Health is Wealth -True for businesses?

Investing in employees’ health by strategizing and providing wellness incentives is done to complete the goal of having healthier employees who work hard and have happy dispositions

Published: 30, Nov 2016

O.C. Tanner, featured on the 2016 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. We help organisations create great work environments by inspiring and appreciating great work. Thousands of clients globally use the company’s cloud-based technology, strategy & design services, mobile application, awards, employee communication and education services to engage talent, increase performance, drive goals, and create experiences that fuel the human spirit. Visit: www.octanner.com/in

Get a fitness instructor and then measure the progress next year by aggregating data of employee wellness parameters. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Get a fitness instructor and then measure the progress next year by aggregating data of employee wellness parameters. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Our body was designed to be mobile, where the lack of activeness leads the body clock to slow down, thus leading to health issues and lessened lifespan. Common sense tells us that being mobile is good for our body, and we do not really need science to prove the point.

The same thought runs much intrinsic in today’s corporate culture, where employee wellness is gaining priority in management’s focus towards employee programs. Investing in employees’ health by strategizing and providing wellness incentives is done to complete the goal of having healthier employees who work hard and have happy dispositions. With a focus on bringing actionable employee measures into the mix, employers are realizing that boosting employees’ sense of purpose with sustainable initiatives and providing them with more sovereignty of their tasks enables greater productivity.

With changing corporate dynamics, the inherent need for organizations now is to focus on employee health and include relevant activities into their over-arching HR initiatives. Practicing Presenteeism can cut an individual’s productivity by one-third or more as it can prove to be costly in health, performance and monetary terms as well. Research done by Statistics Canada in 2014 states that loss of productivity from presenteeism was 7.5 times higher than that from absenteeism. By creating enhanced awareness around health, developing organization-wide wellness activities and developing audience engagement activities, HR managers can manage a robust corporate wellness policy; one that encourages employees to be fit and be productive.

Saying that, corporate wellness doesn't have to solely consist of health scans, gym memberships, and reimbursements. Going beyond the obvious, organizations need to incorporate out-of-the-box wellness measures into their daily activities to get employees interested and cultivate a healthy office environment.

Although corporate wellness began in the western countries in the early 2000’s but has today slowly made a great headway in India as well due to the soaring pressures at the workplace and outstanding performance expected from each individual, every day. These wellness programs have proven to be an excellent device of change and life enhancement beginning right at work. Some worthy examples followed across Indian corporate setups include:

There are quotable examples where leading companies from their respective industries include “Corporate Wellbeing” packages within the salaries of employees. It takes care of the standard and alternative modes of treatment along with basic investigations and provides in detail information about their health, coaches and tracks their fitness.

In a nutshell, engagement, motivation, support, and strategy are the keys to a successful employee well-being program. Here are some salient points above the basic to keep in mind when one designs a wellness program for the employees to bring a better balance in life:

1.    Create awareness on Lifestyle Management, where employee health is under observation by qualified health practitioners. Apart from consulting on health parameters, look out for quality sleep management, which would help employees rest well at night and enable them to be productive at day. Actively tracking mental fatigue and levels of stress of the employees and offer them with timely counseling.

2.    Introduce new age weight management techniques like Zumba, Cross fit training, Yoga, climbing stairs twice a week etc. This would help to evaluate each individual’s goals and not just the complete corporate physical activity tracker. These sessions would not only help employees balance weight and waist but also enable them to loosen the stress rings and bond over some fun and excitement.

3.    Companies which offer technology should engage and track the activities like sleep, water intake, stress levels, weight loss, nutrition etc and personalize these programs same to each ones goals and not necessary a generic leader board with rankings.

4.    Measure ROI with companies who can offer aggregates on the wellness in your organization or risk of a sickness in your organization you could make changes to influence them. Educate your employees on certain do’s and don’ts and support them with changes on healthy nutrition. Get a chef in your canteen to make their meal interesting, get a fitness instructor and then measure the progress next year by aggregating data of employee wellness parameters.

An effort here is to be made that engages with the employee at the macro level and internalizes the effort as an integral part of the corporate business strategy.

Recent trends show that many companies are approaching employee-based wellness programs and truly trying to figure out the right solution to combat rising health issues and healthcare costs. However, unfortunately, many of them are trying to implement wellness programs with no experience and the result is, more programs fail than succeed. Hence, the need now is to be take a leap of faith in building actionable employee wellness programs, as today, employee health doesn’t just remain a goal, but has become the edge to attain organizational success.

By Zubin Zack is the Director and Chief Recognition Strategist for O.C. Tanner – Global Employee Recognition and Engagement Company. Zubin has an experience of twenty years and successfully focused on designing and building sustainable businesses from the ground up. His mission is to shape and execute business strategies including creating awareness, building credibility and educating key business leaders.

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