There are clear bottom-line benefits to having a healthy and happy workforce – it’s not just a fluffy notion. Not only can it help reduce absenteeism, improve engagement levels and increase retention but it can encourage creativity and innovation as well.
Creating a wellbeing culture doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are several relatively low investment options which can be carried out immediately; giving out the strong message that you do care about your people and their wellbeing.
Some of our suggestions include making healthy drinks and plenty of water available, free fruit and healthy snacks, quiet areas, use of headphones for those focusing on work in a noisy environment; encourage exercise, in-chair massage and random acts of kindness.
Work-life balance is also a vital component of a wellbeing culture and nowadays people demand it, with great places to work offering it. In order to offer a clear work-life balance policy you need to identify and understand the organisation and employee needs and aspirations. Then you should engage the leadership team and managers in order to build a supportive environment for implementation.
Once agreed, communicate the policy to all making it clear what the non-negotiables are. And most importantly, monitor, evaluate and evolve – not everyone gets it right first time.
The generation game: why it matters
Generation theory is a subject that is sometime contentious. There is plenty of evidence, however, to demonstrate that it’s well-grounded and sound.
Generation theory seeks to explain how individuals born within one generation (approximately a 20 year period) will have a different view of the world from those born in another. This is because each generation is shaped by different economic, environmental and social norms.
At learnpurple we tend to split the generations by music... So if you bought your first piece of music on vinyl it’s likely you’re a baby boomer (born 1945 – 1961), if you first bought on tapes or maybe very early CDs then you’d be a generation X (1962 – 1981) and if it was CDs and digital music then you’re a generation Y (1982 – 2001).
Each generation tends to have different characteristics which could cause potential distrust or conflict in business. For example, baby boomers have an attitude of ‘live to work’ whereas generation X believe they ‘work to live’ and gen Y, well they ‘work to fund lifestyle’.
It’s easy to see how disparity can happen which highlights the need to be mindful of all generations and points of view, to treat people as individuals and for leaders to understand that the people they manage may well be very different to themselves.
Benefits that excite and enthuse
Let’s not beat around the bush...Benefits are boring. The word is dull, it doesn’t do anything for excitement and as a result many employees don’t understand what it means for them or their families – how they can actually, benefit?! Yet benefits are something organisations have to offer in order to attract and retain the top talent and beat the competition.
Benefits are something which should be led from the top – it’s not just an HR initiative. Working on the basis that people are individuals, we would strongly recommend avoiding a blanket approach, instead taking a flexible approach to benefits – one person may prefer extra holiday over a Christmas gift.
Involve your people; find out what sorts of things would make a real difference to their lives while making you a better place to work. Then decide what is actually feasible, or have a group of employees do this. Once agreed get organised and deliver the benefit consistently; constantly communicating and ensuring your people fully understand what this means to them.
Choosing benefits is also about being appropriate. Make sure the benefits you offer don’t offend or alienate anyone and that it is in-line with you as an organisation; culturally, fit with brand, products and services and field of work. Overall it’s a tricky balance, but when done well it’s a great thing.
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