Tackling employee wellness should be a strategic objective for business
Is January officially the worst time of the year for employee wellness?
15 January 2018 (the third Monday of January) has been branded “Blue Monday”. For many employees it is a notable date due to a combination of post-Christmas low mood, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills.
While this kind of publicity does help to raise awareness of mental and financial wellness as a social issue, it is important to understand that these aspects significantly impact employers. Furthermore, it is not confined to just one day of the year – it is an area which requires continual management.
No longer simply a “soft” employment issue
Traditionally regarded as a “soft” issue, employee wellness has matured thanks to a series of research studies, particularly those conducted by the UK government, and gaining traction from senior business leaders.
Mental health and financial wellness are proven to be strongly connected (Mind, the mental health charity in England and Wales illustrates the links here), and in turn there is an increasing body of evidence linking these factors to company performance.
The CIPD has identified on the effect on business in terms identifying absence as a simple metric; in fact their 2016 Simplyhealth Absence Management survey stress is identified as the number one cause of long term absence.
With other research showing 4% of payroll value being lost through wellness-related absence in the UK every year, business leaders are taking note and looking at ways to reduce this cost. Add to this the GOV.UK Review of evidence on employee wellbeing and its potential impact on workplace performancethere is a greater acceptance that improvement in wellbeing will result in improved profitability (financial performance), labour productivity and the quality of outputs or services.
Wellness as a strategic imperative for business
Businesses have a keen financial and moral interest to tackle this issue head on. Its ability to affect company performance and profitability makes this an issue of critical importance. Wellness should by all rights, deserve an appropriate financial objective placed upon its head and accompanying strategic plan.
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