The Business of Wellness
The wellness industry is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide and workplace wellness is a significant part of the overall wellness picture.
Many businesses consider workplace wellness initiatives to be an unnecessary cost, but if a business is only as good as its people then it stands to reason that the business should be prioritising the wellbeing of its greatest asset.
If employees are overworked, tired and stressed, it will have an adverse effect on productivity and efficiency in the short term. Likewise if they feel undervalued or unchallenged, the quality of their work will likely diminish. If they consistently operate at overcapacity, continue to feel uninspired and leave the workplace at the end of a long day feeling unfulfilled, they are not going to be bringing their A-game the next day.
And the numbers don’t lie – according to recent studies, implementing a sustainable wellness program is just good business.
The cumulative consequences of employees being overworked and undervalued are far greater than an employee who is inefficient with a negative attitude. This will eventually interfere with their physical or mental health.
Workplace stress costs the Australian economy $15 billion per annum and sickness and absenteeism costs organisations an estimated $3,230 per employee each year. Considering the above statistics and the financial losses associated with not providing some kind of wellness-oriented program, workplace wellness initiatives really are an essential part of any successful and sustainable business plan.
The research in this field shows a significant return on investment on meaningful workplace wellness initiatives. Some studies indicate a 500% increase in worker productivity, which translates to $5 worth of productivity for every $1 they spend on workplace wellness.
Another study found that organisational performance was 2.5 times better, employee engagement was 8 times higher, creativity and innovation was 3.5 times higher and retention of talent was four times higher over a twelve-month period when an effectively managed wellness program was in place.
It’s important to note that workplace wellness will never be sustained by policy alone. We can’t just take a stand on wellness the way we might with a policy on bullying and harassment; it’s something that must be actively sought or maintained by all employees on a regular basis with support and guidance offered from within the workplace.
Such programs require the support of upper management and a driver who understands the foundations of wellness and is committed to not only driving the wellness culture throughout the organisation, but also developing, planning, implementing and monitoring any wellness program tailored to suit the uniquely individual workplace. This is one of the reasons why training within the wellness management arena is vital.
Like any department or core component of business, there will need to be a plan, a financial budget and accountability for workplace wellness, just as there is for personal wellness. The KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) will vary depending on the key business needs that are identified in business planning or reviews or at the strategic planning phases. Examples of common KPI’s include reductions in dissatisfaction on employee exit interviews, reduction in turnover costs, increase in the number of innovations (that add value to the customer experience without adding cost, for example), reduction in employee sick days, increased engagement and inspiration scores at company appraisal time (appraisal of how the company is performing in inspiring engaging them as an individual).
If wellness is not a priority in your business today, it is time to make it one. As we discussed in Wellness in the Workplace the workplace is changing and people are searching for greater purpose and meaning in their personal and professional lives. Modern businesses need to embrace the concept of wellness in order to become an employer and successful business of the future.