Why your business should develop a health strategy

Fruit baskets are a great start but business leaders can do so much more to boost employees’ health

Why your business should develop a health strategy

Studies have shown for every £1 invested in employee wellness, a business saving of £2.50 is made through reduced sick leave and improved staff retention. More tailored programmes are proven to attract and retain a more diverse workforce. So, how can you develop a corporate health strategy to improve your own business performance?

Opinion matters

Firstly, it’s important to understand what makes your employees tick as knowing what staff really want is essential when developing an initial strategy. Once you have this information, you should encourage continuous feedback to ensure your programme is effective.

There are several methods for this, the easiest of which is normally to conduct an internal survey to accumulate opinions. While some employees will inevitably choose not to take part, it will give you a good overall view of current company sentiment.

Another option would be to conduct focus groups or speak to managers to obtain feedback from their own teams. You may be able to achieve better insight here too, as a chat with a manager may garner more in-depth, personal information than a check-box survey.

It’s all in the planning

Building a health strategy is about creating a way of life in the workplace, which integrates a health model into business practice. Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of employee wellness and 40% have already implemented wellbeing enterprises to address this, according to research from the The Health Insurance Group.

You’ve  undoubtedly heard of the standard employee wellness practices: free fruit, sit-stand desks and yoga classes. All of these help to increase workplace productivity and make employees feel more valued. While these initiatives are a great start, you must also consider bigger initiatives.

These offerings don’t need to be overly lavish to have a positive impact. For example, look to update refreshment facilities and provide healthier options to support employee wellbeing. Consider creating designated office areas or even a bit of garden space,where teams can take breaks from their hectic schedules.

Spreading the word

You’ve thought about and planned what kind of health strategy you might like to implement, now you need to get employees on board.

To do this, you need to communicate with all levels of the business to secure company buy-in. Consider group meetings to review the proposal as well as providing one-to-one sessions between senior and junior team members to fully inform them of the details and long-term goals.

You could try introducing change champions too. This is a group of employees who work to improve the health and culture of the workplace by socially connecting with others and helping to educate co-workers about programme offerings readily available.

Evolving approach

It’s inevitable employees will grow and change over time and so should your health strategy.

The return on investment will depend on your original objectives and how you choose to measure these to demonstrate the business impact. Once you have a set of data to refer to, you will be able to update your strategy and measure its success more accurately.

For example, if reducing sickness absence is your main goal, set yourself a test period to start recording absence rates and associated costs against your original pre-strategy base level. You’ll be able to see if there’s a rise or fall in absences during certain periods or when more stressful projects are happening.

Developing a solid health strategy is a pivotal move in all organisations’ journey to supporting employees and ultimately achieving greater retention rates and results. The key to success is to listen to your employees and ensure the strategic impact is consistently monitored, so the strategy is able to evolve with your business needs.

Emma Davidson
Emma Davidson

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