Should You Provide Your Employees With Wellness Benefits?
The haunting question for CEOs everywhere- what kind of benefits do my employees expect?
With employee retention plummeting and new companies seemingly popping up every day offering all the perks, the competition for talent is tough.
Just take a look through Indeed or Glassdoor job ads in your industry. Every other business seems to be offering complementary lunches, sparkling water, free branded equipment and merchandise, multiple retreats and paid wellness benefits. It can feel impossible to stack up against such promises.
Employee Retention Statistics
Each month, according to Leftronic, 3.5 million people in the US voluntarily leave their jobs, and 75% of workers won’t stay at their job longer than five years. That’s a disturbing picture for companies across the country, who spent a combined total of $617 billion on employee turnover in 2018 alone, as reported by Mark Herbert of Incentive Solutions.
Are these efforts a desperate cry to retain good, productive employees? It’s very likely. The “grass is greener on the other side” mentality is running through the US workforce like wildfire, particularly with younger generations, and concepts like company culture and employee engagement are top-of-mind for HR managers; many of them admit to making it their biggest priority in the coming years.
Is there no hope then, when employees and would-be recruits seem to hold all the cards? It may surprise you to learn that there are, in fact, many things you can do to increase employee retention. From simple employee recognition practices to implementing retention programs and providing incentives, you can encourage your employees to stick around while easily attracting new talent when there’s a need.
Put Your Employees First- Always
Yes, putting your employees first works. While incentives and programs are both appreciated and enjoyed, the sentiment behind them is what drives the greatest impact. The workforce of today expects to be recognized for the value they provide, and who can blame them? They want to work for a company that values their life outside of the office- a company that gives them the tools they need to create an optimal work-life balance that prioritizes their health, both mental and physical.
Using this point as a launchpad for their employee retention efforts, many companies have opted to purchase wellness benefits for their employees. The idea makes sense- it’s an offer that shouts with genuine respect for the quality of life of employees- a definite brownie point winner.
Why You Should Offer Employee Wellness Benefits
The upside to offering employee wellness benefits extends far beyond winning favor, however. When used as intended, wellness benefits promote productivity. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety; these two brain killers are responsible for headaches, drifting focus, and general malaise, which are all likely affecting employees who don’t have the money to spend on pricey monthly gym fees and classes.
Let us not forget that, with the sudden onslaught of a pandemic, we have all had our share of additional stress this year. Now more than ever, your employees need to place importance on their well being to mentally and emotionally reset. With gyms beginning to reopen, there couldn’t be a better time to encourage your employees to focus on wellness.
By providing wellness benefits, you are a hero to employees who otherwise don’t feel they can justify the expense. For employees who never really considered working out before- seriously considered working out, I mean- we’ve all at least thought about it once- the likelihood of them exercising just increased. This is basic human psychology. It would seem like a waste not to use something given for free. Everyone loves free stuff. So much so, that Gene Marks of Entrepreneur Leadership Network wrote an entire article about this fact (and how to use it to your advantage).
It is no musing of the imagination that exercise makes people happy; science has concluded that working up a sweat releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for pain reduction and mood elevation. The premise behind employee wellness benefits is valid; healthy employees are happy employees.
Ideas for Promoting Health in The Workplace
Whether offering wellness benefits falls within the budget or not, there are plenty of options for promoting the health of your employees.
Bring in The Outdoors
If cost is an issue, you may want to consider less expensive alternatives to pricey monthly gym memberships. Scheduling meetings in an outdoor setting (weather permitting) and hiking retreats can be excellent ways to promote the health and engagement of your employees without breaking the bank.
A natural stress reducer, the outdoors have a healing power; combined with a little movement, your employees will both feel better and be happier working at your company.
Make Mental Health a Priority
Ever hear someone say, “I’m taking a mental health day?” In the US, we often scoff at the thought of needing a day to ourselves. We fall into the trap of believing there is something wrong with us for needing personal time.
In truth, no one should feel guilty about prioritizing their family or themselves over their job. Working these needs into your company’s policies and culture could do wonders for employee retention. Flexible scheduling and work from home accommodations for employees who could benefit from remote work are easy to implement with an effective work from home policy.
Provide Health Education and Training
In addition to providing healthy experiences for employees, offering training, classes, and education on health related topics is a great way to show you care about their wellbeing.
Ideas can range from weekend nutrition classes to personal growth presentations at company meetings. You might also consider holding occasional exercise classes such as yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, CrossFit, or cycling to encourage the exploration of different methods of achieving wellness. If there is something your team particularly likes and it falls within your budget to do so, holding weekly classes or offering memberships to the gym where these classes are held is an additional option.
Whatever you choose, make it relevant, interesting, and most of all, actionable. The educational content you provide your employees with should leave them feeling inspired to take a clear series of steps. While many people want to improve their wellbeing, not everyone is sure exactly how to get started. This is the perfect opportunity to secure a connection with your employees by providing the guidance and support they need.
Lighten the Mood with Music
It is no secret that music is therapeutic. It’s also a medium that humans use to connect to themselves and each other, raise their mood, and keep themselves motivated.
Employee gifts that emphasize having fun and reducing stress make strong incentives for employee retention, engagement, and overall happiness. Gift employees with fun gadgets they can use at the gym or at home to workout with, or simply just to unwind. Speakers, earbuds, and headphones from high quality brands such as JBL are all excellent choices.
If your company can reasonably afford it, providing free wellness benefits to employees is a smart move that will boost both your employees’ health and your bottom line by increasing retention, engagement, and productivity.
However, while wellness benefits are a popular choice, they are not the only way you can support your employees and provide them with an exceptional work environment. The best way to find out what your employees expect from you is to ask them. Schedule a meeting, lay out some ideas, and take a vote.
“What would make working at our company more comfortable and enjoyable for you?”
“How can we better support your needs and meet your expectations?”
You can’t expect employees to meet your needs without attempting to meet theirs, and you’ll never know what those needs are until you start the conversation.
Herbert, Mark. “The Importance of Employee Retention.” Human Resources Today, Incentive Solutions, 2 June 2020, www.humanresourcestoday.com/2018/2020/retention-and-turnover/?open-article-id=13849975.
Lynkova, Darina. “Employee Retention Statistics [What You NEED to Know in 2020].” Leftronic, Leftronic, 20 May 2020, leftronic.com/employee-retention-statistics/.