Employee Wellness and Employer Branding

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

LinkedIn found that 49 percent of survey respondents claim the biggest obstacle in the job search is not knowing what working for an organization is actually like. In other words, their impression of the company, or the employer brand, is critical during a job search.

The employer brand is built in the same way that your consumer brands is built — by providing a consistent, transparent and meaningful experience. Employer brand is demonstrated by the words and deeds of all those who work for your organization and can be measured using such metrics as employee retention and recruiting costs.

A workplace wellness programme can be a significant part of the employer brand to set it apart from competitors by demonstrating a culture that effectively supports employee wellbeing.

Enable engagement

In 2015 a survey published by Quantum Workplace and Limeade, showed that respondents were 38 percent more engaged and 18 percent more likely to go the extra mile when they felt their employers cared about their wellbeing.

The CIPD maintain that fostering employee wellbeing is good for people and the organization. “Promoting wellbeing can help prevent stress and create positive working environments where individuals and organizations can thrive. Good health and wellbeing can be a core enabler of employee engagement and organizational performance.”

Josh Bersin says that his research shows that the stress and burnout issues at work are only increasing with the always-on work environments we have created in this new digital age. His advice is to “make sure you’re also focusing on the real design issues with work, as well as the right management practices. Often, these the most important factors for creating healthy and productive workforces.” He’s not the only person urging more investment in employee wellness programmes.

Liz Walker, HR director at Unum UK told us “Wellbeing isn’t just a ‘nice to have.’ It’s the key to keeping your employees motivated, engaged and productive – all of which directly impact a business’s bottom line.”

Jill King, Director of International Markets at VirginPulse, said that “when you invest in the wellbeing of your employees, you’re investing in the success of your business”. King also says it is important to measure the effectiveness of your wellbeing initiative in order to tie your efforts directly to business outcomes. Metrics may vary depending on your business and workforce but Harvard researchers report that for every dollar spent on employee wellness, medical costs fall $3.27 and absenteeism drops $2.73, a 6-to-1 return on investment.*

VOI and ROI

You may want to look beyond the straightforward return though, Nick Patel, CEO of Wellable told us “the concept of value on investment (VOI) is slowing replacing return on investment (ROI) in the employee wellness industry. This means the value employers look for and realize from employee wellness programs is moving from a strictly financial return on reduced medical costs to one that includes the financial and non-financial benefits from healthy and engaged employees, including higher retention, satisfaction, and productivity.”

To successfully build sustainable wellness culture HR professionals must define and communicate the benefits whereby when your people are happy and well the business can thrive and flourish. The Virgin Pulse fifth annual Business of Healthy Employees survey report shows that organizations that have expanded their programme offerings have seen improvements in engagement, recruiting and retention. A workplace wellness programme could be the differentiating factor that persuades top talent to choose you over a competitor.

* Baicker, Katherine, David Cutler, Zirui Song. “Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings.” Health Affairs. February 2010; 29(2):304–11.


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