It’s well proven that a happier, healthier and more engaged workforce is good not just for those employees wellbeing, but for your business too – a true win,win scenario. You will lose far less days to sick leave, and spend much less on recruitment, training and the management of a constantly changing workforce. In addition, your employees will become your best brand ambassadors, thereby improving the top line, as well as the bottom.
There are various reports and surveys which attempt to quantify the return on investment in workplace wellbeing but, even without investing heavily in financial terms, there are many simple and practical steps you can take within your business to implement some initiatives that will make a difference over time. This is a topic I could write a whole book on (maybe one day!), but here are just a few ideas to think about…
1. Starting a new job can be very stressful, so have a look at how you bring new staff into the business at the outset. Only 12% of employees think that their employers do a good job of onboarding them (Gallup State of the Workplace Study 2017). Could you invite new starts to a social get together in the weeks leading up to their start date? Even a chat over lunch will make them less anxious about starting with you. Could you provide them with some sort of ‘welcome pack’ to make them feel part of the team as quickly as possible? Could you ask someone to be their ‘buddy’, that they can ask for simple help and assistance when they start, e.g how on earth does that coffee machine work?!
2. A survey in the US (State of the American Workplace) found that close work friendships boosted employee satisfaction by 50% and people that have a ‘best friend’ at work are seven times more likely to be fully engaged in their jobs. That sounds good on all fronts, doesn’t it? Think about whether you could offer more by way of social interactions for your employees, from lunches, drinks after work, barbecues, teambuilding days, to Corporate Social Responsibility volunteering opportunities, encouraging friendship amongst your employees.
3. Some employers are fortunate to have deep pockets, or access to investment cash for wellbeing, allowing them to invest in a gym in the office, subsidise gym memberships, or have personal trainers or dieticians come in to the office regularly. However, you really don’t need to go to that extent to encourage your employees to spend a bit more time moving and exercising regularly during their working day, thereby improving their wellness. How about encouraging walking meetings: a brisk 10 – 15 minutes round the block to chat through something you would normally do while sitting slumped in a meeting room to do. You will likely arrive back in the office refreshed, or at least a little more awake, and ready for the next task. Top tip – an initiative like this requires a top-down adoption, i.e. the leaders and managers of the business need to embrace it and start doing it regularly, to help instil into more junior staff that it is acceptable, and in fact is to be encouraged!
4. Could you invest a small sum in having a specialist come in to talk to staff about mental health wellbeing, such as how to spot when things ‘aren’t quite right’, where to turn for support or advice, and some practical hints and tips or coping strategies. You could go one step further and train a mental health first aider within your organisation, which will help to make this an ongoing initiative, benefitting all within your organisation, and helping to reduce time lost to sick leave.
5. Finally, make seasonal events (e.g Easter, Halloween, Christmas) fun! Think about giving out Advent Calendars or Easter Eggs to all staff – not a huge investment, but definitely a morale booster – or having a dress down/up(!) day for Halloween. This can encourage interaction amongst employees, lift spirits in the office, and at the same time be used to generate some money for a charity of your choice.
I hope there are some ideas here that you might be able to implement in your organisation, even with minimal investment. I think you will see an improvement in morale, health and wellbeing in the longer term, and a reduction in sick leave and staff turnover. With proper commitment to employee wellbeing, and a strategic approach to it, you will also see financial improvement to the top and bottom lines too. As I say, a win,win.
Gregor Angus, Senior Business Development Manager
The Cashroom Ltd