Ensuring your staff are happy and healthy is not an easy task for today’s employers however, investing and implementing a motivational programme within the workplace can do wonders for your employees self esteem, without you even realising.

Following on from the previous blog ‘Wealth is Health’, where Risk Development Company GRiD revealed that 21% of employers are placing achieving a good work/life balance as top priority for 2012, a recent article in HR Zone titled‘Employee wellness programmes: Proving their worth and paying their way’revealed that employee wellness programmes are providing great return on investment. The HR Zone article cited a study commissioned by the Foundation for Chronic Disease Prevention in the Workplace and carried out by Lancaster University Centre for Organisational Heath & Wellbeing, who took 752 employees from 6 large UK and US based companies and registered them into a 16 week workplace health initiative. The health initiative, entitled the ‘Global Corporate Challenge’, encouraged employees to take part in low intensity exercises in order to boost motivation and engagement levels. The participant’s progress was monitored via online biometric tests and self assessed questionnaires.

The key areas that saw significant results were individual self esteem- with 52% fewer participants feeling worthless and a 35% rise in the number of subjects feeling self confident. Increased satisfaction with quality of life was another key area with a 12% increase in employees who rated their overall contentment with life as ‘very good’ and a 10% rise in workers saying that their happiness with life as a whole was ‘very good’.

The third key area was higher engagement at work with 20.5% of the sample employees reporting improved productivity levels, 17% claimed that their productivity levels were ‘very high’ and a 14% increase in employees reporting that they felt little or no stress at work. It seems that the release of ‘feel good’ endorphins from low intensity exercise and health initiatives can have a dramatic impact on employee engagement and productivity.

Research Director David Batman stated that “In the workplace, taking frequent, effective exercise helps reduce stress levels and support peak performance.”

The study concludes that employees who are involved in company health and motivational initiatives feel more fulfilled within their working role. A knock on effect of employing such an effective programme within the workplace is staff retention, saving both time and money employers are able to kill two birds with one stone, boosting employee engagement levels whilst increasing staff retention levels.

HR Zone continues to reveal a variety of employee wellness critical success factors, 3 of the top factors being:

1. Create a genuine ‘health culture’. Integrate employee health and wellbeing objectives into your organisation’s business goals. Ensuring that managers fully support and advocate these aims will help to generate a positive and open environment that should lead to positive employee engagement

2. Make it fun. An exciting, dynamic programme that is attractive to everyone will create a groundswell of enthusiasm and ensure that employees buy into it across the organisation.

3. Ensure people stay motivated. Any supporting communications need to be timely and tailored, this will keep participants committed to the programme. Pointing out people’s achievements via a peer and information network also helps to maintain enthusiasm and engagement.

Even more companies are cottoning on to the benefits of providing a positive working atmosphere. Save both time and money trying to retain, replace and re-train your workforce by making sure they remain in a positive mind set. It seems that health and happiness do go hand in hand, so make sure your employee’s have the feel good factor!