Three financial reasons to focus on staff wellbeing

by Miklos Bolza26 Jan 2016
While methods of improving productivity such as technology or better business practices are important, they won’t bring any results if HR fails to focus on employee wellness, Audrey Chin, chief human resources officer of Fullerton Healthcare Group, told HRD.
 
“These investments only bear fruit if we have an engaged workforce using them effectively,” she said. “There is a growing recognition that improvement in employee wellbeing, or corporate wellness, has a direct result on workplace performance.”
 
Simply put, happier, healthier staff lead to improved productivity and better quality customer service.
 
Chin warned that HR departments which ignore employee wellness face a number of consequences, all of which impact the bottom line.
 
“Firstly, there is reduced productivity. Medical absenteeism is the most common problem faced by employers, with the top causes including depression, anxiety, and conflicts in the workplace, among others,” she said.
 
While there are no statistics for Singapore, it is estimated that absenteeism costs employers in the United States approximately US$100 billion (S$142 billion) per year.
 
“Secondly, customer service … can also be severely impacted by an unhealthy or unengaged workforce, resulting in customer complaints or even loss of business,” Chin said. “If our employees have a positive outlook, this will have a knock-on effect on the clients they look after.”
 
Finally, taking care of staff wellness will directly affect talent attraction and retention, especially in Singapore’s competitive market.
 
“Once they are part of our business, we invest heavily in the training of our employees. This is why retention is critical – the cost of losing talented employees and the hiring and training of new staff can have significant cost implications,” Chin said.
 
In order for HR to develop the right corporate healthcare strategy, it is necessary to take a holistic approach, Chin said; “Look at employees as individuals with multi-faceted workplace needs, ranging from the physical to the emotional.”
 
Preventative measures such as health screening and get fit programs are also advised, as is a focus on mental health and improving the workplace environment.
 
“By developing an employee wellness strategy that targets the root causes of these issues, HR can help optimise costs while ensuring a company’s core business objectives are met,” Chin said.
 
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What workers want from wellness programs

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