Employers are failing their workforce because they simply don't understand how to engage the people that work for them.
Effective employee engagement is to understand what all employees needs and wants that can satisfy both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Employees have to understand and take responsibility for their own work/life balance and this down to choice. Increased work demands, performance targets and expectations is by far greater than it ever has been. Employers have to be supportive and aware of the impact that it has on productivity, engagement and the bottom line.
Companies are looking at ways to support employees on more of a holistic approach to understand the importance of engagement but they are just not doing enough. Companies are still living in the dark ages, if you have a culture that is very much focused on the needs of the organisation rather than understanding the needs of the individuals that run an organisation, it will eventually have a knock on effect to not just a few individuals but entire workforce. The SME market that represents over 98% of UK businesses, finds that they are at a disadvantage compared to medium and larger organisations. SME's may have access to a lack of resources compared to larger organisations but the long-term effects can be far more costly if organisational culture is not address.
The BBC reported that absenteeism was at its lowest records for years through a recent survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Simply Health. Employers are now beginning to support and address well-being programs throughout. But what is alarming was that although these figures look good on paper there are far deeper underlying issues.
40% of Employers reported an increase in stress in the workplace, mental health issues, presenteeism and caring for others.
Companies have a social responsibility for people that work for them - a corporate wellness program doesn't have to cost the earth but it could save an organisation thousands if not millions of pounds in turnover, revenue and retention. The average employee now takes 4.9 day off work and it is estimated that per organisation it costs £600 per year in employee absence.
Organisations that run workplace wellbeing programs have invested more and more money as the bottom line has seen an improvement to profits.
Marks and Spencer run an industry-leading wellbeing programme placing their employees first. They have reduced their staff turnover rates whilst supporting over 13,000 employees in their efforts to improve employee health. They strongly believe that there is a strong correlation between employee engagement and business success by introducing components specifically requested by them to maximise participation, this was supported by a decrease in absenteeism by 7% in just one month, 0.50% fall in turnover in the month of February 2013 and a reduction of 18% in referrals to occupational health respectively.
As the Founder of Xclusive Corporate Fitness, I have noticed a change in attitude to the way companies are approaching corporate well-being programs. These companies are beginning to take workplace wellness more seriously now. However many are trying to implement a wellness program with little or no experience or strategy for success. In most circumstances, these programs fail. The key is to understand, educate and get employees involved rather than force a solution. If employees are not involved in this process only a small percentage of the workforce will participate. The long-term outcomes of understanding employee engagement are key in behaviour change strategies and supporting healthy habits both at work and home.
Where do you think companies are going wrong? Do you think this is affecting the growth of the UK economy? Is it our British culture that needs to change or the attitude of our employers? And should the government give industries more support?