Do wellbeing programmes really work?

Written for Bloomfield Harris Workplace Wellbeing published on 27 February 2019.

It may seem a strange question coming from a workplace wellbeing business but in this week’s blog post I wanted to share specific details on the impact a programme can make and highlight where our approach came from.

A large scale research project covering 3600 randomly selected employees from companies with 500+ staff from Australia, Canada, Germany, India, UK and USA was carried out by the O.C. Tanner Institute who are an employee recognition and culture consultancy firm.

One of their key questions was to evaluate the effectiveness of wellbeing programmes. They found that by having a generic wellbeing programme there was a 17% increase in ideas and innovation and 14% increase in wellbeing.

However, if you want a more significant impact…

Your wellbeing programme needs to be more than a programme, it needs to become a culture.

O. C. Tanner argue that handing out fitness trackers and gym memberships doesn’t fix your employees’ wellbeing. They found that those organisations who really addressed the issues had more success.

A wellbeing culture is needed to take care of the whole employee and really address the issues.

Their research found that when a wellbeing culture was present there were far greater gains:

  • 24% increase in the sense of opportunity and growth
  • 24% increase in positive perception of senior leaders
  • 22% increase in great quality work
  • 18% increase in work satisfaction
  • 16% increase in employee engagement
  • 16% increase in employees sense of purpose

Based on their research O. C. Tanner proposed a model for attracting talent but it can also be seen as how to create a wellbeing culture. The principles of the model include understanding and responding to the fact that leaders influence everything in the business. Employee wellbeing, sense of purpose, opportunities and recognition will lead to better retention and more engagement. All of which breeds success and attracts high quality employees.

A wellbeing culture also needs to include fair pay, holiday, retirement and the work environment should support employee relationships inc. good communication.

Is employee wellbeing really a problem?

You might question whether wellbeing in the workplace is really an issue but there’s an overwhelming body of research to suggest it is. In my previous blog I highlighted some of the research. In O. C. Tanner’s research they found that 38% of employees felt their work was harming their ability it be happy in their personal life. 36% reported their work was having a negative effect on their physical health and 52% said their employer cared more about productivity and the bottom line than employee wellbeing.

Bespoke Workplace Wellbeing Support

It has always been very important for Bloomfield Harris Workplace Wellbeing to provide a bespoke service. As highlighted by O. C. Tanner’s research a generic programme only has a limited impact on your employees and your business. Why waste time and money making changes to things that aren’t a problem. If it isn’t broken don’t fix it. Our recommendations are based on your employee survey results and your business concerns e.g. employee retention, and therefore are specific to your business needs.

Research driven workplace wellbeing support bespoke for your needs.

If you’d like more information about our approach please get in touch or call 07841 528105.

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