Companies can boost recruitment and retention through better wellbeing

03 October 2018 4 min. read
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A new report from professional services firm Gallagher argues that firms can better attract and retain talent through a focus on improvements to workplace wellbeing. These include physical and emotional, career, financial, and organizational wellbeing.

With jobless rates falling to levels last seen in the 1970s, employers are in a fierce battle to attract and retain top talent. A new report from insurance broking and HR consulting firm Gallagher – the 2018 Human Capital Insights Report – finds that a wellbeing focused strategy can help engage a multigenerational workforce. By leveraging the strategy – which includes investing in employees’ health, talent, financial security and career growth – organizations can become a destination workplace, or one that recognizes employees as the most important asset.

Physical and emotional wellbeing

More effective, engaged, and productive employees are possible through a focus on their physical and emotional well-being – achieved through avenues like community involvement, resilience, and stress management.

Employees and job seekers increasingly care about the positive impact their organizations make, with millennials more likely to evaluate potential employers based on their commitment to giving locally. Furthermore, research finds that volunteering is associated with less work-life conflict, burnout, and stress.Companies can boost recruitment and retention through better wellbeingDeploying employee assistance programs (EAPs) is also a popular option for fostering physical and emotional wellbeing. EAPs help employees cope with stressful situations on and off the job, including common life events and substance abuse. Another option is flexible benefits packages that let employees pick the options that make the most sense to them.

Leaders should also look to craft a resilient workplace culture that is able to manage stress – which is linked to a host physical and mental health issues, including depression and diabetes. Support options, built through employee engagement, are a promising development, according to Gallagher. Leaders should further look to build a positive and supportive work environment through focus groups and engagement surveys. Less stressed workers will reward their employers with better productivity, the report says. 

Career wellbeing

Employee’s experience around job security, career growth, and connection to the company’s values are important determinants of employee turnover. Getting compensation right is a big part of improving engagement and retaining talent, according to the report. However, generous time off and flexible work arrangements also support positive employee outcomes. Professional development and a clear career path is another cornerstone in cultivating employee loyalty.

Meanwhile, fostering a respectful workplace with strong anti-harassment policies and procedures in the wake of the #MeToo movement is another way to create employee loyalty. Addressing gender pay gaps and a lack of women in leadership roles is part of building an equitable and respectful culture that improves employee engagement and retention.

Financial wellbeing

Stressing over finances and retirement savings can negatively impact employee health, productivity, and turnover. Over 40% of employees report financial worries distracting them at work, with half of them spending at least three work hours a week managing personal finances. Canadians are among the most indebted people in the world, with huge debt-to-income levels ($1.68:$1) largely as a result of the country’s unceasing housing bubble.

A further 60% of respondents to a Conference Board of Canada survey said that they hadn’t saved enough for retirement, while a third said they weren’t sure if they could retire at all. Older employees working longer means higher healthcare and salary costs for employers, while also impeding opportunities for young employees.

Gallagher recommends the crafting of a robust retirement plan system to help recruit and retain employees while compensation remains more or less static among employers. Educating employees on the benefits of buying into a defined benefits group retirement plan (and getting them to buy into it) will lead to less financial stress, and better employee outcomes.

Organizational wellbeing

Tight labour markets, the gig economy, and generational shifts in labour participation means that companies need to revamp human capital strategy to focus on vigilant compliance, communications, and applied technology.

Gallagher argues that companies should address recent laws on equal pay, compensation transparency, and laws governing leaves of absence. Complying with only some of the regulations could lead to a diminished standing with employees, while also increasing regulatory and liability risk.

Internal communications can also help firms drive employee engagement, as long as it strategically communicates compelling value propositions – keeping them educated on benefits, rewards, and the firm’s commitment to wellbeing.

Lastly, HR and benefits technology can help employees better navigate their benefits options. Obviously, firms have to have a solid cybersecurity strategy in place, though, to combat the alternate threat to employee personal information.