Today, the practice of corporate social responsibility touches every aspect of business. No longer confined to traditional “green” projects within the silos of environmental performance or responsible business practices, CSR permeates all business functions, including policies, strategies, planning, and performance. CSR strategies are a part of everyday transactions, governance and management, as well as community investment and social performance.
Within the area of social performance lies employee health and wellness. In today’s 24/7 society, workplace pressures continue to mount. Productivity demands, information overload, and increasing pressure to balance work and home lives take a toll on employees’ health and well-being. Job stress alone is estimated to cost U.S. industry $300 billion a year in absenteeism, diminished productivity, employee turnover, and direct medical , legal , and insurance fees. Focusing on health promotion, ensuring the health and well-being of your workforce, is not only the right thing to do; it also makes good business sense as a corporate business strategy.
A good defense is a healthy offense
Companies responding to the business challenge of taking care of their employees are creating workplaces that do more than just improve productivity — they are building a strong, vibrant, organizational culture that supports the company itself.
Workplace health promotion may sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. The cost of implementing a health program varies on how little or how much a company wants to do (and spend).
Here are a few quick ‘n easy ways to implement health initiatives in the workplace:
Launch a walk challenge – Have employees wear a step counter and measure their daily walking distance. Prizes, like a new pair of walking shoes, are nice incentives. (Your neighboring running store may donate prizes in exchange for workplace promotion.)
Host on-site wellness seminars – Ask your health insurance provider to coordinate a series of lunchtime programs or ask a nonprofit organization (American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association etc.) to do the same.
Sponsor on-site cooking workshops – Help employees make the right food choices. Invite your local supermarkets, caterers, or gourmet meal preparation shops to offer a lunchtime learning experience in exchange for self-promotion and exposure.
Support interdepartmental sports competitions – During lunch or after hours, coordinate volleyball, soccer, or kickball games. In addition to the physical fitness benefits, it is a great way to encourage people from different departments to get together! Don’t have enough employees to field your own team? Create a cooperative with other small businesses, in and out of your industry.
Free medical checks – Look for organizations that bring blood pressure, glucose, and obesity and body mass index screenings to the workplace. Or give employees an extra hour or two (paid time off) to attend a free health screening event like the Sister to Sister Women’s Health Fair.
Remember, implementing employee health and well-being initiatives is one thing; getting it right is another. Make it work for your company. If you are a company with multiple locations, make it work for each site. Don’t offer something unless there is value to the receiver. Otherwise, it is a waste of everybody’s time and resources. Work with employees to learn which wellness perks will most benefit them. Ask the employees what they want.
Taking care of business
There are no dividing lines between good business practices — internally and externally — and being a responsible company. Today it is all-inclusive. Embrace that link between employee health and well-being and organization performance and you will develop a high-performing workforce that, in turn, creates a competitive advantage for your company in the marketplace.
Advocate a healthy lifestyle
Invest in the health of your employees by giving them a couple of hours of paid time off to attend the Women’s Heart Health Fair at the Tampa Convention Center on Tuesday, March 4, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Sister to Sister: Everyone Has a Heart Foundation, at this event attendees’ free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, Body Mass Index (BMI), and waist circumference are followed by immediate, on-site counseling. With heart disease being the #1 killer of women in the United States, business participation in this event can make a significant impact in employees’ health for an extremely minimal cost.