Does staff welfare really work?
The benefits associated with staff wellbeing in a business (also known as welfare) have become an important tool in helping businesses maximise their profits.
Some of the results obtained are turnover reduction, productivity in increase and fewer workplace accidents. Do you know how useful investing in staff wellbeing is?
Many HR professionals don’t manage to measure the return on investments in staff welfare and, consequently, they don’t implement a business-wide strategy – even if they are aware of how important it would be for the success of the business.
According to Reward magazine study on business benefits, the majority (88%) of professionals in the HR sector believed that staff wellbeing is “important or very important” for success for the business. However, only half of them had a strategy aimed at impriving organisational wellbeing.
Why focus on organisational wellbeing?
There are many reasons why employers should focus on the wellbeing of their staff.
The World Health Organisation drew up a list of benefits created by the promotion of occupational health, for example engagement leads to a decrease in work-related stress, for managers and employees. (Source: Valentina Pasquarella (2012), La disciplina dello stress lavoro-correlato tra fonti europee e nazionali: limiti e criticità, Olimpus Working Papers)
The most important benefits for organisations and employees are:
- Improvement of public image
- Improvement in staff morale
- Reduction in turnover rate
- Reduction in rate of absenteeism
- Increase in productivity
- Improvement in self-esteem
Wellbeing initiatives: organisational health
Wellbeing initiatives can be based on business objectives, such as increasing productivity or on flexible benefits or staff feedback.
When initiatives are guided by staff feedback, they support organisational wellbeing.
Health and wellbeing at work
Workplace health is often concentrated on safety, but employee wellbeing must also be considered.
A 2014 report from the British Safety Council is useful for calculating the ROI connected to workplace health.
In the study, the financial impact of accidents, injuries, and illnesses on the British economy between 2011 and 2012 was calculated to be £13.8 billion, £8.4 billion of which was constituted of work-related illnesses.
Some businesses are shown to have achieved significant profits on such investments, with returns 12 times the initial investment. The report concluded that investing in health and safety, including in reducing work-related stress can:
- Reduce illness and injury rates
- Increase productivity
- Improve the reputation of the organisation
How is ROI calculated?
Let’s start with some numbers: in the European Union, stress affects around 22% of workers, while in Italy the number is at 27%, a markedly more concerning figure than for other European countries. According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, clinical depression – understood as a primary consequence of work-related stress – will soon become the main reason for sick leave in Europe (link).
According to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, employees affected by stress cost employers a million pounds a year.
For a company with 1,000 employees, this cost would be above £835,000. Through the identification and prevention of this issue, companies could save more than £250,000 a year.
ROI for Human Resources: Measuring HR Results
Without a doubt, attending to employee wellbeing is advantageous for businesses.
The key to securing these benefits is regular communication of the value of what is being offered.
Ultimately, wellbeing should form part of a wider cultural shift which favours a series of iniatives targeted at promoting a healthy lifestyle for staff within their working environment.
How to improve the results of your wellbeing programme – 5 suggestions:
- Determining quantitative results from business welfare programmes can be difficult, so it is important to remember that feedback from qualitative data is just as useful.
- Define the results you want to see from the wellbeing programme.
- Before implementing the programme, analyse the current situation; this will help firms evaluate their efficiency.
- Cultural change towards a business welfare programme needs time, perseverance and patience to happen and be valued.
- Don’t just consider the financial results, but also ones which are indirectly connected to improving the working environment.
Do you want to improve wellness in your business?
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