Bring on the brilliance: The making of great ideas - Teresa Boughey
The phrase ‘employee wellbeing’ continues to gain prominence in the business world, with more recent attention focusing on mental health and the elusive work-life balance. However, a prevailing culture still remains that focuses upon absenteeism and sickness.
It is understandable that smaller businesses are focused on the impact of absence days on their bottom line, but the fundamental health and wellbeing of employees should not be neglected in favour of a ‘numbers’ approach. If employee wellbeing is considered a priority from the offset, the effect of absenteeism will also diminish.
The link between inclusivity and wellbeing
If your organisation wants to become truly inclusive, revolutionising your approach to employee wellbeing is a great place to start. An organisation with all-encompassing wellbeing at its heart is one that is much more attractive to potential employees, especially those with disabilities or who would require extra support. By ensuring that employee wellbeing remains at the core of an organisation’s culture and policies, staff engagement, productivity and retention will all improve significantly, making a real difference to the performance and long-term future of the business.
Consider the root cause
While formulaic methods of measuring absenteeism can show you the levels of absence in your organisation, the human face that is needed to determine the underlying cause is removed. By tackling the causes in your control, possible future absences can be omitted. The obvious Cycle to Work schemes, offering healthy food items and gym membership not only improves physical health, but has a great impact on mental wellbeing too. In addition, making employees aware of your company values by clearly displaying them will show everyone what is acceptable and help to stamp out any cases of workplace bullying before they manifest. Ensuring everyone feels supported from their very first day should also help to limit absence days.
Support those returning
Returning to work after a leave of absence is a daunting prospect but if you have created an inclusive and welcoming workplace, the impact of this will be lessened, as the individual is more likely to look forward to returning. Companies should consider making reasonable adjustments to ease their transition back to work. Relaxed meetings should be available for returning employees so they are transitioning appropriately back into the workplace and are able to voice any concerns they have. For example, if they have had an operation, they may require extra comfort breaks or flexible working patterns. In such cases, you could consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.
Fundamentally, a healthy workforce is a happier workforce, but the business benefits are also numerous with higher employee engagement and increased productivity. Instead of only paying attention when the health of employees is suffering, be proactive and try and limit the impact before it hinders your business.
Teresa Boughey is CEO of Jungle HR and works with executive boards and leadership teams during times of change and business transformations