From the desk of Sohini De: Why are companies investing in Employee wellbeing Programmes?
As part of our continuous customer discovery, we observed a few very interesting points while researching UK companies. Looking at customer segments specific to us, we found major challenges for HR teams are talent attraction and management and employee engagement and motivation, while Employee’s health and wellbeing were identified as a challenge by only 3.5%. What does this mean? Is employee wellbeing not a ‘hair on fire’ problem for companies then? Also interestingly those who considered employee wellbeing is a challenge, came mainly from the IT sector.
Upon further investigation, we found although employee wellbeing is not considered one of the biggest challenges, it is definitely one of the top 3 areas of investments.
So does this mean companies consider this as a solution to their biggest challenges and they are ready to invest money in it? This will be our thought but if you think otherwise, we would like to hear your views.
Also, the section who consider it as a challenge, maybe because they are ahead of the curve and go beyond the point of ‘let’s just invest in employee wellbeing and see what sticks’. They probably understand the difficulty of formulating and implementing an effective employee wellbeing strategy.
There are several research showing benefits of employee wellbeing programmes. One particular meta-analysis published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology on organisational wellness programmes* found that participation in those programmes was associated with decreased absenteeism and increased job satisfaction. So we can make an educated guess that it is indeed a solution to the challenges faced by the organisations today but maybe we need to be more aware of how to structure and implement effective programmes, which will benefit both the employers and the employees.
Some of our customer discovery interviewees had concerns about how will this level of investment in employee wellbeing programmes be sustainable in an economic downturn. This is a longer discussion and we hope to talk about it in our next issue, but thinking- about strategising an effective programme is a good start and we leave you with that thought in this month’s issue.
References Parks, K.M. and Steelman, L.A., 2008. Organizational wellness programs: a meta-analysis. Journal of occupational health psychology, 13(1), p.58.