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How a health and wellbeing strategy can benefit your company

Creating a full health and wellbeing strategy not only demonstrates care for employees, but it is also beneficial for your business.

Many companies are starting to understand the benefits of health and wellbeing initiatives however, according to research by the Reward and Benefits Association (REBA), less than half of companies (45%) have a defined health and wellbeing strategy in place. Instead their promotion of health and wellbeing is often done on an ad-hoc basis.

Find out how our business health and wellbeing services could support both your business and employees.

Here are five ways in which a well thought out health and wellbeing strategy can benefit your company:

1. Link your health benefits to the company’s wider objectives

By developing a health and wellbeing strategy, rather than just a collection of benefits, you can ensure that what you’re offering your employees helps support the company’s wider business objectives.

For example, if your business was looking to reduce employee absenteeism through sickness by 25%, you could ensure that your benefits focus on helping employees stay healthy, or return to work quicker if they have been struck down by an illness. Alternatively, if you wanted to improve staff retention you should research what benefits would appeal to your staff the most and incorporate those into your strategy.

By linking the strategy to the company’s objectives, it also enables you to set KPIs, showing how the strategy can improve these areas. This in turn could help achieve senior management buy-in.

2. Helps to manage budget

The report by REBA found that 65.3% of companies with a wellbeing strategy had a dedicated budget, which is largely due to the ability to prove their return on investment.

Whilst annual spend on wellbeing strategies is higher for those with a health and wellbeing strategy (£51-£75 per employee compared to £1-£26 per employee for those without a strategy), the REBA report found that spending is forecast to rise fastest among those without a strategy.

This suggests that developing a health and wellbeing strategy will make it easier to secure initial budget and to retain and manage that budget on an ongoing basis.

3. Helps to reduce absenteeism

On average each UK employee takes 7.5 days sick per year1 costing UK businesses £902 per employee2. In 2016, around 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Having a strong health and wellbeing strategy will ensure your initiatives complement each other and help employees avoid health issues, provide greater support and return to work quicker if they do become ill. Some examples of this include:

Help keep them fit and healthy before health issues occur An employee who is physically fit, and looks after their diet, is likely to have fewer sick days as they are generally more resistant to any "bugs going around" than a person who isn’t fit. To help employees improve their fitness and diet incorporate initiatives which help encourage exercise during the working day and provide healthy eating initiatives.

You can also offer health assessments which help employees identify potential health risks and provide information on how they can take action before health concerns become serious. 

Help employees return to work quicker when health issues occur – When employees are off work due to illness, providing business healthcare as part of your health and wellbeing strategy could help them to receive quicker diagnosis and treatment. Benenden’s Healthcare for Business provides affordable healthcare for your employees, which can help get them get back to work quicker with private diagnosis, treatment and surgery.

4. Helps improve employee engagement

Engaged employees are good for business. When employees are engaged at work an organisation can often see improvements in employee wellbeing and performance, productivity, and reductions in absence and staff turnover.

Many companies are now recognising the link between employee wellbeing and employee engagement, and the research by REBA found that more than a third of companies (37%) launched their wellbeing strategy in order to improve engagement.

A thought through health and wellbeing strategy improves engagement as it’s one of the clearest ways for an employer to show it really cares about, and values, its staff. In March 2017, The BMG Research Employee Panel showed an increase in engagement levels of 31% from employees who believe their employer cares about their wellbeing.

Read our article to find out more about how looking after employee's health and wellbeing can improve engagement.

5. Helps to recruit and retain quality people

Our Mental Health in the Workplace Report revealed that if you want to attract and retain committed employees, their mental health, and general wellbeing, needs to be a priority in the workplace.

Our research discovered that almost half (45.6%) of those surveyed would look for alternative employment if they felt their employer didn’t provide support in relation to mental health conditions. This raises to 50.5% if you look specifically at 18-34-year olds.

By demonstrating to current and potential employees that you have a well thought through health and wellbeing strategy, including mental health support and general wellbeing initiatives, you will have a greater chance of retaining your best employees and attracting the best candidates.

As more and more companies invest in a clearly defined health and wellbeing strategy it highlights that employee wellbeing is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but an area of importance to both employers and employees. Employees will appreciate their employers helping them to improve their health and employers will benefit from lower levels of absence and increased productivity – a win-win situation!

If you want to launch a health and wellbeing strategy this year, but don’t know how to start, our article ‘How to develop a health and wellbeing strategy' provides the first steps to take to determine what your strategy could look like and how it could be implemented.

Have you launched a health and wellbeing strategy? Let us know on Twitter or LinkedIn #healthandwellbeingstrategy

To discover how Benenden Health could support your business with our health and wellbeing services please call 0800 414 8179 or visit our Business Healthcare page.