Home' Spa and Clinic : Volume 65 May 2016 Contents it's not wellness programs that boost worker
health and productivity -- it's whether
employees identify their employer as
In February, the GWI released two
companion pieces of research. The first,
The Future of Wellness at Work, offers
in-depth analysis of the state of unwellness
in the global workforce and workplace
wellness approaches worldwide - and
forecasts the many ways that work and
workplace wellness concepts will change
dramatically in the future.
The second, a white paper on findings
from a GWI/Everyday Health sur vey of
full-time American employees, Unlocking
the Power of Company Caring, gauges how
employees feel about many aspects of their
work culture and wellness programs.
The over whelming finding: to
understand what has the most powerful
impact on employee wellness you must look
well beyond the wellness "program."
Instead, the pivotal factor was whether an
employee identified their company as "caring
about their health/wellness," and when they
did, their overall health, stress levels and job
engagement improved significantly.
The report then analyses the tangible
and intangible elements that constitute
"company caring," and have the biggest
impact on employee wellness, finding they
differ significantly for Millennial, Gen X
and Baby Boomer employees.
"The findings surprised us, says GWI
Chairman and CEO Susie Ellis. "We saw
significant, diverse and positive implications
when a company is perceived to `care' about
an employee's personal wellness (only a
disturbingly low 37 percent of those sur veyed
did), and extremely negative outcomes when
it was perceived as a `non-caring' company.
"And we found that caring companies
tackle not just 'tangibles' like healthy food
and workspaces, they address emotional,
relational, organisational, intellectual and
financial 'wellness' at work (whether it's
giving workers more work f lexibility or
encouraging socialising and friendships)."
The report found that cynicism about
wellness programs abounded.
"Only 25 percent of employees believed
their company offered a wellness program
because they care about workers' health
and wellbeing," says Susie. "Fifty- eight
percent believe their program exists only
to cut company health costs, while another
17 percent believe it's in place to make
employees work harder/be more productive.
"So, three in four employees are now
cynical, perceiving wellness programs as
companies caring more about their bottom
line than employee health."
Susie noted that being a company that
"cares" is easier than management may
think. And while intangible "work culture"
components may seem elusive, the research
shows that they are the true drivers of health
and productivity -- according to employees.
Both studies reach the same conclusion:
the current, compartmentalised
"programmatic" approaches to workplace
wellness will disappear in the future, and
companies will reorient their wellness
strategies around culture-wide "caring",
paying close attention to what that means
for their particular workforce.
* The 2016 GWI research was derived from
an online survey conducted among 794 US
employees in September, 2015. The GWI is an
international think-tank that brings together
leaders and visionaries from private and public
sectors to positively impact and shape the future of
the wellness industry. It is considered the leading
global research and educational resource for the
$3.4 trillion wellness industry.
DOING IT FOR YOURSELF
In an industry where client care comes first,
many aesthetics and wellness businesses are
turning their attention to the wellbeing of
staff. In turn, they are seeing a boost in team
harmony, satisfaction and performance.
It follows that if you are offering to
your employees what you are to clients and
guests, your staff -- ergo, your business, will
also benefit. For instance:
"Yoga is currently Australia's 13th most
popular physical activity and steadily
increasing in popularity," says Yoga
Australia President, Claire Nettley. "But at
its heart, yoga is a practice of mindfulness.
With regular practice, this mindfulness can
be incorporated into other activities and
areas of life."
At the Park Hyatt hotel in Sydney, staff
are encouraged to attend the yoga classes
provided for visitors.
"We understand the importance of
leading a healthy lifestyle, both for staff
and residing guests," says marketing
communications manager, Maryam Awang.
"Our staff absolutely love this
opportunity. They make the effort to attend
the classes because it sets their day off to a
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