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How to improve employee wellbeing data

Measuring benefit spend is difficult. So what can you do to set your outcomes and encourage your employees to engage with their wellbeing benefits?

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in. These articles are intended for employers and HR professionals, not for individual investors.

Engaged employees feel a sense of attachment to their organisation. This means they’re more likely to stay with that organisation and invest fully in their role. But engagement can result in positive health and wellbeing for employees too.

The researcher, Gallup, found a reciprocal relationship between engagement and wellbeing, with each influencing the future state of the other. Remarkably, they note that workplace burnout is reduced to near zero among engaged employees with a high level of wellbeing.

But there’s a problem. While high levels of engagement at work can transform an employee’s wider wellbeing, the reverse can be said for low levels of engagement. This can have a detrimental effect on the way your employees feel, behave and perform.

While there’s been a rise in employers who see engagement and wellness as vital in protecting their human capital, many simply don’t understand how to measure employee engagement and its correlation to benefit spend. One employer even goes so far to argue that standard measurements of return on investment don’t work when it comes to benefit spend, asserting that setting company specific outcomes, objectives and metrics is a much simpler way to track and measure engagement in the long term.

So, if measuring wellbeing benefit spend is so difficult, what can you do to set your outcomes and encourage your employees to engage with their wellness benefits?

Make the data simple to understand

Employee wellness data doesn’t need to be complex.

If we take the outcomes and objectives example from above, an objective could be to ‘increase mental health resilience among our workforce’, and the outcome could be ‘happier, more engaged and productive people’. Metrics to measure this objective and outcome could be as simple as monitoring absenteeism, staff turnover and looking at EAP utilisation.

The good news is there are simple ways to report this data in a manner that provides business opportunities for improvement and motivates stakeholders across the business to take action. The creation of a dashboard, or in other words, aggregating data into one table with multiple views, can create easy-to-use, comprehensive wellness reports.

As your objectives, goals and metrics have already been set, a wellness dashboard can help you distil complicated data for different units and track engagement month by month.

But what if you’re not receiving the engagement you’re hoping for from your employees?

Don’t underestimate the power of people

In-house case studies and testimonials can be invaluable for employers trying to entice their employees to engage with their benefits. People tend to emulate their peers, and employers who offer employees a chance to see benefits their colleagues have used can encourage participation.

Here at Hargreaves Lansdown, some of our senior leaders shared their own stories about mental health and the support offered by the firm, which was well-received by our employees.

And it’s not just your typical case study that works any longer.

Companies are investing in rich content solutions like video to drive engagement to their benefit programs, particularly when it comes to wellbeing.

Video is so much more human than other, more traditional forms of communication. Viewers can see, hear and relate to the individual in the video more easily, particularly if it’s a member of staff they know. And that’s not all.

Video can also contribute to your wellbeing dashboard, as views, opens and time watched can all be tracked, giving you a more rounded insight into the effectiveness of your video message and how engaged your employees are with the subject matter.

Proactivity not reactivity

Last, but certainly not least, it’s helpful to make your benefits valuable to your employees.

A holistic wellbeing strategy, covering the mental, physical, social and financial pillars of wellbeing can go much of the way towards engaging your employees, particularly if the focus is on proactive benefits, rather than just reactive ones.

From a mental health perspective, benefits such as an employee-funded counselling program or facilitating organisation-wide training can help to prepare your staff in case of a period of poor mental health. It can also help build employee resilience, thus reducing the likelihood of such events happening in the first place.

Physical benefits can include gym discounts or a cycle-to-work scheme, both of which proactively address physical issues before they happen.

Examples of valuable social wellbeing initiatives includes supporting staff to have adequate holiday provision, volunteering days and opportunities to socialise with colleagues (in more of a virtual world than the one we’re used to).

And finally, financial resilience can be built through investing in financial wellbeing at work programmes, where experts provide financial guidance to your employees to help them become more confident in managing their personal finances.

When the four pillars of wellbeing are addressed and align to your company values, those benefits that may not previously have stirred your workforce into action will hopefully drive engagement with the wellbeing benefits on offer. From a measurement perspective, the proactive conditions of an adequate holistic wellbeing strategy can also make it easier to track, measure and record the performance of these benefits.

So, if you’re an employer who struggles with how to engage your workforce with their wellbeing benefits, remember to measure, humanise and provide proactive benefits that matter.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in. These articles are intended for employers and HR professionals, not for individual investors.

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