· Insights

Why it pays to look after your employees’ health

You’ve spent time and money recruiting the right people for the right job. Now it’s time to nurture them

Investing in your employees’ health and wellbeing is a great way to keep them happy and motivated. It can bring teams together, build morale, increase productivity and job satisfaction, and lead to a decline in absence due to sickness. A good wellbeing programme can be worth its weight in gold. And here’s why.

Addressing wellbeing in the workplace

Workplace wellbeing covers all aspects of working life including the physical environment and the emotional. Having the smartest premises doesn’t guarantee the best place to work.

To feel confident and competent your employees need more than a safe and pleasant physical environment- they need emotional support too.

The pressures of everyday life are immense for working professionals. Juggling work with commitments at home can be extremely stressful.

And in the absence of an understanding boss, the HR department and colleagues individuals can feel less able to cope with work-related pressure. This can result in reduced productivity, low morale and absenteeism. All of which have a negative impact on your organisation.

Creating a healthier work environment

Establishing a harmonious work/life balance is one way for your employees to manage their responsibilities in the workplace and at home. To be successful everyone from the top down needs to buy into it and embrace it, so that no-one feels stressed when everyday things don’t go according to plan.

An atmosphere of openness, with clear communication channels, is a good foundation for any wellness programme. Giving your employees the means to voice their opinions can help them feel like individuals, not just their job titles. This can add to their feelings of positivity about the organisation and their role within it. And, in turn, can lead to higher morale, greater energy and enthusiasm, and lower turnover rates.

Ways to improve employee wellbeing

Small changes can make a big difference to your workplace and the people within it. But, before you launch into a full-scale wellness programme, you may want to invest some time and energy into finding out what matters most to your organisation and employees. A quick anonymous questionnaire can help you get initial feedback.

The benefits of a healthcare programme

Introducing a healthcare programme requires a financial investment. But the physical and mental health of your employees is priceless. Research suggests that organisations with effective wellbeing programmes in place outperform the market, meaning the benefits for business success far outweigh the cost.

Offering private healthcare as part of your employee benefits package is a highly effective way to maintain their health. Many employees perceive it as extremely valuable and a reason for choosing one organisation over another. With private healthcare in place your employees will benefit from a number of incentives, designed to enhance their health and wellbeing, at subsidised prices.

Choosing the right provider

Understanding what you and your employees want from a healthcare scheme is incredibly important. It will cost money and therefore it must provide some form of return – that could be reduced absence or improved recruitment. A badly-designed healthcare scheme that doesn’t meet the needs of your employees is a waste of money. When it comes to choosing the right provider asking the following questions may help with your decision-making:

? How can you help us achieve our HR priorities (retention and reducing absence)?

? How can you help us get the most value from the benefit (return on our investment)?

? How will you help us communicate the benefit with our employees (enabling them to get the most from it)?

? What type of benefits do other companies in our sector typically have? (making us more attractive as a potential employer)

Each employee will face their own challenges when it comes to their health. And this means a one-size-fits-all benefit schedule and administration service isn’t right for everyone. That’s why it may be better to look for a more bespoke approach that allows you to build the right scheme for your employees – and your business needs.

Health Insurance providers, such as WPA, have both flexibility and affordability as a key part of their products and services. WPA is a not-for-profit health insurer that can tailor a solution for companies of all sizes, and could be a perfect fit for your organisation.

Whomever you decide to go with, providing private healthcare as part of your employee benefits package adds value for your existing workforce and increases the appeal of your organisation for potential recruits. It’s a win-win investment. So why wouldn’t you?

Katheryn Vellacott is business development manager – SME at WPA