Is a healthy workforce the sign of a healthy company?

Our recent Global Wellness Survey highlighted that 50% of participants in the UK now have a workplace wellness strategy. Why are these companies so interested in the health and wellbeing of their workforce?

The survey showed that wellness strategies were put in place as they have a positive impact on employees' productivity, absence and engagement levels. These are three solid business reasons to invest in this approach.

But there seems to be more than just the straightforward business case involved in the decision by these participants, and others, in operating a wellness strategy. These types of companies invested in workplace wellness before the recent flurry of case studies that clearly demonstrate the potential return on investment. It seems likely that they invested in workplace wellness primarily because it reflects the culture and goals of their company, intuitively sensing that the financial benefits will follow.

So can we tell what a company is like from their workplace wellness strategy (or lack thereof)? Well, we can definitely see a number of common themes developing:

Culture - companies which believe that employees are their most important asset are very likely to have a workplace wellness strategy. If your employees are your key business differentiator, then you need them at work; healthy, focused and engaged. Workplace wellness is a key tool in assisting with this and it is not surprising to see a strategy in place in companies with this type of culture.

Engagement - workplace wellness can be an excellent indicator of how engaged employees are with their organisation and how much an employer listens to the opinions of their employees. Most wellness strategies will not work without making sure that they include programmes that the employees want as, without high participation, they will not have the required impact. Again, it is no surprise that companies with high engagement already have a workplace wellness strategy in place.

Strategic thinking - a workplace wellness strategy is often a reflection of an organisation that has a strategic approach to all aspects of their business. Many companies offer a range of health-related programmes to their employees, but these are rarely coordinated in their delivery or communication. Companies that are strategy-led are attracted to formalising their investment in their employee's health to ensure that they have a clear plan to implement and carry out programmes that maximise the impact of this investment. This is often tied to the use of data from a range of sources - allowing this success to be measurable and new trends to be identified.

When considering what type of company you work in and how you manage your employees, workplace wellness can be both an indication of your intentions and a tool to progress your plans. Is your company in good shape?

Andrew Supple is a Wellness Consultant in Health & Productivity at Buck Consultants