Nick Court: Should employers reward employees for healthy habits?

Healthy Habits

We know that the overall wellbeing of employees has a major impact on so many different areas of the employee experience at work, which can impact productivity, motivation, satisfaction and so much more.

Employers have implemented all sorts of great benefits schemes to support their employees in having good health, from gym discounts to dental care, healthcare trusts schemes to financial education, and free fruit in the office.

There are plenty of options to encourage a healthy workforce, however, does this simply provide a benefit for employees, that for example, are voracious fruit eaters who now get to eat for free, or does it change behaviours so that employees are healthier?

Firstly, let’s look at why a company would want to reward healthy habits. A study by the University of California, Doing well by making well: The impact of corporate wellness programs on employee productivity, published in June 2017, found that organisations that have a wellness program saw an increase in productivity of 5%, roughly equivalent to one additional productive working day per employee, per month.

Organisations will invest in employee engagement but research by Fairhurst and O’Connor, Employee Wellbeing: Taking Engagement and Performance to the Next Level, published in February 2010, showed that whilst highly engaged employees are generally productive, when that productivity is not coupled with wellbeing, there is a risk of burnout.

So, it would certainly appear that there are some real business reasons for an organisation to want their staff to be healthy.

Whether they are looking to implement a reward scheme to incentivise healthier behaviours to improve employee experience or productivity, if employers cannot measure the baseline and the improvements they will struggle to know what works, why it works and what the improvement was.

So they should consider speaking to their wellbeing providers to understand what data they can give them and how they can help show improvements, and most importantly, speak to their people. Ask them what they want and let them help to design incentives and wellbeing schemes that are targeted to improve their overall health.

Nick Court is the co-founder and CEO at The People Experience Hub