Health and wellbeing at work whitepaper


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Health and wellbeing at work have gained a much higher place on the agenda for employers and individuals over the last few years. Government attention on the issue through its welfare reform agenda has helped put it firmly on the radar for organisations and barely a day goes by without mention of the issue in the media.
The purpose of this report is to share this insight and draw on best practice to establish a framework so that organisations can improve the performance of their business.

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Health and wellbeing at work whitepaper

  1. 1. Health and Wellbeing at Work:Where we are atand where we need to beA guide to boosting business successby improving the health and wellbeingof your workforce
  2. 2. ForwardHealth and wellbeing at work have gained a much higher place on the agenda foremployers and individuals over the last few years. Government attention on the issuethrough its welfare reform agenda has helped put it firmly on the radar for organisationsand barely a day goes by without mention of the issue in the media.But while the Government seems to have grasped the importance of health andwellbeing as a workplace issue – it has invested in employee happiness researchand the significant Black and Frost Review into absence and health at work – not allemployers feel the same.There are some forward-thinking companies who are grasping the issue, taking aproactive approach to the health of their staff and reaping the associated benefits. Butresearch suggests that some employers are only just starting to confront the issue andgrasp the opportunity to improve the performance of their businesses.The cost of poor employee wellbeing should alarm any leader: translating the impactof the sickness absence, reactive health costs and staff turnover gives the averageorganisation with 750 staff a bill of around £3,264,000 according to the energiseYouEmployee wellbeing guide.Employees know there is a problem. Research of over 2,000 UK employees, fromenergiseYou, shows 80% of people score just 40% with regards to their health andenergy.With sickness absence and stress levels rising across the UK, poor employee wellbeingrepresents an iceberg which looks set to hit UK business unless action is taken quickly.So the opportunity is clear: employers need to turn their attention to helping theirstaff improve their health to support better business performance.To better understand issues facing organisations around health and wellbeing at workwe asked almost 200 senior HR professionals what their organisations are thinking anddoing in four key areas:• Getting wellbeing on the agenda• Making the link between wellbeing and performance• Practical actions to improve health and wellbeing• Measuring the impactThe purpose of this report is to share this insight and draw on best practice to establisha framework so that organisations can improve the performance of their business.Andy Philpott Oliver GraySales and Marketing Director Managing DirectorEdenred energiseYou
  3. 3. Summary of Key Findings1. High performing organisations are leading the way bytaking a proactive and innovative approach to improvingemployee health and performance.2. Some organisations struggle in terms of knowing what todo and being able to dedicate time to employee wellbeing.This is where a good employee wellbeing provider can help.3. Some organisations view wellbeing activities as an extracost. In a climate where budgets are being cut there is a realneed for HR to demonstrate how the savings and benefits faroutweigh any initial investment.4. Organisations that are reaping the rewards linked to ahealthy energised workforce are taking a strategic approach,with regular wellbeing activities.5. There is a clear link between employee wellbeing andengagement.
  4. 4. Getting employeewellbeing on your agendaResearch from the Best Companies shows there are major business benefits to behad through investment in employee health and wellbeing. These include improvedpeople performance and the financial performance of the business by reducingsickness absence and staff turnover, as well as reactive healthcare costs.Despite this, our research shows some organisations are failing to put wellbeing ontheir corporate agenda. The main issue confronting organisations is a gap betweenunderstanding the difference it makes to business and making it part of businessstrategy. Our research showed that while many organisations (66%) make the linkbetween employee engagement and wellbeing relatively few follow through with awellbeing strategy in their business (33%).A secondary issue is that organisations appear to overestimate the wellbeing of theiremployees – and so underestimate the role they can play in improving it.While nearly half (47%) of the HR professionals we surveyed said the health andwellbeing of their staff is good or excellent this contrasts starkly with our own employeefocused research. This found the large majority of employees (80%) score just 40% onthe key drivers to achieve good health and high energy.For those of us who are interested in improving people performance this presents asignificant opportunity: our organisations need to put employee wellbeing higher onthe strategic agenda and need to recognise the gains which can be made by doing so.Organisations need to create a wellbeing strategy which links business performance,employee performance and employee engagement. “Our organisations need to put employee wellbeing higher on the strategic agenda and need to recognise the gains which can be home advantage”
  5. 5. Taking a proactiveapproach to wellbeingThe way organisations approach health and wellbeing has a huge influence on howsuccessful they are.Whilst it is clear that organisations (96%) are doing at least something to supportwellbeing, the problem is that many only have reactive measures in place such asprivate medical insurance: these organisations are missing out.It is the 61% of organisations that are also taking a proactive approach to wellbeing thatare reaping the benefits in terms of improve financial performance. They are lookingmore closely within their organisation to identify specific health and wellbeing relatedissues and then tailoring their activities, using wellbeing to join up the approach to HRpolicy, benefits and reward employee education and line management.Where organisations and managers take this type of proactive and tailored approachto wellbeing they reduce sickness absence, staff turnover and reactive healthcarecosts. But they also reduce the impact of common wellbeing issues before they havenegative impact on the business.A proactive approach to wellbeing benefits the business by reducing costs andimproving performance. This relies on joining up HR policy, line management andbenefits provision. A proactive approach to employee wellbeing helps deliver thebest return on investment. “Proactivity greatly reduces the impact of wellbeing issues on organisations.”
