Dr. Rajesh Mohan Rai
HOW TO RUN AN EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND
These programs don’t just benefit employees but benefit organizations too from the well-being of its employees.
What is Employee Wellness?
An employee wellness program is a set of activities proposed and designed to support better health at work and/or to improve health. Here ‘Health’ would imply in the broadest sense possible covering the entire gamut of health i.e. physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Employee Wellness Programs often include medical screenings, fitness sessions, behaviour change interventions, social support and competitions. The most commonly programs found are Happiness classes, Mindfulness classes, Art of Living Sessions, Yoga Sessions etc. These programs are aimed at providing resources to employees that encourage them to focus on their health and develop positive lifestyle habits. These programs don’t just benefit employees but benefit organizations too from the well-being of its employees.
It may have started as a FAD, however, it is being taken with more seriousness. In the current pandemic the mental and spiritual wellness has taken higher priority for the organizations.
How to Implement Employee Wellness?
Steps which must be ensured for a successful implementation of a Wellness program are:
Strong leadership support is the most critical element to maximizing wellness program participation.
Define objectives of the wellness program very clearly
Obtain employees inputs for suggestions and to evaluate willingness
Obtain all support required – external and internal
Design, Communicate (with compelling messages, marketing collaterals may also be designed) and Implement the program
To increase the participation in the initial phase of the implementation , employees may be given non-monetary incentives
Without wellness program participation from employees it’s impossible to have successful wellness outcomes. An indicator of a successful program is really good wellness program participation.
Why Employee Wellness?
Wellness programs bring numerous benefits to a company. The following are a few of the main benefits that a wellness program brings to the organization:
a) Impact on productivity of employees
Employees participating in wellness programs are less likely to fall sick and remain absent from work. They are likely to be more energized on a regular basis. It makes employees more productive. It is a well-known fact that productivity takes a significant hit when employees don't come in for work. Absenteeism can have the most significant adverse impact on of productivity. Fortunately, wellness programs reduce productivity reduction by preventing the employees from becoming sick often.
b) Impact on the happiness & retention of employees
Employee wellness programs can provide employees with the resources and activities that they enjoy. This means that these programs can increase employees' overall satisfaction and improve employees' happiness. It is becoming common practice by the day to provide gym equipment or athletic activities to employees, The Gen “Z” shall be grateful to their company for these facilities. Employees don't just stay healthy by being engaged in fitness, athletic activities or other wellness activities . A lot of them like these opportunities. The more satisfied and happy the employees are overall with their workplace, the longer they are likely to stay with the organization. If communicated and implemented properly, these wellness activities will have an impact of the attrition which is likely to be reduced and retention improves. By retaining employees longer, the organization gets more out of the investments it makes in the employees when hiring and training them. It also provides the opportunity and reason to employees to brag about the organization to their peers outside the organization. A wellness program is a relatively small and low-cost offering which an organization can, should and must make for employees that could significantly increase their appreciation and enthusiasm about working for the organization. The activities also impact favourably their personal lives too.
c) Impact on Teamwork
It has been often observed that the wellness programs creates a sense of community within the employees participating in a particular activity. Employees can be given the opportunity to work together to benefit their health just like they work together to work in the organization. The wellness program can include team activities like athletic leagues which allow the employees to not only get the exercise they need to stay healthy, but also spend some enjoyable time together outside of the workday. These wellness programs encourage employees to develop bonds and friendship with one another. Participation in wellness programs activities can be a great team building exercise for the organization. These activities give employees more practice at working together to solve problems.
d) Impact on Employer Branding & Hiring
Wellness programs can be projected as an employer branding feature to attract new talent in the organization. A thoughtfully implemented wellness program must be communicated to prospective employees when they are considering applying to open positions in the organization. The same must be communicated to all possible sources of hiring i.e. Recruitment Consultants, Organization Website, Job Portals, News Paper Adv, Campuses etc For many prospective employees, wellness programs are significantly beneficial they are looking for. A Wellness programs projects and rightly so that the organization has a healthy culture. They're good signs that working for a company won't just be a good opportunity professionally, but also may be a good opportunity both health-wise(all health parameters) and socially. CEOs know and understand the importance of how difficult it can be to attract talented and driven employees in the competitive job marketplace. Wellness Program can go a long way in to increase the appeal of the organization among prospective new hires and may favourably impact the future of the organization. A wellness program is a great asset to have for the organization and the prospective hires.
e) Impact on Employee Engagement
Being more fit and healthy, can increase the employees' confidence. More confident employees look at their daily work with greater enthusiasm. They're also likely to be less shy about sharing their ideas with their co-workers. This means that employees participating in a wellness program may be better leaders and feel more free to think outside the box. Participation in a wellness program just doesn’t raise the confidence, but also raises the morale. Healthier employees are more inclined to look at any situation more positively. Positive attitudes create a more wholesome work environment and make it easier for employees to stay engaged with their work and optimistic regarding the tasks and assignments they undertake.
As defined by BlessingWhite, engaged employees are more contributing and more satisfied within themselves and in the organization. As a leader one must conceive, communicate and implement any wellness program at a deeper level in the organization, it must help in creating communities, must be authentic and should create excitement in employees. If the parameters are fulfilled the wellness program can be run without losing the head. No hidden agenda please!