are more likely to use their benefits if they are convenient to them. Staff that are based on the road, on their feet or if their job doesn’t require a PC, will all benefit from having access to important wellbeing services in the palm of their hand.
They may be feeling at their best or struggling at their worst, but your organisation can reach them and provide information and services that can help them. Effective communications delivered through an Employee Benefits App is one way to ensure that staff will be able to access information, assistance and support when they need it most, so when they are in work they can be happier, healthier and help your business perform better.