Employee engagement is a vast construct that touches almost all facets of human resource management. Over the years companies in the Middle East have been progressively appreciative of having effective employee engagement in place with positive outcomes on how happy employees can channel happier workplaces, and in turn have positive effects on business growth. HR heads across the Middle East unequivocally agree that an engaged-workforce is crucial to achieving better business results in this region.
A recent survey conducted by Towers Watson revealed that corporates of the Middle East firmly believed that there is a strong connection between employee productivity and the provision of healthcare benefits and engagement. The survey revealed that half of the participating organizations admitted to not having a strategy to encourage healthy living practices while half of the respondents where planning to have a wellness program in place over the next few years. These trends clearly indicate that the organizations are realizing the boost in employee engagement they get by adding provisions for better employee health and wellness.
With healthcare costs reaching record highs in the recent years employers are shifting their focus on keeping employees in good health. Many regional companies provide wellness programs for employees which include health screenings, events for health promotion and education, discounted gym memberships in addition to providing medical insurance for employees and sometimes, for their families too.
HR heads across the Middle East unequivocally agree that an engaged-workforce is crucial to achieving better business results in this region.
In addition to having a physical wellbeing program in place, it is important to nurture the emotional, spiritual and social aspects of wellbeing of employees by offering access to 24 hours psychological support and counseling services, meditation and yoga sessions and stress management classes for employees. However, most of the time these efforts are isolated and scattered, and the outcomes are difficult to measure.
Here comes the positive impact of the role of technology. It helps to effectively communicate with the employees and engage them in an on-going manner. It also plays a tremendous role in quantifying the extent of reach of the wellness program and to measure how it has benefited the employees.
A well-structured wellness program with enough weighted substance will fetch far more results than traditional ones if it is ‘gamified’ and generates excitement. Effective communication accompanied with social media incorporation and gamification is the newest trend in corporate wellness. A growing number of companies are switching exciting ways to motivate employees to actively participate and remain engaged to the wellness programs by incorporating social media, digital platforms, wearable devices, competitions, games and real-time score boards.
In order to develop a health culture, organizations must create wellness programs that are exciting and engaging. Some of the basic steps for a well-structured corporate wellness program include:
- Determine the needs and issues that the program would address by conducting a employee health risk survey
- Structure and design the program highlighting the focus areas i.e. smoking and alcohol cessation, weight management, health education, healthy eating habits, increasing physical activity, lifestyle modifications, etc.
- Leverage technology to implement platforms for ongoing engagement and social elements
- Effective communication to motivate employees to lead a healthy life
- Track, report and update the wellness program from time to time
- Adapt the program to make it interesting with measures to sustain interest
- Incentivizing participation of employees by rewarding them.
It is becoming evident that Middle East companies are now understanding that a healthier employee is happier, more efficient, cost of healthcare is reduced and in turn reaping the benefits of their investments from employee wellness programs. A study conducted by MEED revealed that companies saw a return of investment by 300% on the amount spent on employee wellness programs. The report further states that, many companies recognize this cost-benefit relationship with corporate wellness initiatives.
With the implementation of mandatory healthcare insurance for employees, it is now crucial for companies to proactively address health and wellbeing of employees – rather than being shocked by rising insurance premiums.
Presented by Flabuless.