Whilst sales figures or patents registered are great metrics to measure business growth, ultimately it is the people within the company that drive success. For a long time, the health and wellbeing of employees was often overlooked by businesses, but more recently their importance has been highlighted and is now seen as a vital part of business success. Businesses now see the value in proactively promoting health and wellbeing initiatives and look to ways in which they can do so. It is, therefore, no surprise that this has been established as one of the top trends to look out for in 2020.
Research has shown that promoting employee health and wellbeing can increase an organisation’s overall performance by 80%. There are several ways in which promoting these initiatives can improve business performance. It has been reported, for example, that it is directly linked to productivity levels. Statistics from the Centre for Mental Health suggest that companies in the UK with low levels of productivity directly linked to mental health issues can cost businesses £34.9bn nationally, further highlighting the importance of employers investing in their workforce.
Businesses that are investing in employee health and wellbeing have also shown a significant decrease in employee absence. Employees that are absent for significant periods of time may need their roles covered, which can be costly. Not only does this proactive focus reduce employee absence but it has also been shown to improve staff retention. Investing in employees’ health and wellbeing shows that you are investing in your people and their future. It makes them feel valued within the company and can be seen to improve morale and engagement. It can cost a business twice as much to hire someone new than it does to pay for their first year in work, including training and benefits – another reason to look after your people.
Promoting health and wellbeing
There are several factors that have been directly linked with affecting employee health and wellbeing, so it is important that businesses offer a range of support options in order to drive improvements and engagement. People often think that this support can be costly to a business however, Employee Benefit Magazine states that “Wellness management does not need to be complicated or costly. A few simple steps could help to mitigate long-term problems”.
One of the small steps that can have significant effects is financial wellbeing training. Financial burdens often have a big impact on employees and their health and wellbeing. They can lead to people feeling anxious or depressed, which can have a considerable impact on an employee’s ability to work. Employers can help minimise financial stress by increasing their employee’s knowledge and understanding of money. For example, providing information about budgeting and childcare or even simply providing them with a better understanding of their payslips and expenses. Many businesses are now offering financial wellbeing training and may want to also look to offer flexible or remote working as this can reduce childcare costs for many.
When it comes to mental health, there are several ways in which employers can support their staff. Raising awareness about mental health and its importance is crucial as this can help to reduce any stigma associated with it. It is also important that managers and staff have the right training and are educated around related issues and how to spot any symptoms, as well as providing them with the tools to deal with it. They could use mindfulness, for example, which has been shown to reduce stress and enhance focus on improving engagement and improve mental wellbeing.
An employee’s physical health is another major factor that impacts wellbeing. There are steps that employers can implement to encourage better physical health in the workplace. These can include organising workout groups or providing healthy eating and nutrition advice to educate employees on the importance of their diet and the impact it can have on performance and mindset.
The focus on employees and their health and wellbeing has a profound impact on an organisations performance. Businesses are now seeing the true value of looking after their people and are exploring different ways in which they can support their colleagues. I am sure that this will remain one of the main trends of 2020 and will continue to accelerate in importance.