When recession hits and times get tough, how do you react?

Is your first instinct to cut costs, “trimming the fat” to keep your business lean and future-proof?

Do you consider your employee wellness programmes surplus to requirements?


I’d suggest you read on before you do anything rash – particularly if any of the below questions sound familiar:


1. “Surely my employees’ wellness isn’t high priority if the business is struggling?”

Employees that manage to survived redundancy rounds usually make up a business’ most dedicated and skilled workers. An economic decline is the time that these experienced employees need to feel motivated the most, and recognition is key if they are to effectively handle their workload and increased pressures. Research shows that wellness incentive programs typically yield 300% ROI, which means that not only can your company effectively reduce employee sickness costs but that you can effectively engage and inspire employees to produce more for the business and live a healthier life.


2. “How can I make sure the employee wellness message is popular?”

Successful wellness programmes are designed so that your people can easily access all the information and resources they need both remotely and in the office. Online wellness platforms allow employees to learn about the benefits they can access, and plan effective use – as well as sharing their plans with their colleagues. Wellness platforms can help increase participation and involvement in wider wellness programmes because employees have access to wellness resource, tailor made options and can track their usage over time.


3. “Wouldn’t my people just prefer more money at the end of the month?”

There are many reasons why wellness benefits and non-monetary compensation are more effective than cash when motivating your workforce. Not only do wellness benefits show the employees you care about their wellbeing, but the tax-efficiency of non-monetary compensation creates far superior value for money.


4. “I will struggle to justify the extra investment”

Wellness programme research demonstrates that correctly implemented initiatives impact healthcare spending, reducing costs associated with sickness, workers’ sick pay, disability-related costs and costs due to presenteeism (employees that are more engaged, produce more!). Wellness programmes also yield benefits such as increased staff motivation, morale and team dynamics. When you launch a wellness programme, be sure to include a letter or email to your staff on your company goals and expectations for the initiative. It may even be a good idea to launch a press release and capitalise on the opportunity to brand yourself as a forward-thinking and caring company. This can aid talent retention and acquisition.


5. “Should I really be investing in wellness?”

Retaining and engaging your top people is the name of the game for HR professionals. Your talent and knowledge base is a critical part of the business’ long-term success. Investing in your most crucial asset is a win-win situation for both the employing organisation and the workers within it.


In tough times, employees need to be able to get past “survival mode” and manage stress effectively if they are to be productive. Staff wellness is a higher priority now than ever before for companies looking to motivate and retain their most experienced and highest performing employees. Consider where your business generates value, and how you would cope with a disengaged workforce, before cutting any spending on staff wellness.