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Getting started on your firm’s employee wellness program

Work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives, with one in three saying their work life was either very or quite stressful, according to research commissioned by Mind, a UK mental health support charity. Given this, what can employers do to help? In this Pacific Prime UK article, we’ll go over a potential solution: an employee wellness program. Join us as we explain what this consists of, why it’s beneficial, and how you can get started today!

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What is an employee wellness program?

Put simply, an employee wellness program is a workplace initiative that prioritizes the health of employees. It’s a holistic approach to health, taking into account the full spectrum of health, whether that’s physical, mental, or emotional, etc. There isn’t a standard formula when it comes to these programs, as it’ll largely vary depending on the firm. Typically, you can expect things like flexible working hours to free gym memberships and everything in between.

Importance of employee wellness programs

From an employee perspective, employee wellness programs:

  • Reduces stress.
  • Improves physical and mental health.
  • Builds self-esteem and boosts happiness.

Of course, the full range of benefits will depend on the exact benefits offered. For example, helping employees with financial planning will make them feel more secure in their finances.

As for employers, these programs:

  • Attract and retain the best employees, which is an asset to your firm in the long run.
  • Decrease absenteeism (or employees’ missing work due to ill-health or other reasons).
  • Decrease presenteeism (or employees’ loss of productivity at work due to ill-health or other reasons).
  • Boost employee morale and improve co-worker relations, which is beneficial to your firm’s workplace culture.

Did you know that the UK economy lost almost £92 billion in 2019 as a result of ill-health related absence and presenteeism in the workplace?

Some employee wellness program ideas

Given the aforementioned employee wellness program benefits, it’s no surprise they’re gaining popularity with employers across the UK. These programs are generally divided into three main categories: physical/mental, emotional, and financial. Each one comes with a range of benefit types, so there’s something for everyone. Here are some employee wellness program ideas to give you inspiration:

  • Mental/Physical: Free gym membership, counselling sessions, flexible working hours, and more.
  • Emotional: Reward and recognition, mentoring programs, training opportunities, and more.
  • Financial: Access to employee discounts, loan schemes, financial planning, and more.

How should your firm get started on an employee wellness program?

The main reason why firms may be discouraged from offering employee wellness programs is due to cost and budget reasons. Aside from the fact that firms also stand to gain from such programs, this is a misconception because these programs don’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money.

“Improving mental wellbeing in the workplace doesn’t have to cost a lot. Our research shows that people whose organisations offered flexible working hours and generous annual leave said such measures supported their mental wellbeing.” – Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind.

So, how should your firm get started?

1. Determine your business goal and seek approval from senior leadership

If you’re going to make sweeping changes in your organisation, you’re going to need approval from senior leadership. You’ll have to make sure you properly identify your business goals and theorize how the proposed employee benefits program will help. For example, if the firm is rapidly growing and in need of more employees, you could propose these programs as a way to attract talent.

2. Find out what your employees’ needs and wants are

Next, you should find out what your employees’ needs and wants are. You can use data to give you a good idea: age, gender, health conditions, etc. You could also look at absence and turnover data. Moreover, internal surveys and meetings will likewise help. For example, if you find out that your employees are taking a lot of sick leave, you could offer free gym memberships and healthy snacks in the office.

3. Get an idea of the kind of programs you can realistically afford

Once you’ve got an idea on what your employees’ would need, you should sit down to make a plan of the kinds of programs you can realistically afford. Look back at your business goals again and figure out exactly how the program will help. In addition to this, consider the cost and your budget. A good way to do so is to compare the cost of introducing the program to the cost of not introducing the program.

4. Design, pilot launch, and tweak the program

Now, your employee wellness programs are starting to take shape. You’ll need to design a viable program. After this, it’s time to implement. Based on the program, it may make sense to do a pilot launch first, before going full scale. This way you can measure the impact and adjust the program if needed. For example, if you’re considering introducing flexible working hours, you could implement it one team at a time.

5. Communicate the program to employees and assess the program’s success

Congratulations! You’ve now got a fully-fledged employee wellness program. All you’ve got to do now is to communicate this to employees and make sure they know how to take advantage of the programs on offer. You’ll also want to have systems in place to manage these programs. Don’t forget to listen to your employees’ feedback and analyse how these programs impact your organisation.

Need advice from an employee benefits specialist? Pacific Prime UK is here to help.

Pacific Prime UK is a global health insurance broker and employee benefits specialist, with over 20 years of experience helping firms with their corporate insurance needs. If you’re looking to launch employee benefit plans, including wellness programs, you can get in touch. In addition to support from us, you’ll also have access to our bespoke Prime Care Portal, which helps you streamline all aspects of the plan administration, saving you time, money, and stress.

Contact us today!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime UK
Suphanida aims to demystify the world of insurance by creating informative and engaging content. As a wordsmith, she spends the majority of her day writing and editing website content, blog posts, in-depth guides, and more.

Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys travelling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida