How corporate wellness programmes can improve employee health

How corporate wellness programmes can improve employee health

With the aim of improving employee health and wellbeing, organisations are implementing a range of corporate wellness programmes and initiatives.
  • How do employee health and wellness relate to organisational success?
  • HRM and employee wellness

HRM is developing rapidly, with new technologies, initiatives, and organisational models constantly appearing. One aspect of this trend that is becoming increasingly popular is the introduction and implementation of corporate wellness programmes and initiatives that aim to improve employee health and wellbeing.

How do employee health and wellness relate to organisational success?

Studies show a strong positive correlation between employee wellbeing and productivity. In fact, happy employees are believed to be approximately 13 per cent more productive than unhappy ones. Good health and wellbeing also result in lower rates of absenteeism – for obvious reasons. Happiness and wellbeing also tend to spread from one employee to another, improving the morale (and, subsequently, engagement, communication, and collaboration) of a workforce. This can result in a business experiencing higher employee retention and also becoming more attractive to new talent.

Workers are increasingly recognising and valuing their wellbeing at work – in fact, almost 40 per cent of job seekers from Gen Z rate a healthy working environment as the most important factor. Unfortunately, rates of wellbeing and satisfaction with workplaces is currently low. A 2022 Gallup poll revealed that less than a quarter of workers strongly agree that the organisation they work for considers their wellbeing important. With these employees almost 70 per cent less likely to seek new employment and five times more likely to recommend their organisation to others, improving employee wellbeing should be a top priority for HR managers and other leaders.

HRM and employee wellness

Fortunately, more and more organisations are recognising the importance of workforce health and wellness. The recent pandemic, during which almost one-third of Americans showed symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, resulted in increased awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace. Forward-thinking companies have increased investment of time and resources into mental health programmes and initiatives, and optimised organisational structures to prevent mental health issues. Increased rates of sick pay, increased number of sick days, and access to therapy and other forms of medical care are becoming more and more common in workplaces. These not only look after employees and improve productivity, but also improve an organisation’s reputation and encourage more people – particularly Gen Z workers – to apply.  

At multinational energy company Chevron, programmes such as mental health screenings and even onsite child care have been introduced to combat stress and benefit employees. Entertainment giant Paramount has also implemented extensive measures and initiatives to improve workforce health and wellness. While most companies claim to follow admirable values (for Paramount, “optimism, determination, inclusivity, collaboration, agility, and adaptability”), not all match these with actions. The company has taken concrete steps to create a culture of health, respect, and inclusivity. An example of this is the adoption of integrated HR suite SAP SuccessFactors, which includes recruiting, onboarding, compensation, analytics, and reporting tools that offer HR managers insight into and control over the factors that relate to workforce wellbeing. The suite also offers a range of learning and development tools, which are tailored to each employee and designed to help them become more confident in their abilities. It is not only technological solutions that the company has implemented either – its commitment to wellbeing is also backed up with the offering of on-demand mental healthcare services for employees.

Closing thoughts

Wellness programmes and technological solutions are excellent ways for organisations to improve workforce health and wellbeing. However, it is also important that organisational structures align with these. A healthy work-life balance is particularly important for wellbeing, and employees and employers each have important roles to play in this. For example, employees can keep work and personal lives separate by not checking personal messages or answering personal calls during working hours, and avoiding sending or answering work-related messages or calls in their free time. Employers and managers must also be on board with this – cultures that encourage employees to be ‘always-on’ and to ‘take their work home’ are often best avoided in order to enable employees to strike this balance.

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