Photo: Quinsey Sablan
The concept of “employee well-being” is not a new one, but it has seen a resurgence in interest with the challenges in the world in the last few years, and employee well-being has been making its way to the top of company consciousness. This interest has many companies scrambling to develop a plan.
There are many definitions of well-being and employee well-being. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) — Europe’s largest professional institute for people management and development, with over 135,000 members across 120 countries — define it as: “Creating an environment to promote a state of contentment which allows an employee to flourish and achieve their full potential for the benefit of themselves and their organization.” The CIPD believes “that employee well-being at work initiatives need to balance the needs of the employee with those of the organization.”
Many smaller organizations would like to ensure their employees have a great sense of well-being when it comes to the workplace, but are hesitant to research or go forward with health and wellness plans as they are perceived to be costly. It is important to remember that a person’s overall well-being includes all aspects of life, not just the workplace. This article will address things any size employer can do at little or no cost to reap the benefits of employee well-being, such as increased customer satisfaction, increased sense of company loyalty and higher productivity.
There are a plethora of items that may seem inconsequential to some; however, they go a long way in employees’ minds and contribute to a feeling of safety, security and health. A few ideas are listed below:
- Providing paid time off. This allows employees time to recharge their batteries & relax and/or care for themselves or a family member who may be ill, such as a sick child. UPDATE: As of July 2015, a new California bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown requires almost all public- and private-sector employers to give almost all workers in California at least three paid sick days per year.
- Providing a comfortable area for breaks and lunches, so employees get a brief respite from the day’s work and stresses.
- Equip the break / lunch room(s) with small appliances such as a toaster oven, microwave, water fountain, etc.
- Small incentive programs like a special parking space for the employee of the month.
- Spread the work around as to not overwhelm any employee. Chances are the high performers already have more than they can handle.
- Encourage healthy living – offer healthy snacks such as fruits & vegetables and water & juice, instead of the usual fare in snack machines.
- Research offering information on health-related employee benefits such as dental or vision. Many times the money employees pay in premiums can be taken from their paychecks pre-tax.
- Be sensitive to employees who may be ill and assist them as much as possible with any options that may be available to them such as a leave of absence.
As mentioned before, the list above consists of items that all employers can do to show their employees that the organization is looking out for their health and well-being. There are firms that specialize in developing health and wellness plans for organizations, which are definitely worth researching if the budget allows.