4 staff welfare tips to increase business productivity

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    • Employee HealthEmployee Health
    23 April 2020

    Key Takeaways

    • Businesses with health and wellness programmes for employees are likely to attract talents and retain employees
    • With happier and healthier employees, businesses can reduce both absenteeism and presenteeism
    • Increased employee engagement helps boost business productivity and profitability

    A thriving business needs thriving employees. Staff costs are a business expense and must be managed carefully; but bear in mind that your business cannot succeed without employees who function at their best. How can you, as their employer, enable that?

    The best way to view your employees is not as expense line items, but as productive assets. Do not look at the costs of healthcare and employee benefits programmes as expenses.

    Instead, think of such expenses as investments that will reap rewards for your business down the line.

    Here are four reasons why you must take care of your employees’ health so that they can take care of your business.


    #1: Attract and keep the best talent

    We often assume that the most important thing that employees look for when taking up a new job is salary. However, the focus on salary as a priority is less than you may think.

    In fact, the presence of a good medical benefits programme can boost the reputation of a company. In companies that care for the well-being of their employees, employees were 89 per cent more likely to recommend their employer to others[1].

    A medical benefits programme also boosts employee retention. In those same companies, only 25 per cent of employees said they were thinking of leaving their jobs within the year. This figure doubles to 51 per cent in companies that do not focus on employees’ health. Given that the cost of replacing an employee is estimated to be at 150 per cent of their salary[2], using all means to retain employees is something all companies should pay attention to.


    #2: Reduce absenteeism

    In Malaysia, the average yearly cost of absenteeism and presenteeism combined is estimated to be at RM2.7million[3]. A strong employee benefits programme with wellness benefits could help reduce these numbers. Wellness programmes encourage healthy habits, and healthy employees tend to have higher productivity. Even benefits such as preventive flu vaccinations or annual medical screenings within an employee benefits programme can help reduce absenteeism by keeping their health in check.

    If you are wondering what’s the return on investment? According to a government study[5] conducted in the US, it found that for every US dollar spent on health programmes, almost six US dollars was saved in lower absenteeism costs.


    #3: Lower presenteeism

    A lesser-known problem is presenteeism – the practice of showing up to work despite being sick. Some employers may feel that this helps productivity, but they couldn’t be more wrong – presenteeism can be worse than absenteeism.

    Imagine your employees coming in when they should be at home recovering. Not only will they not be able to perform at their best, but they also risk spreading illnesses to their colleagues. Sick employees might make mistakes and also work at a lower level of productivity. A study by Relate Mental Health Malaysia reveals that presenteeism costs a total of RM9.84 billion of the country’s annual gross domestic product. This is equivalent to 0.68 per cent of the country’s total GDP[4].

    Why would employees show up to work despite being sick? One factor could be the job demands. With high expectations, employees may feel the need to continuously perform even when unwell. Another reason could be job insecurity, which may cause employees to show up at work to demonstrate their commitment to their jobs.

    One way to address this issue is to build a supportive work environment, so that employees can rest assured knowing that their responsibilities can be covered by their colleagues in times of need. More importantly, businesses can implement health and wellness programmes to encourage their employees to focus on taking better care of their health.


    #4: Improve employee engagement

    In Malaysia, 53 per cent employees suffer from work-related stress, with a further 12 per cent experiencing high levels of anxiety or depression . One factor contributing to high-stress levels is rising healthcare costs. With medical cost inflation already ten times the national inflation rate, employees, particularly older workers, are rightfully worried. This healthcare-related stress negatively impacts employee engagement[6] and productivity.

    Global research by Gallup shows that the level of employee engagement is a crucial metric in driving business outcomes[7] . Specifically, companies with greater employee engagement had 147 per cent higher earnings compared to those with lower employee engagement. That’s a huge difference! This means the more engaged your employees, the better your chance of business success. By taking measures to safeguard your employees’ health, you are not only supporting their well-being – you are helping your business.

    By investing in the physical well-being of their employees, employers can not only improve their bottom line but also contribute to creating a more positive working culture for the good of all.

    We designed UOB’s Employee Benefits programme to help you take care of your employees and their loved ones so that they can take care of your business.


    Contact us today to find out more.


    [1] https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2016/06/workplace-well-being

    [2] https://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/04/139032/making-workplace-human

    [3] https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/309332/67-days-are-lost-absenteeism-employee-every-year-survey

    [4] https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/02/566428/mental-health-costs-malaysia-rm1446bil-or-over-one-cent-its-gdp

    [5] https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/11/18/poor-health-among-msians-due-to-work-stress-says-survey/

    [6] https://www.hrreview.co.uk/hr-news/wellbeing-news/higher-stress-levels-lead-to-lower-engagement-levels-among-employees/52475?path=data/bb/9&cr=segment

    [7] https://www.gallup.com/workplace/236927/employee-engagement-drives-growth.aspx?path=data/bb/9&cr=segment


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