Wellness incentives can help to boost staff retention

Wellness incentives can help to boost staff retention

Do you believe that wellness incentives can help to boost staff retention? If you have ever wondered if it really is true, but want the facts, we're h

Do you believe that wellness incentives can help to boost staff retention? If you have ever wondered if it really is true, but want the facts, we’re here to help. We spoke to Iain Thomson, Director of Incentive & Recognition at Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services to understand his views on the benefits of workplace wellbeing incentives and asked for the top 10 wellness schemes that companies can offer.

 

Wellness incentives can help to boost staff retention

Staff retention is a familiar challenge for today’s employers. With unemployment low and competition for talent high, modern employers face a difficult task of keeping their staff engaged and content. This is particularly true of the new generation of workers who are notoriously quick to change jobs. As a result, more and more employers are looking into wellness incentives as a way to retain their staff.

By providing a wellness incentive programme that is valued by all, employers can be sure that staff feel valued by the business. Wellness incentives also help to create a more dynamic and friendly working environment that is attractive to both prospective and existing staff.

It is also in the interests of employers to provide incentives like these, as employee wellbeing has a direct impact on company performance. In 2015/2016 alone, 25.9 million working days were lost due to work related illnesses. Presenteeism can be equally as damaging as absenteeism for a business. It is a growing issue, with between 30% and 66% of employees having gone to work while unwell.

It is also in the interests of employers to provide incentives like these, as employee wellbeing has a direct impact on company performance. In 2015/2016 alone, 25.9 million working days were lost due to work related illnesses. Presenteeism can be equally as damaging as absenteeism for a business. It is a growing issue, with between 30% and 66% of employees having gone to work while unwell.

This attitude not only increases the risk of spreading an illness, but also heightens the chance of errors being made. In this way, both absenteeism and presenteeism can lead to increased stress for employees, as staff scramble to cover for lost productivity. As a result, workplace relationships can become fraught, potentially damaging staff morale and retention.

Employee rewards such as wellness incentives can play an important role in preventing these problems, however. Although it may seem like there are a lot of issues to be addressed – from stress-related illnesses and depression to the common cold – there are many ways for employers to support employee wellbeing. Here are our top 10 wellness schemes that companies can offer:

  1. Organising fresh fruit deliveries for the office can provide a healthy alternative to midday snacks and can help to fight afternoon sugar crashes.
  2. Providing gift vouchers for health food stores are an effective way to encourage healthier eating and alleviate the financial pressure of the weekly grocery bill.
  3. Subsidising exercise equipment is a great way to support the hobbies and passions of staff while promoting a healthier lifestyle. With such a wide range of sports, from golf to hiking, this type of wellness incentive allows employers to reward their employees who have diverse interests.
  4. Offering an extra day of paid annual leave is another way to improve mental wellbeing. For example, employers may choose to offer employees a day off in the run-up to Christmas to do their shopping. This will show a great level of care, relieve stress during a typically hectic time of the year, and help to improve employer-employee relationships.
  5. Cycle2Work schemes not only help the employer and employees financially, but cycling has also been proven to be one of the best forms of exercise. It works every muscle group, lowers the risk of heart disease and releases mood-enhancing endorphins to the brain.
  6. A yoga retreat is another excellent way to relax and regroup the team. Yoga builds muscle strength, improves flexibility and posture, and has been shown to increase focus.
  7. Employers can also encourage their staff to get active by organising sports teams such as weekly friendly football matches, which are also an effective way to encourage socialising outside of work.
  8. Corporate gym memberships with discounted rates can also be a great addition to an employee benefits programme. Not only do they help to reduce the cost of an annual gym membership, but they also provide employees with a workplace gym buddy.
  9. Group trips – either abroad or in the UK – can provide the team with an opportunity to escape the office and, importantly, bond with their colleagues. Trips like these often incorporate an element of collective effort, such as white water rafting, but can also simply revolve around a sporting activity such as skiing.
  10. Spa treatments and massage therapies are increasingly affordable and accessible. A spa retreat improves the quality of sleep, reduces the number of sick days and has also been shown to help manage blood pressure.

Wellness incentives are designed to benefit both physical and mental health and improve the workplace culture – but they can also have the opposite effect if poorly implemented. Here are the top five things to avoid when rolling out a wellness incentive:

  1. Don’t make assumptions. If, for example, you plan your wellness incentive programme on the basis that women will prefer yoga retreats and men will prefer gym equipment, you risk alienating – and possibly even offending – staff.
  2. Don’t rush into implementing a wellness programme. A clear strategy is necessary to make an incentive scheme consistent with a company’s values. Small, gradual changes can produce a wide-ranging impact over time.
  3. Don’t launch a new incentive without assistance from external providers. In order to get the best deals on a scheme, shop around and get advice from the relevant experts. This will also help to ease the workload on HR departments.
  4. Don’t be insensitive to staff. Communications need to be managed carefully when introducing a new wellness incentive programme to employees. These incentives are not an opportunity to drop hints regarding weight or diet, but are instead an opportunity to support staff and promote a healthier lifestyle.
  5. Don’t discriminate. Ensure that your wellness incentive scheme is inclusive of the entire workforce.

 

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