Javier Cardona
CEO
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Expert Contributor

Prioritizing Staff Health, Well-Being a Great Retention Strategy

By Javier Cardona | Tue, 04/19/2022 - 14:00

Health and well-being in the workplace should be an organizational obligation beyond the legal requirements. If COVID-19 has left us with anything, it has been the interest in providing all employees of an organization with the necessary tools to help them get through the challenges of their lives more easily. Healthy employees are not only happier, with a better quality of life, but they are less at risk of illness or injury, more productive and more likely to contribute to their work.

Employees are more conscious of making choices focused on their health and well-being, choosing not only to consume foods that contribute to their bodily health, to be physically active, to take care of their personal image and to work on strengthening their minds, but also to seek friendlier and more flexible environments and relationships, including at work.

Today, we frame these choices against three scenarios: unemployment, those who are looking for a good job and employees who ask themselves and self-analyze whether they are really satisfied with their current jobs.

Nearly 4 million workers, equivalent to 2.7 percent of the entire labor force, left their jobs in April 2021, the highest number since record-keeping began in 2000.

Another study commissioned by Microsoft reveals that more than 40 percent of the global workforce is evaluating the possibility of changing employers this year.

People are increasingly aware of the stress and anxiety caused by work, its risks and consequences, so finding and staying in a company that not only offers a good salary, stability and growth but can provide other types of rewards related to the location of their activities by opening the possibility of doing it from home or any other place in the world, a solid organizational culture, an open and transparent communication platform for all and a system that incorporates all employees regardless of their area in a structure of equity and respect for their knowledge.

This will increase the productivity, loyalty and stability of the employees in a company.

There are also a variety of nonwork-related activities that became more important for people in quarantine, such as spending rewarding time with their family, doing sports, going to the cinema, meditating and any other dynamic that allows them to maintain a balanced life between work and family or personal life.

Companies and human resources departments have a great challenge when it comes to retaining talent and creating friendly workplaces. In addition to monetary compensation, they must develop strategies that prioritize health and well-being to meet the needs and desires of their employees and which involve organizational factors, including:

  • Training and leadership
  • Corporate values
  • Actions to improve the working environment

A study in Australia found that a healthy worker is three times more effective than a less healthy one, which meant 143 effective hours for a healthy person versus 49 effective hours for a less healthy person. This gives an indication of the importance of prioritizing health and well-being within organizations.

Investing in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce is a worthwhile endeavor. Such cost-intensive actions should be an ongoing part of an organization's planning. Replacing employees is costly and time-consuming.

If you want to know which health and wellness programs can help you demonstrate your commitment to your employees and motivate them, here are some examples:

1. Improve working relationships:Building relationships between all employees in organizations is necessary; people function better if they get along well with their colleagues, as well as being an important component of their mental health. Connections between areas and good communication should be permanent.
2. Flexible working hours:Enabling work-life balance is essential, giving employees the possibility to manage their schedules according to their daily activities, while complying with the organization's objectives, is a big step toward having happy employees. 3. 3. Remote work:We cannot let this article pass without talking about remote work. Offering employees this autonomy and the opportunity to decide on their working day is an excellent option and a sign of trust that everyone will surely value and take advantage of.
4. Good stress management:Employees, leaders and organizations continue to struggle with this factor that leads to mental and even physical exhaustion that can lead to other illnesses. Creating sessions with a focus on stress management and developing mental wellness programs will be an excellent solution to this problem.

And now that we are talking about employee health programs, it is proven that investing in them has different benefits for organizations that go beyond productivity. Some of these are reduction in absenteeism, early care that reduces complications, and positive impact on organizational culture.

In Mexico, the average absenteeism rate is 7.5 percent of the total number of working days per year, which has resulted in a loss of productivity of approximately 40 percent.

Telemedicine is an excellent option for close and immediate protection of all the employees of a company. This type of platform offers complete access to healthcare without long waiting times or lengthy appointment procedures.

It is possible to imagine that this is too advanced or only for large companies; however, prioritizing health and well-being should be done in all companies regardless of their size. A company’s most important asset is still the human being and providing tools for care, protection and prevention is fundamental for the growth of the business and the improvement of results.

Photo by:   Javier Cardona