Canadian Underwriter

Paid Why invest in the health and wellness of my team?

May 4, 2021   by CAA Insurance Company

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This past year has tested everyone’s resilience, positivity, patience and productivity. Most have had to work differently – at home, balancing the kids, home cooking and virtual meetings. It is understandable that some people’s overall wellness may have suffered. Gyms are closed and we no longer have the walk across the office to get that next cup of coffee.

Resiliency is our ability to bounce back or recover from difficulties. Over the past year everyone has faced a tremendous amount of change, and we needed to cope with that change in order to be successful. This highlighted the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle, along with the challenge of keeping staff engaged and productive.

That’s why investing in a Wellness program can be a solution – not just for your employee welfare, but for your ROI.

Why? Because:

These are older statistics which have likely been exacerbated by the pandemic. Regardless, they present a strong argument that organizations should invest in wellness initiatives for their staff.

CAA has prioritized the wellness of its associates for a number of years, as we recognize that keeping people healthy, well and engaged contributes to productivity. Through various wellness initiatives, we offer staff outlets and opportunities to improve their health and stability, such as:

  • Resources on nutrition, physical health, mental health, financial health, sleep and hygiene, including contacts to professionals in each field through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), telemedicine and internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT).
  • Engaging staff through an app, where they can log physical activity and participate in fun challenges.
  • Live stretch and meditation sessions.
  • Fitness classes during and outside of work hours.
  • Activities such as painting and cooking, which can reduce stress and give staff a sense of belonging and an opportunity for fun with their colleagues.
  • Live sessions with professional chefs, nutritionists, naturopaths and heart and stroke experts.

While many of these initiatives come with a price tag, others involve minimal investment.

Beginning a Wellness program doesn’t need to be daunting. Here are some steps to help get things started:

  1. Start at the top. A successful program begins with a commitment from company leaders, and then through all levels of the organization. Make it part of your company’s purpose and vision.
  2. Create the culture. Integrate health and wellness into all aspects of your business, by offering support with career development, emotional and physical well-being. Establish a healthy work environment by:
    1. When working remotely, offer flexibility and time for people to get up and move. Engage in virtual meetings that are not about work. Provide healthy resources such as nutrient-rich recipes and physical activity regime guides.
    2. When at the office, offer healthy food options (if you have a cafeteria). Look for trails around your location and encourage staff to enjoy them – consider a friendly competition for the most steps taken in a given period of time.
  3. Pool your resources. Leverage your employees to create an internal wellness committee, comprised of people from all levels in the organization who can offer different perspectives. Give them a budget to use to create initiatives to support their colleagues. Conducting surveys can also provide good insight, along with conversations with individuals to provide a clear direction on the programs required to support their needs. By responding to employee input, you will see greater buy-in to the program.
  4. Communicate. Offer clear messages about the program, with details of what’s in it for staff and ways to participate. The reason some wellness initiatives can fail is lack of awareness and even suspicion about the company’s intentions.
  5. Measure success (and failures). Analyze what’s working and what’s not working. What are people participating in, and how can it evolve to increase engagement. Perform pulse checks with staff to learn what they want more of. Don’t forget to review your ROI too – has absenteeism decreased, have benefit costs changed, etc.

Taking the initiative, effort and budget to invest in the health and well-being of your staff can lead to improved morale, loyalty and retention, and increased talent attraction. All of this leads to boosted productivity and heightened customer satisfaction. The benefits are significant, and will have a positive impact on your employees, and your company, for the long term.