Establishing an employee wellness programme

I recently read saw two quotes from Richard Branson. The first was:

“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

The second:

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

These quotes go hand-in-hand with how employees are a.) treated and b.) incentivised. As a business owner or line manager you’ll have an idea of how much time and resources are involved when training team members. In addition, a team has the potential to either be the making or the breaking of a business or department in terms of achievements, service levels, success rates and added values.

With this in mind, wellness programmes, benefit packages or incentive schemes are an ideal way to a.) keep staff loyal and b.) keep staff happy to work for you and your business. Because the reality is, if you’re not offering these opportunities, another business is, making them competition for your trained workforce.

Now you may be thinking “I’m aware of all of this, where are you going with this blog?” Well, benefit packages cost money, so how do you offer anything an employee may want if you have a limited budget, or how do you offer the best opportunities if you’re starting out? There could be an assortment of reasons for a limited budget, this doesn’t mean you can’t take initial steps in the right direction.

For starters, there is the option of surveying employees annually to find out what initiatives they’d be interested in year by year. As an employee I value being given a voice and the opportunity to give my opinion, and so do many others. I also value my employer being open and honest and communicating with me and the team I work in. So, in the event someone asks for healthcare such as dental cover or Bupa and it isn’t affordable at that time, explain the reasons and set it as part of a five-year goal if possible.

Some options in order of affordability:
• Fruit basket / snacks
• Gym / retail / childcare discount initiatives
• Order an office lunch during crunch periods
• Enter a team into a sports event and cover the entry fee
• Wellness days: onsite sessions including massages, yoga classes
• Healthcare / pension
• Holiday allowance increases
• Sabbatical options
• Quarterly achiever’s treats or trips

If your aim is to employ a happier team, increase retention rates and become a serious contender in your sector, have a chat with your staff, find out what they want and build on those values.

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