Every company aspires to be one, but what are the common characteristics of companies consistently recognised as being a great place to work? While it might sound obvious, in the vast majority of cases it’s simply creating an environment where your people enjoy coming to work. Where they identify closely with the values of the organisation and feel genuinely appreciated beyond just a transactional relationship.
How important is employee engagement and wellbeing in this? A recent Gallup study found that over 70% of employees are disengaged – with physical, psychological and social factors playing a significant role. That’s why a number of leading Australian employers are making significant investments in the wellbeing of their workforce.
We’ve move beyond the era where employee wellness initiatives were viewed as non-essential ‘luxuries’ for high-margin workplaces like Google. The business case for employee wellness has now been clearly established with a large volume of research over the last decade substantiating wellness theory with tangible metrics. Companies with high engagement scores perform better than their counterparts in key operational areas like productivity, absenteeism, turnover, safety and quality incidents, customer metrics and profitability.
Companies often talk about building relationships with their customers. The most successful companies build a relationship with their employees first.” Angela Ahrendts
At the employee level, the need for better work-life-integration has never been more important. With increasing pressures caused by 24/7 connectivity and high performance cultures, many sacrifice personal priorities (e.g. exercising, eating healthily, socialising or getting enough sleep) to accommodate professional demands. Physical, psychological and social issues associated with poor lifestyles and stressful / sedentary workplaces are increasingly common. Ask any General Practitioner and they will confirm this. The changing workforce demographic also means there’s an increasing proportion of older workers who need to stay healthy, motivated and productive until retirement.
Progressive employers have acknowledged these evolving issues and are taking a holistic view to their people, moving beyond a ‘tick-the-box’ approach towards innovative initiatives that recognise employees as individuals, rather than ‘assets’ (or worse, expenses). These employers understand that staff that are healthy, engaged and enjoy coming to work are the best form of competitive advantage.
Management are also increasingly being measured against employee-centric metrics. For decades, European companies have regarded employee health and wellbeing as a duty of corporate social responsibility. Global initiatives like the B-Team are now promoting the inclusion of comprehensive people and wellness indicators in management performance criteria and company annual reports on social responsibility. Of the largest multinational companies, 75% now publish corporate responsibility reports, of which 93% emphasise their commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of employees.
Corporate Social Responsibility is about improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families, as of the local community and society at large.” World Business Council
While the general appetite for employee engagement and wellness initiatives is increasing in Australia, many employers still find it difficult to be informed purchasers. Much of the problem stems from the fact that the local market is composed of a multitude of service providers that deliver organisations a single component of a comprehensive solution. This results in a patchwork of uncoordinated programs, often delivered by multiple vendors, with limited consistency or integration. The fragmented marketplace is a significant deterrent for employers, increasing the cost and complexity of implementing and administering in-house programs.
Comprehensive outsourced health and wellbeing providers must act as intermediaries in providing comprehensive solutions that meet several interdependent needs:
- Customised programs to suit the specific needs of each company.
- Enhanced modes of delivery such as engaging software applications, integrated health monitoring devices and a broad range of wellness services to increase integration and impact.
- Clarification of program offerings and their evidence base at the commencement of a program and identifying how they meet the need.
- Robust and consistent monitoring and measurement of program performance to highlight the continuing value of the investment to the customer.
Ethos is committed to the challenge of staying at the leading edge of employee wellness and providing best practice, cost-effective solutions for organisations to better manage employee engagement and wellness. Our team of high qualified, talented individuals are working with forward-thinking business leaders to foster engaging cultures around positive health, wellbeing and social values.
Our flagship Work-Life-Connect™ program is built around a white label web platform and is a powerful tool to engage with staff, maintain control over company culture and streamline the coordination of health-promoting and social activities. Applying the latest research in corporate culture and change management techniques, Ethos will engage the Australian workforce like never before.