Colin Willis, Employee Benefits Director at Willis Insurance & Risk Management, explains the importance of closing the gap between the wellbeing of employees and organisational productivity.

Bridging health and productivity within an organisation is essential in ensuring a healthy and successful workforce. Therefore, many companies are working to create and implement wellbeing programmes to help their employees maintain a healthy lifestyle.

That being said, employee health and wellbeing programmes should play a major role in helping an organisation bridge any productivity gaps, especially with an aging workforce and a subsequent increase in long-term health conditions. Looking after the health and wellbeing of employees will ultimately help the health of the company.

There are various steps that employers can take which will give them the opportunity to create the perfect environment and culture for their employees to thrive.

The first step for employers is recognising that good health and wellbeing is a priority for the business, its strategy and ultimately its bottom line.

Senior managers should endeavour to gain a better understanding of the drivers for health and wellbeing within their organisation by making themselves aware of the different factors which may affect productivity. This can be done by communicating with their employees and acting on any feedback given.

Employee engagement and health and wellbeing surveys can also be useful to employers. These allow absence data, feedback from exit interviews, and statistics on early retirement due to ill-health to be analysed. The analysis of this data will foster a culture of support, openness and participation throughout the organisation by providing the employer with the information necessary to develop solutions that will best meet the needs of its employees.

Ensuring that managers at every operational level are appropriately trained to communicate with their team is also essential so that effective programmes can be put in place. Effective communication between employees and senior members of staff enables any potential issues to be flagged in a timely manner if a change in an employee’s behaviour was to occur.

Employees who participate in health and wellbeing programmes will experience lower health risk factors and will therefore minimise the chance of a workplace injury or illness. In both cases, this can save the employer money, not just on insurance, but also the cost of recruiting a new employee.

For organisations, standing still is no longer an option. Simply putting in place measures to manage absenteeism due to sickness is not sufficient. Employers need to focus on prevention and take the necessary steps to address the various challenges.

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