HR & Management

Adapting wellness packages for an inter-generational workplace

6 min read

05 October 2017

Physical and mental wellbeing is one of the most significant issues in the modern workplace, so providing your employees with more choice through tailored wellness packages is crucial for growth and retention.

Many businesses are trying to offer as many wellness packages as possible to employees, however, such a large amount of choice can also risk de-valuing your offerings. So, how can business leaders introduce wellness incentives that appeal to a variety of staff members while improving health and providing a ROI for the company?

Do your employee’s needs align with your business values?

Company incentives should reflect values but also appeal to the personal needs of staff. In an ever changing business landscape, a continuous review of your current wellness packages and in-depth research is essential when creating a wellbeing strategy. Why do people choose specific offerings? How many employees select them?

Following and monitoring results is essential to ensure your offerings continue to appeal not only to current employees but to future ones as well. The Great Place to Work report in 2016 highlighted the use of a Trust Index© employee survey to measure engagement, drive and trust levels. Engagement surveys can provide companies with data that can be used to formulate a wellness strategy to resolve any repeatedly emphasised issues.

Don’t speak for others

Recently there has been enthusiasm for innovative perks to attract a younger and more ambitious workforce, such as ping-pong tables in the office and businesses paying for dry cleaning. While this is an important consideration, traditional benefits are still highly valued by job seekers and shouldn’t be passed over in favour of the more “zany” offerings, which supposedly make businesses stand out amongst a sea of competitors.

Unique and exciting wellness packages can be attractive to both current and potential employees, but it’s important not to assume these types of offerings are the only things that will attract potential new talent.

According to Glassdoor’s review of employee benefits, the top preferred benefits and perks actually include more traditional offerings such as paid time-off, performance-related bonuses, paid sick leave and retirement plans.Other high-value benefits are flexible hours and remote working. The 2016 Vitality survey on Britain’s Healthiest Workplaces found these benefits lead to lower absences, greater job satisfaction and better health.

Ensure relevant communications platforms

Nearly two-thirds of employers plan to put a greater focus on communicating their wellness packages in the coming 12 months. Offering a variety of benefits is great for recruitment and retention, but only if they are communicated well. It’s important to tailor messages correctly to each demographic as different age groups and personalities will have contrasting communications preferences.

Younger employees often respond well to instant digital communication whereas older staff members may prefer a benefits booklet or other written communication to base decisions on. Consider group meetings to review benefits options, as well as providing one-to-one sessions between an HR professional and employees to gain a better understanding of which offerings are best suited to individual needs.

It’s not just about “keeping fit”

A wellness programme doesn’t just mean encouraging physical health. Stress is a major cause of workplace absence, and it can lead to, or worsen, mental health issues, as well as other medical conditions if not managed responsibly.

Managers need to be properly equipped to discuss such concerns with their teams so they will also be able to spot the signs of distress more efficiently. There are a number of ways this can be done, such as spending time with staff at all levels, and when doing so, modelling good communication behaviours, like talking about your own well-being.

Businesses can encourage better stress management by implementing mindfulness programmes or promoting apps to help people recognise when to take their breaks. A new study led by the University of Surrey found those who took part in a four-week online mindfulness course reported lower levels of work-related rumination, chronic fatigue and improved sleep quality.

Providing a designated area for employees to relax, away from their desks and have convenient access to healthy food options on-site, will also help to lower stress levels. We have done this in our own business by introducing the Express Hub for our employees.

Companies need to understand and prioritise the best ways to create wellness strategies that have a noticeable improvement on both physical and mental wellbeing. With the right research and careful selection of specific offerings, business leaders will be able to not only attract the best talent but also retain current staff members for the foreseeable future.

Emma Davidson, is area retail manager, City of London, at Express