Since the seeds of employee wellbeing were first planted in the 1880s by George Pullman, an industrialist and the owner of the Pullman Company, wellbeing in the workplace has come a long way and has expanded into covering a range of areas from physical to mental wellbeing.
While wellbeing for employees used to be seen as ‘nice-to-have’ or wasn’t considered a part of an organisation’s responsibilities, today, the perception has changed. With research suggesting that the economic value of investing in employee wellbeing in the UK is worth billions, businesses are promoting new wellbeing initiatives as means of retaining employees and recruiting new ones.
According to The Independent, the average Briton spends 3,507 days—including an additional 204 days of overtime—at work, translating to over 84,000 hours during the course of their lives. Spending a significant amount of time at work means that careers have a profound impact on employees and, therefore, their search for the right opportunity in a workplace that values their wellbeing cannot be ignored.
Are businesses getting value for their money?
Even with the strides businesses have made over the years, wellbeing remains a complex subject for decision-makers. Millions have been spent on introducing wellbeing initiatives to foster a happy and healthy workforce.
A study found that 82% of UK employees believe that their employers have a responsibility to support their mental and physical health, while 45% state that they would consider resigning and joining another company where wellbeing is a top priority.
But with the current state of the global economy and employers struggling to tighten their budgets, it’s understandable that employers are trying to understand the returns that their investment in wellbeing is making.
But how do employers get an accurate picture of the value wellbeing efforts are adding to their businesses?
One of the ways to gauge its value is by targeting a single problem to make sure that your intervention is making a difference in the lives of your employees. For instance, if you’re planning on introducing an in-house counsellor, send out a company-wide survey to understand your employees’ satisfaction levels. Then after a few months, send out another survey to see if there’s a difference.
Depending on the size of your company, you can roll it out to a select group of employees in your company for testing and then introduce it company-wide based on its success.
How can you solve the retention problem?
By now, the connection between employee wellbeing and retention has been well established. When considering the cost that businesses need to take into account when replacing an employee, UK businesses on average are incurring costs equivalent to 6-9 months’ salary of an employee. This includes the salary, recruitment and training costs.
Many employees who have access to wellbeing initiatives grow with the company as they feel that they are taken care of by their business. As a result, businesses have experienced low turnover.
While retention is a key area that businesses focus on when introducing wellbeing initiatives, recruitment can also benefit from implementing these initiatives as prospective employees are far more likely to join a company that is concerned about them and offers a range of programmes to increase both personal and professional wellbeing.
Businesses that make an effort to help employees feel valued understand that it’s more than just a figure that can be found on a spreadsheet or an application for an award. Ask yourself if the wellbeing initiatives you’re offering your employees are making a difference in their lives and in their performance at work. Does it make them want to have a longer career with you or would they rather field other options?
Final thoughts on employee wellbeing from Kinhub
The message that employees are sending employers is clear. Wellbeing initiatives that help employees fulfil their needs to lead a more happy, healthy, and content life are the key to a successful and profitable business.
If you make the necessary changes to give employees what they’re searching for, the employee wellbeing initiatives you put in place will be well worth the investment. And in case you’re thinking of slashing your wellbeing budget, consider the costs you could be incurring as your employees start to search for better and more fulfilling roles.