When employee wellness is discussed within the business community, people generally focus on big businesses and their ability to provide lavish wellness benefits, often leaving small business owners feeling as though they can’t compare. However, it is becoming more important to have that conversation with small business owners as well. There is a trend among the emerging workforce that puts health and wellness at the forefront of their job search criteria. In addition, an expectation from employees that wellness is incorporated into the framework of the company they work for, big or small. Below are some reasons why you should incorporate wellness into your business:
1. Get ahead of the competition
When you make wellness part of your company culture, you will stand out among your competitors. It’ll show your employees and potential recruits that you care about your employees. It will most certainly boost morale and help create a positive environment for your workforce.
2. Small business wellness is now affordable
There’s been a long-standing debate over whether or not a small business could even afford to put a wellness initiative into their budget to compete with larger corporations also recruiting top talent. The costs of healthcare in small businesses are shared by both the employer and employee. When a wellness program is implemented and it WORKS, your workforce is, in turn, healthier. There is less use of short or long term disability, and the turnover rates are lower (see number 3). When considering the cost of incorporating a wellness plan, you have to be proactive rather than reactive. Spending on wellness now lowers the expense of employee illness later.
3. Improve turnover rates with business wellness benefits
Implementing wellness into the framework of your small business will impact your relationship with your employees. In small businesses, the internal culture is generally reminiscent of a family bond, and when you include opportunities for your employees to actively participate in their own health and wellness, that relationship gets stronger. Showing your staff you care about them beyond the period in which they punch in and punch out will make them want to stick around.
4. Business wellness programs increase productivity
Small businesses are not spared from the stress of the workday. When your staff is stressed, their productivity is one of the first things to suffer. By offering wellness as part of your company policy your employees will feel inclined to seek out healthy ways to manage their stress. Having these health-conscious initiatives will increase your employee satisfaction and positively impact their productivity.
5. Business wellness benefits promote a healthier workforce
In a small business, when people are absent, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Having unplanned absences can negatively affect your entire workforce, leaving already-busy workers to pick up the duties of those out sick. Let’s not forget that these unforeseen events have the potential of incurring major costs if overtime is necessary to complete tasks. Having a wellness program in place will help combat the many factors that go into illness based absences; the healthier your staff is the less likely they are to be impacted by sicknesses that will take them out of work for long periods of time.
6. Your workforce will be happier
When you work with a small staff, you either get along really well, or poorly, which can be stressful. Incorporating a wellness program in your workplace can bring your employees together. You may consider starting health challenges for your staff that encourage them to work together to complete the goal. Short term goals that involve incentives create motivation for employees to achieve, which helps build a sense of teamwork among coworkers.
How can small businesses build their employee wellness programs?
Now that we have gone over why wellness in the workplace will benefit your small business, it’s time to figure out HOW you can implement it. Consider the following strategies:
Try a competition with a reward involved.
People love to win. They love a prize, so why not create a challenge for your employees that gives them a valuable reward at the end of it? The prize does not have to be lavish. I could be a gift card to a local shop, lunch paid for by the company etc. It can also be something that everyone would really love, like a little extra Paid Time Off (PTO).
Include access to a health club membership.
Providing discounted or free health club memberships to your employees will increase the likelihood that they seek out an active lifestyle. When they can work on their wellness at their convenience, they’ll be more likely to put in the effort.
Offer a customizable wellness program.
When it comes to any type of benefits, your employees love to have options. Just because one type of wellness plan works for one person doesn’t mean it works for everyone. Allowing them to choose a weight loss program that is flexible and interactive will give your staff the ability to adopt a plan that works for them. Having autonomy in their own wellness journey, selecting between plans whenever necessary, allows them to work on their goals at their own pace and make changes when they need to.
Involve your company in a charity event.
One of the best ways to get your staff involved in wellness is to invite your company to take part in local charity events, like a 5k or a walk/run. Your employees will feel more inclined to take part when it’s done for a cause. It’s also a great opportunity to create a positive image of your company with your employees and the public. An unexpected benefit of these types of activities could also be to entice some potential recruits.
Have the conversation with your team
A great way to begin the process of incorporating employee wellness is to have that conversation with your employees. Getting their opinion on what would be beneficial will give you a good starting point. Additionally, being open to their suggestions will foster a trusting relationship between you and your staff. Having their voices heard can build a great deal of confidence. In turn, this can lead to a sense of loyalty and add to overall employee satisfaction.