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Developing a Health Strategy for Optimum Business Performance

Employees are the core asset of any business, and for every $1 invested in employee wellness, a business saving of $2.50 is made from reduced sick leave and improved staff retention.

While many employers are aware of the benefits of promoting health and wellbeing, often it’s done on an ad-hoc basis, which makes it hard to evaluate and achieve the best results effectively.

Express’ Emma Davidson discusses how to develop a corporate health strategy which delivers tangible results for both employers and their staff all year round.

Finding the starting point

A workplace culture which supports employee well-being rather than focusing solely on the bottom line is better for employees and employers because it shows you care about your staff and how they feel when they spend time at work.

However, many business leaders don’t adequately consider the results they want from a wellbeing strategy meaning some programmes end up ineffective in practice, without a good return on investment.

Look at the areas of your business you want to improve. Whether that’s reducing sickness absences, driving more sales or decreasing staff turnover. Having clear goals in mind will mean you can develop a more robust strategy, which will also achieve buy-in from senior management.

It’s all in the planning

To create a healthy company culture, businesses should integrate a total health model into every aspect of business practice, by creating a strategy which supports emotional, financial, physical and social well-being.

This goes beyond an occasional health workshop or free fruit. You need to look at long-term schemes to help you meet your business goals. Consider offering flexible working, setting company health-goals and providing general, ongoing social support to establish a robust workplace environment.

Listen to your employees

Providing frequent opportunities for employee feedback creates an environment where issues can be identified and responded to head-on. One-to-ones are a great way to do this. However, there can be drawbacks.

If reviews are too few, employees may feel their input isn’t valued or may not discuss issues which happened months previously. For some, reviews can be a source of anxiety, so make sure the focus is on a common goal, and any discussions have a balanced focus, with input from multiple sources who regularly work with that member of staff.

Employee feedback surveys can be highly effective. However, there are a few factors to consider. Surveys with broad, over-arching questions will leave you with vague data, which isn’t practical for planning your strategy.

Address specific topics with targeted questions to evoke more profound thought and give more potential for honest answers. Once you have this information, you can analyze the results and try to action the findings into your programme.

Evolving approach

78 percent of organizations expect workplace wellbeing to be measured formally by 2018, so, you need to consider the internal KPIs you need to track to measure the effectiveness of your programme.

Consider issues such as absence levels and staff attraction, retention, morale, and productivity which have quantifiable data attached to them to see progression or areas where further improvements can be made.  

This information may also provide something tangible you can use to show to the C-suite and be seen as more authoritative. If you can clearly show how a targeted approach can improve these areas – and reduce costs – it will be easier to build a case for further investment. 

About the author: Emma Davidson is the Area Retail Manager for Express, a top five graduate employer amongst SME’s in the UK and voted top graduate employer in the Consumer Goods Industry. 

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