All well and good | Incentive & Motivation

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All well and good

Employee engagement and wellbeing go hand in hand, but how do you get the balance right?

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It is often said that a healthy body means a healthy mind, so it stands to reason that employee wellbeing and engagement go hand in hand. Dr Jill Miller of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development explains: “Feeling our employer cares about our health and wellbeing makes us feel our contribution is valued and that they appreciate their workforce. It is a key factor in our decision about whether we have a good employer. If we look at it from the other angle, disengaged employees are absent from work more and are more likely than their engaged colleagues to‘pull a sickie’.”

Miller cites a 2014 CIPD report which found substantial evidence that employeehealth, wellbeing and engagement are important for organisational success: “If employees are in poor health and/ or disengaged, there are potentially significant risks for their employer, such as: costs associated with sickness absence, presenteeism (employees present at work, but not performing because of health problems) and employee turnover… Conversely, where an employer looks after the health and wellbeing of the workforce and engages employees, they can expect positive gains, including improved performance and productivity.”

WAYS OF WELLBEING

Andrew Johnson, Director General of the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association, notes that while awareness is growing, the definition of what wellbeing means to employers is still a work in progress. “The engagement and wellbeing opportunity is fairly new, and has come from the US partly due to the inclusion of healthcare in employment contracts – something that isn’t necessarily a priority in the UK because we have the National Health Service,” he says. “For that reason, some employers might see engagement and wellbeing as the latest buzz term. “But engagement and wellbeing have gone hand in hand since the dawn of time. What has changed is that employers are now much more aware of this. Health and wellbeing is also more important to employees today than it was to past generations. My dad had a definite view that you live to work, whereas younger people coming in to work these days are definitely working to live.

They’re working to earn money because it helps them to enjoy life, and that makes the link between employee engagement and wellbeing very important.” Johnson says that ultimately, a company’s perspective comes down to its definition of wellbeing versus duty of care – and that depends on its philosophy, culture and function. “For example, as a manufacturer you might have what you perceive to be wellbeing at the top of your list, which is all linked to health and safety – but is that truly wellbeing, or is that part of your duty of care?”

Whilst employee health and wellbeing and engagement are each important for performance outcomes, it is the combination of employee engagement together with health and wellbeing that enables these outcomes to be sustainable over time,” says Miller.

From a reward perspective, employers are engaging with gift cards and vouchers in different ways to promote health and wellbeing, says Johnson. “Arguably, any well-run incentive or bonus scheme is part of your health and wellbeing strategy because rewarding people for their achievements makes them feel good – but the rewards must be chosen with care.

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