Andy Bowness: What impact can wellness programmes have on staff retention?

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Wellbeing

When it comes to staff retention, promoting employee wellbeing should never be underestimated by business leaders. When you break it down, wellbeing at its simplest level is about personal happiness. It stands to reason that employees who feel good and live healthily are likely to be your longest standing and most productive team members.  Invest in their health and you invest in your business.

Effectively handling wellbeing and stress management issues falls under the overall ‘duty of care’ that an employer owes to its employees, yet the consideration should extend far beyond this. Many facets of work do not necessarily impact on our core life needs, but this cannot be said for wellbeing and stress, whose implications run very deeply, and whose impact can be catastrophic if not dealt with correctly. It is well known that wellbeing at work is closely linked to wellbeing and health in life generally; employers looking to retain their staff ought to take heed of this fact and act accordingly.

Where wellbeing is eroded, increased sickness (both mental and physical), low morale and negative associations with the workplace occur. For an employee, this can be very damaging. For an employer, the damage can prove fatal to the bottom line. If poor mental or physical health is not addressed properly, businesses will quickly find themselves facing decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, resignations and job terminations.

The solution is actually fairly simple, and doesn’t need to cost the earth. The introduction of wellness programmes, for example, makes it easier for employees to prioritise and manage their own health independently. It also helps develop a positive workplace culture -suddenly you are a business which supports staff wellbeing, and encourages its employees to foster a better attitude to health and wellness. Not only are you likely to have a happier workforce, you may well end up attracting new blood to the organisation, too.

Even the provision of basic onsite health checks for all staff raises awareness and can be implemented at little or no cost. Employees can get a health check done while they’re at work, and start identifying personal goals to improve their wellbeing. Companies should consider the potential impact of providing at least basic wellbeing support programs to educate and encourage employees to prioritise their own health, as the benefits will far outweigh the cost.

The positive effects of prioritising wellbeing at work can be measured not only in reduced absenteeism, but improved staff retention and increased levels of productivity in the workplace. It is an investment all businesses should consider making. After all, healthy employees cope better with stress, hold concentration for longer and have better attention to detail.

Andy Bowness is the CEO of Bodireel.

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