How to build better workplace health

Good workplace health means better productivity – but how can your business do a better job of looking after staff?

How to build better workplace health

As an industry, HR is moving further away from the idea of being the team responsible for “hiring and firing” and towards creating a better workplace culture. Health and wellbeing within the workplace is a logical extension of this shift in role.

Healthier employees are likely to be happier and more productive in the office. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, the wellbeing market is now a US$45 billion industry, and organizations are increasing spending on well-being by more than 7% this year.

Yet developing a health and wellbeing plan that works effectively for employees has proven challenging for many businesses. Greg Tomb, President of SAP SuccessFactors notes that many such programs fail because they are overly or solely focused on the physical aspects of health and wellbeing. 

“The mark of a successful employee program is one that promotes individual, relational and organizational health and well-being,” explains Tomb. “These areas of focus address both the various health concerns and habits of individuals as well as their overall happiness and engagement in a way that ultimately impacts workforce productivity, engagement and costs.”

Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO of Thrive Global echoes similar sentiments.

“Right now, too many wellbeing programs are focused on downstream harm reduction, working only on the symptoms,” she says. “But for an organization to truly thrive, the solutions have to focus on the root causes of stress and burnout, and on whether a culture of burnout is being incentivized.”

Standardised solutions are clearly not the answer, as they often lack the personalised touch that many staff require. So where can businesses look to develop more suitable solutions?

Dr Natalie Lotzmann, Vice President HR at SAP SuccessFactors, believes that workplace leaders have an important role to play in the process.

Being aware of the importance of people as an organisation’s greatest asset is of key importance, because employee health and happiness levels greatly influence performance and ultimately the organization’s success. Effective leaders, notes Lotzmann, mitigate against the risks to safeguard the business’ success against avoidable health-related productivity losses.

“Leaders need to bring empathy in their teams and they can do this by being both gatekeeper and role model,” says Lotzmann. “Expressing a positive mindset and behaviour will percolate through the team.”

Lotzmann describes them as “multiplying behaviours” which can help foster an empathetic culture that meets people’s emotive needs. 

“This helps people unleash their highest potential, rather than triggering their sense of stress and anxiety to scramble for short-term results,” says Lotzmann.

Creating an effective health and wellbeing scheme for any workplace requires a multifaceted approach. But with the fundamentals in place, you can build an environment that enables employees to perform at their best.

For more insights into how you can build a healthier environment in your workplace, click here – you’ll discover key insights from leading thinkers like Arianna Huffington of Thrive and Josh Bersin of Deloitte.

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