Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness: A Good
Fit for Business

Andy Campbell,
HCM strategy director at Oracle, @axcampbe

Businesses will benefit from encouraging a healthy mind and a healthy body in the workplace

There is a considerable trend towards companies encouraging their employees to be fitter and healthier in the workplace - from companies giving staff wearable technology such as fitbits and pedometers to track their activity to the provision of standing desks, cycle-to-work schemes, gym memberships and exercise classes and massages in the office.

Similarly companies are increasingly seeking to differentiate in terms of the wider health and wellbeing benefits they offer to staff, from flexible working to health screening and counselling.

Of course employers have a duty of care to their staff but many are now going well beyond the basic requirement to provide a safe workplace and statutory parental, sick and compassion leave.

And it’s not just about being a kindly or responsible employer. There are clear business benefits and a demonstrable return on investment. Great health and wellbeing packages will help attract and retain top talent and will help increase productivity and motivation in the workplace, while cutting down on days lost to illness. Staff will be more engaged and initiatives can be enjoyable and help to bond teams through healthy competition and challenges.

For example, energy company BP America offers its 20,000-plus staff a free fitbit health tracking device and challenges staff to commit to walking one million steps per year, with participation linked to qualification for the company’s premium health plan.

Such initiatives don’t just encourage a healthier workforce, they also increase the amount of engagement between employer and employee and give the company a positive story to tell when trying to recruit talent who are more likely to work for a company that differentiates itself from the competition in terms of the benefits it offers.

 Health benefits and investment in wellbeing initiatives are particularly popular with millennials and should be a key commitment for any company serious about hiring from that generation. 

Health benefits and investment in wellbeing initiatives are particularly popular with millennials and should be a key commitment for any company serious about hiring from that generation. 

Whatever initiatives companies roll out it is important they have systems in place to track their success through key metrics such as enrolment, participation, employee feedback and also measure return on investment via metrics such as tenure, staff churn and reduction in days lost to sickness.

As in the BP America example an element of ‘gamification’ – creating friendly competition that can be on an individual or team basis – can be hugely successful in getting staff to participate in wellness schemes and that gamification must also be tracked and measured in applications such as Oracle HCM Cloud Competitions.

Oracle research suggests the vast majority of employees (90 per cent) believe it is important that health and wellness technology and processes are used to transform corporate culture and create a unique working environment.

Social channels and collaboration tools can also be used to engage with staff and make those performance metrics shareable. Regular communication across such channels can help to quickly embed initiatives into teams and company culture and ensure continued participation and enrolment – protecting against initiatives fizzling out or being a fad and ensuring companies see the return on investment their schemes deserve.

Getting engagement right? See the views of 250 HR decision makers on Talent Management in this report.

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