Employee productivity is top priority for wellness programs, according to Xerox survey

If a business is to thrive, the focus of its wellbeing program should be on increasing employee productivity, according to survey results from a 2016 Xerox study, “Working Well: A Global Survey of Workforce Wellbeing Strategies”. Improving productivity rose from fourth in 2014 to the top objective this year, outpacing employee engagement and attracting and retaining employees.

The Xerox HR Services’ biannual study collected data from 428 organizations spanning 33 countries, and it was completed in August of 2016.

“Directly linking wellbeing to productivity has been an evolution,” said Philia Swam, manager of Health, Wellness and Group Benefits at LafargeHolcim and a Xerox Services client. “Early in our wellbeing initiative, we looked at ensuring improvement from a purely health perspective and watched participation in our preventive care program steadily increase. Now we’re experiencing improvements in productivity statistics. One example is our reduction in days people are out on disability leave.”

Financial aspects. Xerox proposes that wellbeing goes beyond the health of an individual and includes physical, mental/emotional, and financial aspects, any of which can have a negative impact on an employee’s productivity. Companies are in turn rounding out their wellbeing offerings, Xerox says, and are particularly recognizing the negative effects of poor financial wellbeing, with two-thirds seeing lowered productivity as a direct impact, and half citing increased absence from work due to financial distractions.

“Healthy, productive employees are the lifeblood of a company,” said John Gentry, president, Xerox HR Services. “In the past, the thought that healthy workers meant productive workers was somewhat of a theory. Today with aggregate data and analytics, there is a much stronger case for return on investment.”

Creating a culture of wellbeing. While only 33 percent of respondents report a strong culture of wellbeing, 83 percent aspire to it in the future. Seventy-four percent of participants view their wellbeing program as an important element of their employee value proposition, aiding in recruitment and retention.

Leadership support. Top-down leadership support is critical to changing the culture. This year 52 percent cite strong support from leaders, up from 43 percent in 2014. From the bottom up, an overwhelming 92 percent credit their local ambassadors’ efforts in supporting a culture of wellbeing.

“We have total leadership support, beginning at the very top, for our wellbeing program and its preventive care focus,” said Swam. “Health and safety is our overarching value and the pinnacle of everything LafargeHolcim does. Therefore, our wellbeing program dovetails right into that. At the same time, getting leadership buy-in meant taking good data and positioning it in a way that impacted our workforce, showing direct relevance and not just recommending a blanket wellbeing program.”

Increased interest in financial wellbeing. Developing a culture of wellbeing gets personal and includes helping employees manage their finances. The survey found nearly all participants offer retirement financial security and preparedness programs (92 percent) and financial literacy and skills programs (91 percent).

Programs focused on financial literacy and skills are the fastest growing, with 24 percent having programs in place one year or less and another 39 percent for just the past two to five years.

“Employers are championing a culture of wellbeing, but they also recognize that there are barriers to achieving it globally, such as differing cultures, laws, and practices, and a current lack of global oversight for health or financial strategy,” said Gentry. “That said, these issues appear to be less of a problem when it comes to global financial strategies, so employers are more likely to quickly get behind implementing global financial wellbeing programs.”

Measurement. While only 36 percent say they have measured specific outcomes from wellbeing programs globally, three out of four respondents say their wellbeing initiatives have produced a medium or high impact on improving employee engagement and morale, organization image, overall employee wellbeing, ability to attract employees, and worker performance and productivity.

SOURCE: www.news.xerox.com.

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