Sir Richard Branson has been one of the most outspoken advocates for nurturing a great company culture and the benefits it has for employers and employees alike. He believes, “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business. It’s as simple as that”, encouraging the importance of fostering employees and how it is the best investment a business could make. Everyone knows that a successful company is built by talented, dedicated employees (even the word ‘company’ is etymologically linked to ‘people’). With the average UK worker spending over 82,000 hours at work over the course of their lifetime, it’s critical that these labour hours are nurtured. In recent years, companies are gradually learning to acknowledge this statistic, rather than deny its existence, and what it means for their business if those 82,000 hours are spent wisely. Studies after studies demonstrate the causal link between a boost in employee wellbeing and productivity; something every business constantly needs to improve.
Many companies are now tackling the issue of employee wellbeing head on and are constantly striving to stay ahead of the game, largely through offering competitive benefits and perks. This is with a dual purpose: benefits not only reward loyal staff, but they play a key part in recruiting talented individuals too. The statistics prove this line of thinking, with 78% of workers admitting that they would likely remain with their employer because of the benefits it offers (WTW). This statistic is up 6% from 72% in 2016, demonstrating the growing importance of a competitive benefits and perk package in employee wellbeing, and therefore what it can mean for employee retention.
With all of this in mind, how can your company boost employee wellbeing?
- OFFER MONEY SAVING PERKS
- ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEE WELLNESS
- FLEXIBLE WORKING
- TEAM BUILDING
- PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Modern life comes with a whole host of pressures. One of the main pressures are money-centric, especially given the economic uncertainty surrounding a post-Brexit Britain. As inflation continues, employees are forced to make their salaries stretch further than ever before. The Trades Union Congress general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “The government has failed to tackle Britain’s cost-of-living crisis. As a result, millions of families are worse off than a decade ago.” It is worth considering offering a perk that saves employees money on things they do frequently. A discount dining club membership prevents employees having to jeopardise their lifestyle when economic pressures take hold; quality family or friend time at their favourite restaurants no longer must be sacrificed, (you can learn more about ours here!).
Let’s be honest, the office environment isn’t exactly a picture of health; with employees tied to their chairs and computer screens for over 8 hours a day, unhealthy break snacks galore and post work pints (although the latter does wonders for office morale). In contemporary society, there is a greater emphasis on health than ever before. A shift in mindset, influencers and habits has resulted in everyone caring more about physical wellbeing than ever before. As a result, more and more employers are realising that healthy employees equal happy, productive employees and are incorporating wellbeing initiatives into their company benefit packages. A few ideas include fruit delivery services (our office uses Fruitful Office, every Wednesday is fruit day!), yoga and meditation sessions and discounted gym memberships. Why not encourage walking meetings? Not only is it perfect for upping employees’ daily steps, a change of environment encourages creativity, is proven to improve interactions between colleagues, and relaxes hierarchical structures of the office.
Flexible working has massively grown in popularity in the last decade. With half of UK employers offering it in order to retain loyal employees, reduce absenteeism and attract prospective talent. There are advantages to be gained by both employers and employees when workplaces offer flexible working as a viable, time management solution. A key advantage for employees is that it provides the flexibility to meet family needs and life responsibilities. It also provides massive benefits around commuting time; with less people on the road at peak times, congestion is reduced, and fuel is saved. There are similar positives to be had for employers. Relinquishing control over employee schedules undoubtedly boosts morale and reduces absenteeism, as employees feel more in control. Of course, flexible work schedules must operate to meet the needs of the business too, but when this can be achieved, the benefits for the business and employees alike are unparalleled.
British workplaces have come along way since the days of The Office, where employees once communicated with one another through inappropriate humour, jokes and intimidation. Now, there is a much greater focus on team building and what a cohesive team can mean for a business. Businesses are constantly trying to encourage collaboration and cooperation between employees, and it is commonly seen as the key to business success. This move towards collaboration and away from competitiveness is the healthiest thing a business can do; collaboration is about understanding who has what knowledge, trusting them and their experience and being able to access that person when you need to. This is critical to the productivity of the workforce, and only works when colleagues are a team, rather than individuals. So, how can this be achieved? Colleagues dining out together is a great solution to this. ‘Companion' comes from 'panis', the Latin word for bread. Originally, the word was used to describe someone with whom you shared a meal. Encourage your colleagues to become companions, rather than people who share the same room 40 hours a week. Host team building days and introduce activities that allow colleagues to really get to know each other (Tough Mudder is a great idea). There are plenty of ideas online, get creative.
According to one survey, 94% of millennials reported making personal improvement commitments. This staggering statistic translates to the workplace too, with millennials constantly looking for careers that will challenge them. Encouraging a company culture that pursues personal growth alongside business strategy is a recipe for success. A business that cares about an employee’s personal development can only result in a more engaged, productive and dedicated workforce. So, how can this be integrated into the workplace? Firstly, encourage self-investment. Your company can encourage this type of mindset by supporting opportunities for development, particularly in areas that are related to their job title. Secondly, enforce appropriate goal setting. These goals should be measurable goals that are able to be realistically achieved by the individual. Strategies must then be put in place to ensure these goals are accomplished and leave the employee feeling a sense of achievement.