Achieving employee satisfaction hinges on offering more than a one-size-fits-all wellness programme for your workforce.
It is about offering a wide selection of benefits, and making it as easy as possible for your employees to pick and choose exactly what they want so they feel their personal needs are being listened to and met. Indeed, a subsidised gym membership might be a great perk for some employees, but for others, a relaxed dining area that enables staff to take a break from their desk may rank higher. For employers, it’s about understanding and listening to their team’s diverse range of needs.
Asking staff about what would motivate them to lead a healthier lifestyle can go a long way, and employers should use this knowledge to inform policies. For example, it may be possible to allow employees to adjust their work patterns to incorporate exercise into their day. Even if it’s as simple as taking their lunchbreak early in the afternoon to allow for an off-peak gym visit, this could break down barriers to improving their fitness and work/life balance. Taking this further, by organising initiatives from sponsored walks to tougher physical challenges such as climbing the Three Peaks, can be a fun way to encourage healthy lifestyles while potentially raising money for charity at the same time.
For some employees, workplace setting and environment can have a real impact on their productivity and engagement. In fact, research suggests that those who don’t take their lunch break work slower and less accurately in the afternoon than colleagues who take at least 30 minutes away from their workstation. Employers should avoid fostering a culture where staff are likely to feel guilty for taking their lunch breaks – not only will you create a more positive working environment, you’ll also reap the benefits in productivity. So, whether it’s simply encouraging employees to take a full lunch break, or organising a expedition across the Three Peaks, there’s a lot to offer to help them get the most from their job.
However, if a particular issue among one or more of your employees is being overlooked due to lack of conversation from the top, these ‘perks of the job’ won’t go very far as a standalone offering. Getting to grips with what really matters to the individual, and what changes could have a positive effect on their daily lives is a deal breaker. And with an estimated 27.3 million working days lost in the UK in 2014/2015 due to work-related ill health, the importance of starting up a conversation with your employees should never be underestimated.