Employee welfare is an important investment for your company. Your company’s greatest assets are its people. When you look after your people, you’re helping to invest in the success of your company and to safeguard its future.
What is employee welfare?
Employee welfare is an all-encompassing term that describes the physical and mental health and wellbeing of your employees. This can include their physical work environment as well as other factors in and outside the workplace that affect their quality of life, health, mental wellbeing and, in turn, their performance at work.
Employee welfare initiatives are designed to look at reducing absences from work as a result of illness or injury as well as encouraging and promoting healthier attitudes and lifestyles which will have a positive affect on every aspect of the employee’s life.
Why employee welfare needs improvement
For employers, the cost of absenteeism is very high. And a lot of absenteeism is related to stress in the workplace. According to the UK 2020 Workplace Stress Survey, 79% of workers report that they are stressed at work.
The major causes of workplace stress include:
- Workplace politics
- Bullying and harassment
- Poor communication
- Working long hours
- Lack of direction
- Poor relationships with manager
- Unsafe working conditions
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected employees’ welfare in many organizations. Staff have more stressors than ever before from a range of factors, including working remotely and feeling disconnected, feeling like they are spending all their lives at work, being worried about their health, recovering from the virus if they unfortunately catch it, worrying about vaccines as well as concerns around other health and hygiene protocols.
Reducing the burden of stress and any other workplace health and wellbeing issues has a direct benefit to reducing absenteeism as well as increasing productivity, lowering staff turnover and attracting and retaining talent.
By neglecting employee welfare, not only will these issues go unaddressed, but you as an employer will become partly responsible for any welfare issues faced by your employees. This means that you will not only have to deal with the costs of having gaps to fill in terms of your team when people take time off for health and wellbeing issues, but the company may also have additional costs in terms of workers compensation claims.
Further financial impacts can come in terms of loss of productivity as stressed employees are disengaged, tired, burned out, worried and anxious and not able to work at their peak.
Workplace safety is also critical for employee welfare. If you don’t focus on employee safety and provide your workers with a safe physical workplace you could also have similar issues on your hands in terms of law suits, lost productivity, down time and high staff turnover. Additionally, depending on the scope of any workplace injuries, you could end up with a public relations issue that would cause customers and clients to reconsider doing business with your company on philosophical grounds.
6 ways to improve employee welfare
By taking these proactive steps you can improve employee welfare within your business.
1. Conduct regular surveys
You can’t fix what you don’t know about. By conducting regular pulse surveys of employees you can determine if there are any new or emerging or ongoing issues that need to be managed in terms of how stressed they are feeling.
2. Conduct regular risk assessments
You should have regular risk assessments carried out to determine how your buildings, properties and equipment stand up in terms of safety so that any issues can be addressed before they cause any harm to someone.
3. Ensure you comply with any government guidelines
There are different rules in different jurisdictions about what companies are mandated to provide in terms of health and wellbeing, safety and welfare standards within their organizations. You should review your current practices to ensure that you are delivering on what you are expected to deliver.
4. Train your employees
Health and safety training for management and employees is essential to ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands about safe work practices and compliance requirements.
5. Offer flexibility
People are often stressed because of the pace of modern life and trying to fit in their family commitments around their job. By offering employees the ability to work in more flexible ways, such as remotely or working non-standard work hours you can help alleviate this stress by giving them more control over their time.
6. Offer health and wellbeing programs
There are different types of health and wellbeing programs often offered by corporations to their employees. This can include discounted gym memberships, health insurance, access to an employee assistance program, access to counselling and access to libraries of resources on managing health and wellbeing issues.
How to promote your employee welfare initiatives
Employee welfare initiatives are often poorly communicated which can affect how much they are used by employees. It can also make employees assume that management doesn’t care about their welfare because they don’t realise there are actually initiatives in place that address their needs.
A common mistake made is that new initiatives are only ever communicated once and management assumes that is enough to let everyone know that they are there. The trouble with this is that the information may be quickly forgotten or missed entirely by employees when the information is initially sent. And when new employees join the organization, they won’t know about these initiatives unless they happen to go digging around the intranet and find them by chance.
A multichannel approach to communicating welfare programs within your company and using repetition strategies will help to reach employees all year round and keep your welfare initiatives front of mind.
The more you communicate something, the more likely it is for the message to be retained. By using different communication channels to repeat your messages, incorporating different elements that suit peoples’ communications preferences, it is more likely they will recall the information.
When it comes to welfare initiatives, consider sending content in the following ways:
- Send information in pop-up alerts
- Use scrolling desk-top tickers to send people to detailed content on the intranet
- Have welfare issues and initiatives included as a standing item on team meeting agendas
- Include a regular welfare tip in the company newsletter
- Start conversations about health and welfare issues on your corporate social media
- Use custom screensavers, corporate wallpapers and digital signage displays to remind people about welfare initiatives
- Create posters for staff break rooms and other common areas
- Send surveys, polls and quizzes about welfare issues, which will also help you gather data.
Employee welfare is a very important issue for all organizations, and can sometimes be difficult to navigate. Putting strategies in place informed by data will help you to prioritize your welfare initiatives and improve outcomes in your organization.
What is employees’ welfare?
The definition of employees’ welfare is efforts that are made to make life worth living for employees. It’s a term that includes the benefits, services and facilities that are offered by employers to their employees for the purpose of providing comfort an improving their lives. It can include monitoring and improving work conditions, providing health and safety resources and infrastructure, accident prevention, and various other measures to ensure that employees are healthy and safe.
How do you improve employee wellbeing?
There are different ways to improve employee wellbeing. This can include:
- Providing access to an Employee Assistance Program
- Introducing friendly fitness challenges between staff
- Providing well-being based employee benefits such as gym memberships, access to apps, discounted healthcare.
- Appoint health and wellbeing leaders
- Ensuring your workplace is safe
- Holding wellbeing workshops
- Providing your employees with access to healthy food
- Offering genuine flexibility options.
How do you manage staff welfare?
To manage staff welfare you need to understand the different factors that may be at play affecting health and wellbeing both inside of the workplace. When you understand the different mental and physical issues that could be impacting your team, you can then begin developing initiatives that target the specific issues that you are faced with. Commit your company to improving the general welfare of employees by showing them you care about them and that you are willing to work to make things better for them.
Why is staff welfare so important?
Staff welfare is important for not only the employees themselves but for the entire organization. Promoting staff welfare initiatives is good for the prevention of stress and for the creation of a positive work environment where people and organizational performance can thrive.