  6. 6. Measuring the return oninvestment of health andwellbeing activitiesIf the case for doing more to embed wellbeing into our organisations is so compelling,why aren’t more organisations taking it seriously?One clear reason is the perennial issue of measuring the benefits to the business. Whileour research found 46% of organisations said they thought their health and wellbeingactivities met their objectives still 11% say they didn’t and 39% just don’t know. Thereis also a link missing between spend and impact.If, as our survey showed, 76% organisations say lack of financial investment and lack ofbuy-in from the top are the main barriers preventing them from achieving objectiveswith regards to health and wellbeing then the clear message is more work should bedone to ensure objectives are set and their impact measured.• This needs to start with measuring the right things. While our research shows manyorganisations record sickness absence many companies we spoke to question theaccuracy of these figures. And there are still some organisations failing to record thecost of reactive health costs (51%) and employee engagement activity (61%). Thismeans it will be very difficult to get a true picture of the ROI and consequently to getbuy-in from senior managers for health and wellbeing activities – particularly whenbudgets are stretched.To succeed in the argument for wellbeing a business case needs to be built on the linkbetween:• Total spend on wellbeing: benefits and other measures• Absence reduction• Employee turnover reduction• Savings from employee absence• Improvement in engagement scores• Specific business indicatorsRigorous planning and measurement at the outset is critical for a clear business caseand measuring return on investment.It is critical to link any investment in wellbeing to hard performance and businessobjectives. This means getting a true picture of how much poor employee wellbeingis costing your business and understanding where improvements can be made. “To make investment in wellbeing we need understand how to measure its impact.”
  7. 7. Championing employeehealth and wellbeingThere has been much debate about who is and who should be responsible for employeewellbeing. According to the latest CBI absence survey 75% of employers believeemployee wellbeing is a business management priority and research from EmployeeBenefits Magazine finds 82% of respondents believe employers have a social or moralresponsibility to help employees stay healthy.But what is happening in reality? Our research shows HR is most likely to be responsiblefor driving the health and wellbeing of their staff but 10% of organisations do not haveanyone responsible for it.For those of us in HR, reward or benefits there is an important message to take onboard here. The most successful organisations we work with now have someone in HRwho is responsible for employee wellbeing and really drives the agenda. They ensurethose at the top understand the benefits to bottom line and make sure wellbeing andperformance go hand-in-hand from leadership to line workers.Employers now accept responsibility for employee wellbeing but people working inHR, benefits and reward need to seize the opportunity to champion the agenda anddeliver performance gains for their organisations
  8. 8. Putting it all together: ablueprint for making adifferenceAs our research shows, HR and employee benefits professionals often recognise someof the benefits associated with a healthy and engaged workforce but many struggleto demonstrate the true cost of poor wellbeing. Consequently organisations are oftenreluctant to invest enough to long-term measures to really improve the health andwellbeing of their people.Employers have a real opportunity to improve the financial performance of theirbusiness by focusing on the health and wellbeing of their staff. Here is our six pointblueprint for making a difference in your organisation:Set clear objectives: The best companies see real a return on investment becausethey ensure someone is responsible for driving employee wellbeing and create clearobjectives for their wellbeing programme.Get buy in from the top: A second element of success is backing at board level. Gettingbuy-in from your directors and senior team is a must if you are going to succeed. It isimportant to work with experts to identify your challenges, know your numbers andunderstand the true cost of poor wellbeing.Create a tailored programme: It is important to work with experts to really understandthe challenges within your organisation – only then will you be able to identify whatactivities will deliver real change. This will give the opportunity to implement specificbenefits to support your business objectives.Communicate brilliantly: As with any employee initiative, good communication isthe key to take-up of wellbeing activities. Directors and managers need to sponsorand support anything you do.Create a wellbeing culture: Wellbeing programmes should be ongoing, with monthlyor quarterly activities. This commitment ensures health, energy and performancebecomes part of the business culture. It also allows you to focus on specific wellbeingissues and tailor activities.Measure the impact: The success of a wellbeing programme depends on clearobjectives and rigorous measurement. It is important to get the processes andsystems in place as soon as possible so you can measure its impact. This will help youdemonstrate the real return on investment that you are delivering.
