Every organization is built with the vision ‘to be successful in its sphere’. Their visions no doubt travel through rough paths, multiplied or subtracted failures and successes; but what defines them is their sustainability. Winston Churchill had once said, ‘Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.’
Employees are the substance to their vision and ensure that their travel remains smooth all along. The core responsibility lies with the industry to create in-house scenarios that promote their well-being and longevity. One among the many initiatives companies are currently undertaking are the employee health and wellness programs.
These can be pushed as ‘portfolios of services’ that help people manage and improve their health and wellness. Such services are offered through channels that are multiple; they focus on either of the two things or both; they drive preventive care to manage specific health events (eg. maternity), coach in lifestyle changes (irregular eating habits and smoking, consuming alcohol) through various events, or be a continuous bridge in between and endorse health and fitness (sports clubs, gyms within their vicinity etc.)
The health of the employees have a direct effect on the company’s profits and productivity. When industries develop understandings in this sense, they benefit in the process of ‘engagement with the workforce’ and employees associate their advancements with them.
Google, Microsoft offer and simultaneously receive benefits from such programs. Google’s initiatives can be coined as the ‘granddaddy’ of all because their campus offers onsite healthcare services, access to fitness health centers, financial advisors, flexible hours, vacation time and everything that help achieve employees a ‘work-life’ balance. Microsoft cafes are stocked with healthy dining options, which include ‘Real Easy Wellness’ labeling system that help employees identify healthy food options. A study in Journal of Occupational and Environmental medicine states that when employees leveraged their employee wellness programs to make lifestyle changes, they ended up saving about $353 recouped productivity, per person per year.
Such programs do not always need a high-budget. The intent is enough in such cases on the part of the employer and they can come up with low-cost strategies for the employees.
These can constitute:
- Flexible working hours
- Support physical activity breaks, such as stretching or walking
- Host walk-and-talk meetings / design walk paths
- Motivational signs at escalators to promote use of staircases
- Regular send-outs of healthy food messages via multiple channels (emails, posters)
- Create a ‘tobacco-free’ policy within the vicinity to discourage its use
- Onsite individual or group health counselling sessions
- Provision of short naps after lunch hours
- Corporate health discounts at recreation centers, health clubs
- Ergonomic workstations
- Provide a ventilated atmosphere
Companies can maintain an ‘Occupational health’ software where they can record the health status of all their employees. If there are wellness portals, they help to conduct, educate, track, engage, demonstrate, deliver, encourage, and create a health promoting culture.
Accenture has enabled right access at the right time by their program ‘Accenture active’ which is also technology-inclusive. They emphasize their outreach to social media as well, and their USP lies in providing credit towards purchase of selected technology items by selecting a wellness goal.
A good company culture comprises of tons of variables, and many of them challenging to pinpoint. Employee wellness programs benefit a company culture and boost employee adaptability. Continuous efforts on the organization’s part can help pursue disciplined succession and preserves organizational gravity. These programs demonstrate cohesiveness and interaction, mutual understanding, respect and support, and healthy discussion of ideas – in short, build camaraderie.