Workplace Wellness – Are your employees happy?

Are your employees happy?

 

Sarah Szul  Health Solutions Manager

Sarah Szul
Health Solutions Manager

Many employers are being challenged with having to deal with budget restraints, healthcare reform, employee retention and ever-increasing health care costs.  It has been demonstrated that 75% of these healthcare costs are due to physical inactivity, increased incidences of obesity, poor dietary habits, smoking, alcohol use and low utilization of preventive care.  However, what is not as clear is the relationship between the level of happiness in your employees and success of the organization.

Recent research has proven that a culture of happiness greatly contributes to a company’s achievements.  The National Institute of Mental Health as well as the World Health Organization reported that depression, the leading cause of disability, costs $58 billion in direct costs and $193 billion in indirect costs per year.  It was also reported that depression leads to more absenteeism than other physical disease.  Stress alone costs $300 billion dollars annually, including lost productivity, workers’ compensation, and leave of absence.

Hidden in all those above statistics are employees who want to learn to change their habits and hopefully want to maintain or improve their health.  Employers who recognize the relationship between building a culture of happiness through wellness programs can garner success in nearly all aspects of their business.

 Increasing happiness in the workplace doesn’t have to involve drastic change or expensive initiatives.  Creating a work environment that fosters employee feedback, open communication, and management support will generate greater company morale.  Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Determine the current level of employee happiness.  If you ask, they will tell.  People generally like to offer their opinions and giving the opportunity, a business can learn a lot about the pulse of their company.  Asking for feedback on the levels of satisfaction will lead to employee empowerment and produce a greater sense of engagement.
  • Integrate happiness into worksite policies with management support.  Even a minor change in dress codes and scheduling will lead to significant rewards.  Employees who feel that their employers recognize that work-life balance is important report greater job satisfaction.
  • Organize a Wellness Team to create events that promote increased levels of physical activity through events during or after work.  Employees who create relationships with one another are more likely to build stronger rapport and work more effectively together.
  • Promote your Employee Assistance Program on a regular basis.  Overcome the stigma that using an EAP is only for substance abuse and depression.  Employers who communicate their EAP programs through wellness platforms have greater utilization and are more effective at supporting employee needs.

The evidence is staggering – creating a culture of happiness leads to greater success for companies.  Happiness leads to greater productivity, less absenteeism, lower health care expenses and greater retention.