Employee Health and Wellbeing vs Financial Performance

Investing in the health and wellbeing of employees and balancing the financial priorities of a business, is still presenting the same challenges for UK employers as it did a year ago; according to the Aviva UK Health’s 4th annual Health of the Workplace Report. This struggle to find balance is basically a battle for supremacy between profit over staff motivation.

Prioritising profit and productivity over work-life balance and staff motivation provides a short-term outlook for business performance, according to principal clinical consultant for Aviva UK Health – Dr Doug Wright. He maintains that leaders in business do see the relationship between having a healthy workforce and productivity – thereby profit; but the primary focus remain on a highly flexible and productive team as apposed to a good work-life balance.

31%, which is almost a third of UK employers want their headcount to produce maximum productivity, while 25% responded that it was a major goal to foster an environment of the “friendly” business which offered a good work-life balance. 39% of employers want a team which can respond to change quickly, so be both productive and flexible, and 27% reported that their chief priority lay in a team which is motivated and enjoy working together. These numbers indicate that in the majority, employers are more concerned about making a buck in the short-term.

Stress is considered to be one of the #1 causes of illness today, some call it the “proxy killer”..

The reason why profitability through maximum output is a short-term outlook – is the fact that while maximum profitability shoulders a business through times of poor trading; the same principles have a negative affect on staff morale. The flip side of the coin is that conditions also prevail whereby stress is given ground to flourish.

Stress is considered to be one of the #1 causes of illness today, some call it the “proxy killer”, as stress itself is rarely cited as the cause of death. There are three stages to this illness, and during the last stage the body becomes incapable of the immunity to fight off other disease.

Prolonged exposure to stress can cause heart attack, cancers, stroke, high blood pressure, infection, diabetes, headaches, insomnia, ulcers, asthma, depression and more – ultimately in response to immune-suppression. It is a serious health- threatening condition, and employers who want in the majority a productive team over a healthy team, may be creating prevailing conditions for stress. In due course, damaging productivity in the long-term.

Positive shifts towards fostering a healthier workplace and healthier workers include offering group risk benefits such as income protection and private medical insurance. Over half (51%) of employers do offer risk benefits, 31% offer private health insurance, 29% have group life available and 14% offer income protection on a group basis. 29% of industry leaders agree that instigating a better work-life balance would make a huge difference to employee health and wellbeing, and 13% were keen to encourage health and fitness schemes company-wide.

Budgets are definitely tight, but for long term benefits to business – healthier and happier employees will certainly be more productive. Workplace wellness programmes are effective as a holistic way in which to engage employees in morale-boosting as well as healthier activities.

Often when organisations do not have the budget to implement a wellbeing and protection strategy they can go someway to implementing a discount scheme to encourage employees to take out the policies at their own cost but at a reduced rate.

We can provide discounted person insurance rates to our clients employees via a vouchercode, suppose you do not offer an income protection plan for staff you can go some way in providing them with a discount scheme to help employees who wish to have the cover achieve this protection at a discounted rate. This can include other products such as personal health insurance or protection for their home with buildings and contents and mortgage life insurance.

They feel happier and healthier, and the knock-on effect is that sickness absence numbers drop, so, productivity increases. Workplace wellness initiatives and activities have also be proven to evoke better cohesion in terms of team spirit, and employees who work better together as a team have proven to be able to get more done in less time.