Top talent is increasingly viewing health and wellbeing policies as important for their job satisfaction. A recent Fractl survey of US workers on talent management found that 88 percent would give serious consideration to a lower paying job with better health insurance than a higher paying job that didn’t offer it.

Although it is not feasible for all companies to provide better health insurance, businesses can still provide health-related benefits to employees without having to splash out on costly insurance policies.

health and wellbeing policies: the benefits

Companies are seeing the benefits in offering these services to employees, with Fitbit finding that 94 percent of CEOs it surveyed believe a health and wellness program is essential to attracting top talent.

There are many talent management benefits offered by these programs. A total of 53 percent of CEOs said the biggest advantage of these schemes is more employee engagement, while 51 percent said they thought retention was boosted as a result of their implementation.

And if that wasn’t enough to help increase productivity, the CEOs surveyed also reported that fewer sick days were taken when health and wellness programs were put in place.

what health and wellbeing policies can businesses provide?

Businesses looking to contribute to improved health and wellbeing among their workforces have a number of options. To deduce which the best option is, establish what your priorities are. Do you want your employees to be fitter, for example, or do you want them to be less stressed at work?

Higher fitness levels can improve the immune system, which can then result in fewer sick days taken. If this is important to your company, it would be worthwhile to offer company-subsidized fitness trackers. Glassdoor has also suggested that your business can provide healthy snacks, discounted or free gym memberships, or free yoga and meditation classes. This suggests that whatever your budget for improving health and wellness, you have options.

Fitness trackers with heart rate monitors can also track employee stress, which can give your HR department an insight into which employees are experiencing more of it. You can then offer them more appropriate programs to help reduce any negativity they may be experiencing at work.

the challenges of implementing health and wellbeing policies

Introducing these programs as part of your talent management program does not come without challenges. Fitbit found that the biggest worry for businesses was that it was difficult to keep track of data. Meanwhile, low employee participation and high cost were also named as top concerns for businesses.

The more employees an organization has, the more difficult it will be to keep track of all their data. That’s why your company could see tangible benefits from incorporating HR software - it can collate everything and distill it into actionable information. You can then make decisions about how to help your workers enjoy better health and wellbeing based on the data it provides.

If low employee participation is a problem, there are ways of encouraging your workers to get involved. Consider launching an activity challenge, with a reward for the highest performing individual or team. You could also think about introducing a cycle to work scheme. The British Heart Foundation has also suggested starting “an ‘email-free’ day every week, fortnight or month, when everyone is encouraged to walk to speak to colleagues instead of sending internal emails”.

For companies that struggle with making budget available for policies such as these, it’s possible to make work life less stressful for employees by simply ensuring your management team is more approachable. If workers feel that their concerns are being heard, it could go a long way towards making them feel like they’re being taken seriously, which could then lower any anxiety they feel over their work. The Australian Institute of Business recommends that companies encourage more communication to improve transparency and build relationships, which can then boost employee satisfaction and retention.

Encouraging a better work-life balance could also go a long way toward helping your employees feel less stressed. Making sure that your staff have reasonable targets and aren’t having to work long hours can help avoid burnout.

gauge employee opinion

It’s important to remember that if you plan to introduce health and wellbeing policies as part of your talent management program, you should consult with your workforce to find out what they want. After all, there’s little point in investing in something that will have low take-up levels. Find out what matters most to your workers and use that to base a decision on.

You should also make sure that whatever you do choose to introduce, you keep it voluntary. Forcing employees into activities or schemes they don’t want will only result in higher stress levels - exactly what you were trying to eliminate.