Why It’s Time To Have A Wellness Policy At Work

We’re currently experiencing a candidate’s market, which means that your high performing financial services candidates—whether in banking, accounting, administration, or risk advisory—will probably have numerous roles to choose from.  

How do you convince them to choose yours? And once they’ve accepted the role, how do you help ensure that they are happy, engaged, and productive in the role over the long-term? 

Increasingly, candidates are drawn to employers that offer a workplace wellness policy, and employers in the financial sector in Australia are jumping on this strategy in order to attract, engage, and retain high performing employees.  

Is employee wellness really the business of a workplace? Can’t they just go to the gym? 

Well, that really depends on whether you think absenteeism due to ill health or mental illness affects your bottom line. Whether you think an employees’ unhealthy lifestyle and lack of energy affects their performance. Or whether you think loyalty to an employer and engagement levels affects productivity and turnover.  

The physical, moral and emotional condition of your employees has a direct impact on the bottom line, and savvy managers and business owners increasingly understand that.  

Also, consider this: if a Compliance Manager candidate is weighing up your role against a similar company which offers gym membership, massage and wellness days, ergonomic desks, and a free Fitbit thrown in for good measure, which one do you think they’ll choose? 

What kind of hard results can I expect from implementing a Workplace Wellness Policy? 

Good workplace wellness policies don’t just improve health outcomes, they attract candidates and build engagement by showing that an employer cares about their employees’ health and happiness.  

Having engaged, healthy employees matters. They work hard, they take less sick days, and they stay with the company because they feel they are well looked after. Engagement powerfully affects your business’ bottom line. A Gallup poll showed that organisations with the highest staff engagement have an earnings share four times higher than their competitors.  

When you consider that almost 10 days are lost per employee due to absenteeism each year, only 18% of Australian employees are engaged at work,  and that it can take between a shocking one and two years for a new hire to become fully productive, the powerful advantages of a workplace wellness policy in driving health and employee engagement become clear. 

What are some ideas for a wellness policy at my work? 

Here’s the fun bit: you really can pick and choose the things that will work for your employees, and which fit with your company values and circumstances. And remember, these things only work when they’re really well communicated and supported by upper management, so you need to be seen to be getting involved! 

Here are some ideas you might like to implement, running the full gamut from fitness challenges to improving social bonds. 

Fitness: subsidised gym memberships/Fitbit challenges/yoga classes/incentives/start a sports team 

Healthy eating: Healthy recipe swaps/bring a chef in for demo day/healthy snacks 

General health: Health assessments/vouchers for providers- massage/osteo/physio/acupuncture 

Office environment: Add indoor plants, ergonomic furniture/standing desks/healthy snacks/ping pong table 

Stress reduction: Meditation apps/yoga classes/book a masseuse for a day/walking meetings 

Sociability: Have a breakout ‘no work’ space/set up a book swap or book club/charity endeavors/take new hires for lunch 

Incentives: Rewards for stopping smoking/hitting their weight targets/meditating 30 days in a row 

Flexible work: Offer flexible working hours/birthdays off/remote work/combinations of unpaid and paid leave.  

Sick leave: Genuinely encourage people to take sick leave when sick or feeling overwhelmed. Don’t encourage presenteeism as it will bring everyone down!! Also, build sick leave for specialist appointments like IVF or oncology into your sick leave policy so employees feel supported during what can be stressful times. 

How will we know if it’s working?  

 

You should be tracking the costs and benefits of these programs over time so that you know which strategies are proving effective, and which ones might be better cut.   

Run employee engagement surveys and exit interviews, track rates of absenteeism, employee turnover and candidate rejections, and chat with employees about which incentives they’re utilising to see what’s working.  

Are there any drawbacks? 

You’ll need to be clear about what happens to any data collected during incentivised fitness challenges, such as via wearable fitness trackers such as Fitbit.  

It’s also important to consider the emotional impact of workplace wellness programs. Fitness challenges must be voluntary, weigh-ins and other competitions must be sensitively managed, and no-one should feel that this new workplace wellness campaign is making them feeling coerced into participating. You’re trying to improve health and wellness, not add stress!  

The question is, can you afford not to have a workplace wellness policy?  

Until next time, 

Amrutha 

About JobFitts 

JobFitts Consultants are a specialist provider of professional Recruitment Services for the Financial Services sector and related suppliers in Australia. Since 2003 we have recruited and placed a breadth of operational roles at all levels from; HR, Accounting, Marketing and Customer Service/Frontline. 

To find out more visit our website at JobFitts here or call us on (02) 9220 3595 or email here.