  9. 9. Linking up your thinking:What you need to look atand why?Any organisation which wants to take a proactive approach to employee health needsto go beyond the basics covered by health and safety legislation and think aboutwellbeing holistically, this means focusing on both mental health and physical health.The best companies understand the need to educate staff and make it easy for themto keep on top of their health. They do this by:Educating staff about their health: Employees need to understand what simplechanges they can make to improve their health. For example, many organisations offeremployees workshops about nutrition, the importance of exercise and how to get agood night’s sleep.Helping staff put health tips into practice: It is one thing educating employeesabout how to stay healthy but the best companies understand the importance ofgiving them the tools to do this.Making health visits simple: This is about making it simple for employees to visit theright people to keep on top of their health and all round physical wellbeing. Adoptingeyecare voucher schemes or cash plans are an easy way of ensuring employees havethe money to do this.Nutrition: Providing fruit for meetings as well as alternatives to caffeinated and sugarladen drinks is an easy starting point. Some organisations also provide healthy canteens,subsidised meals or even luncheon vouchers which encourage regular breaks and paydividends in re-energising to keep performance consistent through the day.Exercise: Organisations that take wellbeing seriously celebrate sport, exercise andfitness, recognising the benefits associated with exercise in terms of creating anenergised workforce. There are simple steps you can take to underpin the value ofexercise such as offering the provision of showers, cycle racks and storage facilitiesor giving discounted gym membership or launching a formal cycle to work scheme.Whatever it is, organisations should show – from the top down – they value employeeswho value their health.
  10. 10. Culture: All of us will face high pressure and deadlines at some point. The constantbuzz of emails on a blackberry and alerts on a computer combined with managerswho tacitly encourage always-on working styles from early in the morning to late atnight all work to eat away at productivity. The best organisations help their peopleachieve a positive work-life balance. They understand that people need space toperform, relax and take time out to re-energise if they are to give the most at work andyour managers need to recognise and support this.A healthy workspace: Whether it is a cubical in a call centre, a warehouse or the frontline of retail, people perform better if they have a good working environment. Thatmeans computers that work and are set to the right height, the right equipment to dothe job and places where employees can genuinely relax at break time. This is a legalrequirement and doesn’t happen by accident so employers need to incorporate thisinto their thinking about wellbeing.
  11. 11. About EdenredEdenred is a leading provider of reward and benefits which supports employeeperformance. We design and deliver solutions which make employees’ lives easier.Our products and solutions include:Employee Benefits: Luncheon Vouchers®, Childcare Vouchers®, Cycle2Work, FlexibleBenefits, Employee Savings, Total Reward Statements, MyWorkOffers®Expense Management: Premium Card, Eyecare Vouchers®, Clean Way® VouchersIncentives, Rewards & Motivation:Compliments Select, Compliments® Card,Compliments® Experiences, Incentive Award Card, Capital Bonds®, Single StoreVouchers, Travel Clubs, Webcentiv®Communications Services: A comprehensive range of solutions to help organisationsengage and motivate their staffAbout energiseYouenergiseYou is the leading expert in employee health, energy and performance. Wework with companies across the UK and internationally to improve the energy andperformance of their staff.energiseYou focuses on 7 key areas - mind management & resilience, nutrition, exercise,sleep, work-life balance, re-energise and computer use - to help employers improvethe wellbeing of their workforce.This helps organisations to:• Improve staff health, energy & performance• Increase staff engagement• Attract & retain the best people• Reduce staff absence & related costs• Reduce reactive health costs such as EAP’s & PMI