Why Employee Health Needs to Be the Number One Priority For HR

Benify
4 min readNov 26, 2019

Flexibility, wellbeing, inclusivity and diversity are on the agenda of every HR meeting of every company across the globe. Although we tend to discuss each topic separately, the truth is they are all interconnected and tied to one overarching theme — employee health.

Employee health is an ongoing, long-term strategy representing both mental and physical health that should be woven into the fabric of every company.

Think about it like this — an employee’s health suffers if he or she feels excluded or discriminated. Likewise, if an employee’s needs or wellbeing are ignored or neglected. Flexibility, wellbeing, inclusivity and diversity are all related.

Below we look at each item from the perspective of employee health and how they can be made part of your company’s long-term strategy.

Employee health is an ongoing, long-term strategy representing both mental and physical health.

Flexibility

The average full-time employee spends approximately 40 hours a week at work, which makes up a significant part of one’s week. While work plays an important role in our life, we also need time for all the other elements in our life that make us whole.

This is where supporting employee work-life balance and offering flexibility is important. After all, not every employee’s lifestyle is suited to a 9 to 5 schedule.

Flexible working conditions can mean a number of different things and can be arranged in various ways to best suit the employee and the employer. Offering employees the flexibility to adjust their schedules so that they can attend to other obligations, work from home when needed, look after dependents, attend a gym class, workshop or other appointment which is important to them, is one such way.

Flexibility can also be shown in the form of employee benefits; where employees can choose the benefits that are most useful to them. After all, each employee has their own preferences and needs and both flexible benefit plans and flexible budget models allow employees to do just that.

Wellbeing

A Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees, revealed that 23% feel burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes.

In the war for talent, employee wellbeing has become an ever-vital issue. Prioritising employee wellbeing is a must for every company, or else your employees will simply go elsewhere.

It’s a fact that healthy employees are happier, more productive and take fewer sick days, with levels of absenteeism standing at 27% lower among healthy employees.

One of the most effective ways to support your employees’ wellbeing is through your benefits offering. Whether it’s a discounted gym membership, at-work massages or allowing employees to choose from a range of preselected wellbeing-focused benefits using their benefits budget, the list of ways you can support employee health is endless. Remember, happiness is contagious and can affect the entire workplace.

Healthy employees are happier, more productive and take fewer sick days.

Inclusivity

Feeling connected to your colleagues, the company, its values and workplace culture are crucial factors when it comes to employee health and wellbeing.

An inclusive workplace has a positive effect on employee self-esteem through feelings of being seen, heard and welcomed — an environment where employees feel they can bring their whole selves to work. An inclusive workplace also provides for greater social connectedness, reduced discrimination, prejudice and harassment.

An inclusive culture is one where respect and differences are celebrated. Writing in Workforce, Susan Salka president and CEO of AMN Healthcare, comments: “Inclusion must be actively interwoven into the fabric of company culture so that all people feel like they belong in the workplace — and that they can succeed there.”

Feeling connected to your colleagues, the company, its values and workplace culture are crucial.

Diversity

Diversity allows for unique perspectives in the workplace and has been shown to inspire creativity and drive innovation. Furthermore, recruiting from a diverse talent pool allows companies to find and recruit the best talent out there.

As Lotte Holck, Postdoc, Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, comments in Science Nordic: “Diversity makes us all more open-minded, both in our communities and at work”. The article continues: “Greater diversity leaves less room to discriminate in communities and in the workplace”.

As a result, diversity — like inclusivity — creates feelings of belongingness, which is key to employee health.

Data compiled by virtual event solutions company, Evia, shows that despite the fact that women make up 50% of the workforce in the U.S., they make up less than 20% of those working in tech jobs. At Benify, we follow a diversity success plan that consists of several initiatives aimed at decreasing the gender gap. Some examples of our efforts include bias, diversity and inclusion training for all employees, and the formation of a female network for our women in IT called ‘Benitas’.

So, the next time you’re discussing flexibility, wellbeing, inclusivity or diversity, think about it in terms of one central theme — your employee’s long-term health.

--

--

Benify

Benify offers the market’s leading Global Benefits and Total Rewards Platform. Engage your employees, anywhere, anytime. www.benify.com