Healthy, dynamic companies foster healthy, dynamic employees. Wellbeing programs are a workplace mainstay, offering a way for employers to encourage healthy lifestyle choices and invest in their employees’ physical and mental wellbeing.
A strategic, well-managed program can go a long way to building a culture of wellbeing at work and reducing healthcare costs for your organization. In fact, prioritizing employee health can even improve your business performance by increasing productivity and decreasing absenteeism and presenteeism.
We’re here to help you get a handle on the critical connections between your employees’ health, job satisfaction, and productivity in the workplace.
The Link Between Employee Health and Engagement
Employee health and workplace engagement go hand in hand. Past research has shown that disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, and organizations with low engagement scores experienced 18% lower productivity than organizations with engaged workers.
On the other hand, when employees are satisfied at work, they’re much more likely to be present and productive on the job. Happy employees not only perform better at their jobs, but also tend to stick around longer — meaning a more positive culture can actually help you reduce turnover and retain top talent.
How To Encourage Your Employees To Be Healthy and Proactive
Looking for ways to encourage your employees to be proactive about their health and wellbeing? Try these highly effective tactics.
1. Offer Resources To Support Healthy Habits
Equip your employees with the tools and resources they need to support healthy habits, lifestyle changes and program participation. One way you can do this is to provide access to a personalized digital wellbeing ecosystem like Homebase for Health® that brings everything together in one place for healthier, happier, more engaged employees.
If your team works out of an office, you can also stock the pantry or common area with a regular supply of healthy snacks, such as protein bars, bottled water, dried fruits, and packages of nuts. Or consider providing free access to a meditation or mindfulness app so employees can take mental health breaks as needed and better manage stress on the job.
2. Incentivize Program Participation
Incentive programs are another great way to inspire employees to be proactive about their health and wellness. Prioritize small, frequent rewards, incentivize healthy behavior and milestones, and consider implementing a points system or weekly challenges with prizes for winners to choose from.
Gift card raffles and company swag are popular examples of employee incentives for engaging in wellbeing initiatives. Some employers also opt to reward employees with more cost-effective incentives, like extra vacation days or public recognition.
3. Identify Wellbeing Champions
Wellbeing champions provide motivation, support and encouragement, driving engagement and employee adoption of positive behaviors. Identify your program participants who are intrinsically motivated, and present them as the wellbeing ambassadors for your organization.
Also, remember to lead by example. Managers and executives should do their part by buying in and championing your wellness program themselves, in order to boost participation and drive lasting behavior changes.
4. Encourage Social Connections
Workplace friendships make a considerable, positive impact on employee happiness, job satisfaction, and performance by preventing loneliness and isolation. When employees have colleagues they like eating lunch with, they are consistently less lonely in the workplace. Plus, having a “best friend” at work (and socializing outside of it) can also reduce loneliness significantly.
Alternatively, a recent Cigna study found that 54% of people who don’t have good relationships at work are 10 points lonelier on the UCLA Loneliness Scale, a commonly used measure of loneliness. Additionally, lonely workers are two times more likely to miss work due to illness, five times more likely to miss work due to stress, and they also think about quitting their job more than twice as often.
You can encourage employees to socialize and make friends at work by hosting offsite or online team-building activities. Group lunches, scavenger hunts, virtual happy hours, or friendly competition with virtual workplace challenges are all great ways to encourage workplace friendships. Implementing a buddy system and promoting cross-team collaboration are also effective ways to foster friendships at work.
Build a Healthy, Productive Workforce With the Right Technology
You want the best for your employees. Motivating them to prioritize their own health and wellbeing is key, but even the best programs are only as beneficial as the technology used to deploy them.
Ready to transform your employees and your workplace? The tool you need is at your fingertips. Virgin Pulse’s digital health platform meets each individual’s unique needs through daily engagement, customization options, and in-app recommendations. With technology to put all the resources your employees need in one place, you can simplify the wellbeing experience and encourage proactive health management, ultimately boosting job satisfaction and productivity in the process.