Responsible businesses look after their employees, that’s a fact. However, getting the best from your workforce requires a holistic approach, not just helping to keep people healthy.
At TT2 we take health very seriously, we have a Silver NHS Better Health Award, which led to us offering access to counselling and occupational health to our employees. We also offer our team regular health checks and annual flu jabs. On its own, health is a very important part of our workplace, but its also a part of a wider strategy to keep everyone productive and motivated.
At its most basic level, keeping employees healthy is good for the bottom line. In 2014 the CBI calculated that employee absence costs the economy £14 billion a year, and the average company thousands of pounds. Figures from other sources go as far as to estimate the true cost is more than double this. Minimising sick leave and related expenses by looking after people properly is a no-brainer, but medical care alone does not quite get to the root of the problem.
Staff absenteeism and related costs, including its knock on effect on productivity, can only be tackled by proper workforce motivation. When employees lack motivation they typically take more days off ill than they otherwise would. On the surface this may look like sickness, when what is really required is a look at why an individual is not enthused by their work. It may be that it is an isolated case, where the reasons are specific to the individual, or symptomatic of a wider problem within an organisation.
Demotivation could be a result of physical health problems. Conversely it may also exacerbate them. Providing regular health checks for employees can catch a potentially demotivating condition early, and can also prompt an employee who lacks the motivation to see help for an existing problem to do so.
It may be the case that an individual’s lack of motivation is psychological. This might take the form of dealing with grief or a situation in the home, both of which a counselling service can help with. Depression and other mental health conditions may also be a cause. In either case, it is important that staff in a supervisory role are trained to spot these issues and approach them in a compassionate manner.
Demotivation on a wider scale is unlikely to be caused by health problems, but sick days, both genuine and not, can be symptomatic of this, and as such can act as an alarm bell. In this case, there are a multitude of potential causes, and perhaps the first place to look for them is the managerial style of teams and departments where this is a problem.
Providing health and wellbeing services for employees is a fantastic thing to do, and will pay dividends in terms of staff motivation and costs, but is most effective when it supports and is supported by well-trained managers.