Employees itching to get home? Do they have a bad case of twitchy legs, bouncing up and down on their toes in end-of-day anxiety? Maybe they’re sedentary, sitting at the desk all day because they didn’t have time for a walk or gym session. Perhaps they’re on their feet all day, in and out of consultations, grinding away. Even worse, maybe they’ve never met the guy working right next to them.
Sounds like an unengaged business. It’s an illness all too common among companies and one that can spread through morale, causing low employee sentiment (which could lead to negative reviews on employee review sites like Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com). Advance cases tend to leech into balance sheets, suffocating profits and inflaming expenses.
It’s a sickness that hasn’t been completely eradicated, but we're seeing some signs that the epidemic is being contained as organizations come to realize that encouraging happy, healthy, active employees is, simply put, good for business.
When it comes to health programming, one study says companies encouraging healthy lifestyles can save more than $1,600 per employee in healthcare costs. Employees take fewer, unplanned absences and there’s a reduction in health risks, particularly related to tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle or physical inactivity. Those companies engaged in health initiatives and programming see 34% more revenue from each employee.
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Engaging with employees, like sponsoring different activities, also helps decrease turnover significantly because, hey! You’ve built an environment people want to work in. Employees stick around longer, work harder, and enjoy their jobs. The business cuts down on hiring and training expenses and revenues increase as happy customers work with long-term, involved employees. It’s an upward spiral of goodness!
Michael Mankins, a Bain & Company partner, says in this Fast Company article that an engaged employee is 44% more productive than a content one, while an inspired employee is a whopping 125% more productive. He goes on to explain that Dell Technologies discovered that sales teams with an inspiring leader were 6% more productive than the average leader. 6% doesn’t sound like much, but for Dell, it means the average leader is losing the company $6 billion in revenue. Plus, what’s so fun about average?
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We hear all about what the big companies are doing, right? Google has a cafeteria dishing out gourmet foods. They’ve got nap pods, massage rooms, barbers, physicians, and gyms on campus. Facebook and Airbnb give out travel stipends, extended maternity and paternity leaves as well as “baby cash.” (For a Top 20 Employee Benefits and Perks by Glassdoor.com click here.) Starbucks gives their partners yearly grants, stock, and if they don’t already have a bachelor’s degree, they’ll pay for one through Arizona State University . . . no strings attached! As long as they’re working at the SBUX during their studies and keep their grades up.
However, smaller companies are getting creative too. One New York-based entrepreneur, the founder and CEO of multiple restaurants and concert venues, who employs about 1,000 workers across four locations, is spending $60,000 to send 125 executives and mid-level managers to Puerto Rico at the end of January to help with disaster relief. According to this inc article, the firm’s founder has a different theme each year for the company trip. In light of the many natural catastrophes that hit America in 2017, this year’s theme is “philanthropy.”
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One of our good friends, the founder and CEO of Chicago-based Hireology, a hiring and talent management platform, wrote a column, also for inc, about a trip he took his staff on. This is what he said:
“At just under $20,000, it was the single largest investment in a non-payroll item that I had ever made as the co-founder and CEO, and I had more than one person (outside the company, outside the company, of course) tell me I was being frivolous.
He goes on to stake claim to the decision:
“It was the best investment I could have made. In fact, the outing was so successful that we've done it every year since then. In January, we'll bring 140 people offsite and we'll kickoff what we all hope is another banner year company growth and development.” (He also talks about 4 key items every company needs to consider when holding an off-site event.)
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These are still big gestures and not all mom-and-pop businesses can spend this kind of dough for employee engagement. That’s okay! There are plenty of other options out there. They can be as simple as holding a company party at the office or off location. Take your team to one of those places where teams have to escape a room by solving a series of puzzles together. How about a day trip rafting in the mountains or whatever wilderness is nearby? Run a 5k together, develop a fitness challenge with rewards, go ziplining, host a barbecue, enjoy a day in the park, or throw a party at the boss’s house.
You don’t have to buy everyone in your company gym memberships or ship them off to Puerto Rico. However, spending money on them, whether it’s wellness programs or just good old-fashioned fun, is always a good investment.
It improves their overall health and wellness. They tend to get more involved and take ownership of the company and their work when the company itself engages with its workforce through perks, rewards, trips, and genuine good times.
BUT! Whatever you do , don’t get your employees one of those treadmill desks...
Matthew Van Deventer is a content creator for WebPunch. As a dealer of words he dabbles in journalism and loves a good story, whatever the medium. Matthew lives outside of Denver, CO with his wife, daughter, and pup, Chewy.