So, you’ve read a ton of articles on the importance of employee wellness programmes. You’re probably onboard with the idea too. Companies with happy and healthy employees are, after all, more likely to have better bottom lines and lower levels of staff turnover. You can’t, in other words, wait to get started.
Thing is, unless you have the backing of serious investors or a large cash pool, you probably don’t have the money for internal masseuses, a gym, or a high-profile chef.
Fortunately, cool as those things are, you don’t need any of them to have an effective employee wellness programme.
In fact, you can do it on a pretty lean budget. Here’s how:
Get the lay of the land
Before you spend a cent on anything to do with an employee wellness programme, you should get a sense of what your employees would want from such a programme.
Remember, wellness is about much more than just exercise and nutrition. Things like mental and financial wellbeing also play incredibly important roles.
Think about how much of a waste it would be if you splashed out on some expensive exercise equipment when all your employees wanted was some help balancing their monthly budget.
Use the resources you have at hand
You already know that your people are your most valuable resource, but did you know they can also form the backbone of your employee wellness programme.
Find out what your staff are passionate about, both when it comes to work and the outside world. Once that’s done, give them the time and space to share those passions in a way that helps their colleagues.
You might, for instance, have someone in accounting who can help out the people struggling to balance their budgets. Or maybe a member of your client service team is also a qualified yoga instructor who can take everyone through a class every few weeks.
Even big companies like Google, with its re:Work programme, use this model for employee learning.
One powerful wellness initiative you can put in place, costs you almost nothing. Simply provide people with relevant wellness information.
Start out by using email, social media, and posters to detail the benefits of healthy food choices, exercise, and looking after one’s mental wellbeing. From there, you could provide details of healthy food outlets in the vicinity of your office; nearby bike and walking paths; as well as mental and financial healthcare providers.
Just knowing that you can take up healthier habits without straying too far from work can be strong incentive do so.
Lead by example
No matter how much money you have allocated to your wellness programme, it’s unlikely to succeed if the company leadership doesn’t embrace it fully and act as an example for everyone else.
So, if the company is being encouraged to bring lunch in from home (because it’s healthier and cheaper than buying from a nearby food outlet), the CEO should be in the kitchen every lunch time dishing up their home-made lunch.
If, meanwhile, you’re encouraging people to take walking meetings, then team leaders should take their teams on walks for their daily status meetings.
Know when to bring in expertise
There are times when you’ll need to bring in outside expertise for your employee wellness programme.
Knowing when to do that is crucial to effective employee wellness on a budget. Maybe that means bringing in a budgeting expert to run a workshop, or paying a designer to put together the messaging around the programme.
Those are expenses you can plan for. There will, however, be unexpected expenses you won’t be able to plan for.
If, for instance, a staff member experiences trauma, it probably wouldn’t be the worst idea to pay for them to have a few trauma counselling sessions.
As a caring employer, it’s something you should be doing but it also means that your employee will be back up to full strength much sooner.
Have you put together any successful low-cost employee wellness initiatives? Let us know about them in the comments section below.