Importance of employee welfare
Today’s employers are developing newer methods of employee retention and are motivating employees to say thank you for taking care of their livelihood through wellness programs instituted at workplaces.
The focus on employee wellness has intensified as health indicators — body mass index, cholesterol and blood sugar levels indicating diabetic and prediabetic conditions — have risen to unhealthy levels in many workers. Both employers and employees are paying dearly for workdays heavy on computer screen time and full of stress. There has been a considerable rise in health care costs for employers in the past few years.
As part of simple wellness programs, employers are offering perks in the form of healthy meals at cost for all employees and free fruit and yogurt in break rooms. Employees are paid cash for meeting weight management goals and they can win prizes such as ipods and power tools just by taking part in the program. Also, there are employers who have virtually no budget for an official program, but do have a staircase to make employees go up and down many times a day.
Overall, there are a vast number of types of workplace wellness programs. In general, such programs encourage people to take steps to prevent the onset or worsening of a health condition or sickness and to adopt lifestyles that are healthier. Workplace wellness initiatives improve company productivity by: • Attracting superior quality
staff • Reducing the rate of
absenteeism and time lost • Enhancing on- the- job time utilization and decision making • Improving worker morale, which in turn lowers staff turnover To initiate an effective wellness program it is essential to get support from senior management just like any other policy matter in an organization. The investment aspect of the program must be presented to the management. It is also necessary to address the needs, attitudes and preferences of employees while designing the program. The possible elements of the organization that would be involved in the program may include, union/ worker representatives, management, health and safety professionals, human resource professionals, employee assistance program ( EAP) provider and external community health clubs.
It would also be helpful to acknowledge an existing group, for instance people going for walks together at lunch, to promote the wellness program at the workplace. This informal group can possibly be turned into a ‘ walkers’ mileage club’, where everyone is encouraged to walk a little with suitable rewards. For an effective implementation of the program, it is necessary to make a strong plan of how to maintain the employees’ interest in the program. Also, what resources ( time, money, people, etc.) would be required is an important planning aspect.
Experts suggest that formally introducing corporate policies that state the importance of the workplace health program are essential for the success of the initiative.
The benefits for employers are obvious. They provide the company with strategic advantages by investing money in a program that will hopefully lower expenses in return, often in the form of better performing workers and lower absenteeism and health care costs. Employees are the most valuable assets for any company. By providing workers with these services, companies improve wellbeing and job satisfaction as well as raise retention rates. The welfare of employees has a direct impact on the success of the company. ◆