Why Wellness Is a Key Factor in Employee Engagement
The ideal workplace relationship is not between co-workers; instead, it is between an employee’s health and that employee’s job performance and level of engagement. A happy, engaged employee tends to be a healthy employee.
The Gallup Management Journal Employee Engagement Index recently found that about 60 percent of engaged employees, those employees who are involved, enthusiastic and dedicated to their work, feel their work positively affects their physical health. However, when it comes to disengaged employees, those employees who are dissatisfied with their job, this number drops to 39 percent. Out of these self-assessed disengaged employees, 54 percent say their work life has a negative effect on their overall health. The results were even more informative when it came to employees’ psychological health. Seventy-eight percent of engaged workers feel their work lives benefit them psychologically, while just 48 percent of disengaged employees say the same.
It is important for employers to seek out those employees who appear disengaged because these individuals can lower office morale and eventually cost the organization money. The Gallup survey estimated this cost at $3,400 for every $10,000 of salary.
Employer wellness programs are a way to build a workplace community and cultivate an engaged workforce. A survey by Virgin Pulse found that 85 percent of companies say wellness programs support employee engagement, recruitment, retention and overall corporate culture. Some of the goals for an employer wellness program should be to build strong workplace relationships, promote healthy behaviors, improve overall morale, offer mental wellness support and create a less stressful environment. This can be done through a variety of initiatives including:
- Creating ways for employees to connect with each other through group fitness classes, wellness challenges, fundraising for charities, or lunch and learn interactions.
- Promoting ways for employees to get adequate amounts of sleep, good nutrition while at the office, and regular exercise routines.
- Offering food options that are healthy and nutritious at lunch meetings, in the cafeteria and in vending machines.
- Leading meditation groups during the day, educating employees on breathing methods that can be done at their desks, or offering massages onsite
- Offering mental health education and easily accessible resources for employees to obtain counseling and support. Encouraging employees to speak with mental health professionals when a manager senses disengagement.
- Focusing on healthy habits that boost work performance and encouraging employees to take necessary breaks when experiencing stress.
Wellness programs that are developed properly can play a key role in employee engagement. Effective programs look beyond fitness, nutrition and mental well-being and offer customized strategies that fit the organization’s culture. Healthy employees are happy employees and those who feel engaged will be an asset to your organization. If you're looking for ideas to boost your employee engagement strategy, contact us to learn more about the work we do with employers across the country and find out how we can help your organization.