Top tips to transform your employees’ wellbeing

By Luke Prankard, Practice Lead, Health and Wellbeing, Thomsons Online Benefits

Our recent Global Employee Benefits Watch 2016/17 research found that over half of employees think their workplace has a negative impact on their wellbeing. That is a shocking statistic, especially as improved employee financial, physical and mental wellness can bring about real, positive outcomes for businesses. Healthy employees are more productive, more engaged, and more likely to be advocates of their organisations. Yet existing programmes are falling short of delivering on this.

It’s time to transform our approach to employee wellness. Here are some top tips to help you get started:

1. Strategy alignment
As far as benefits are concerned, employee engagement is the single biggest objective for most HR and reward professionals. Employers will be more likely to achieve this goal if they align their people and benefits strategies. If you are looking to increase workforce productivity for example, you may want to introduce benefits that help employees focus when at work. With 2.4 million working households in the UK facing money worries, a financial advice service may be the answer.

2. Segmentation
Sending employees personal and relevant messages can go a long way to encourage them to take advantage of the benefits that matter most to them. The solution lies in segmentation. Divide employees into groups based on their preferences, and send them targeted messages. Those employers who do this are twice as likely to meet their benefits programme objectives.

3. Autonomy
Employees would like to be able to make the benefits choices that work best for them. Not everyone wants traditional wellness benefits such as gym membership; many prefer to choose their own benefits via a wellness pot of money to spend, for example on Zumba classes, music lessons or rock climbing.

4. Tech
Ensuring your benefits are convenient to access is the best way to encourage employees to make full use of what’s on offer. One of the best ways to reach a busy employee – wherever they may be – is through their mobile devices. In fact, employees stated that easy access to their benefits is a top factor in whether their benefits needs are met. Online portals with a clear overview of the benefits on offer are key to driving engagement with benefits.

5. Measurement
Less than 20% of employers currently measure the impact of their employee wellness programmes. But doing so is key to ensuring targets are met, that your benefit programme works for your employees and your business and that you are guaranteeing that return on investment. Data and analytics offer invaluable insight into benefit uptake and interaction globally, enabling employers to successfully measure the impact of their benefits, and wellness, strategies. This allows employers to adopt a more tailored approach and make informed decisions about any changes. Employers who take advantage of the opportunities technology presents are almost twice as likely to be very effective in meeting their benefits engagement objectives.

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Our research found that employers offering flexible and personalised benefits, such as wellness pots, will have around three times as many employees who are extremely engaged with their company.

Taking any number of these tips on board, you will be able to effect real change across your business, not only seeing a better return on your benefits investment, but also by supporting your employees towards leading healthier and happier lives.