Why employee welfare matters more than ever?

With the current harsh business environment, wellness at work is an increasingly dominant theme in any discussion at workplaces. Human resources leaders industry-wide are rethinking and shifting priorities in response to new challenges that range from increased cost of living, increased transport fees, increase in prices of basic commodities, among others. Healthy employees are happy employees and happy employees are productive employees.

There is, indeed, a connection between healthy employees and a successful business.

In this economic turmoil, employers need to remember that employees are their biggest contributing factor for success or failure as well as safeguarding images of companies. When times are tough, it’s tempting for business owners and managers to put aside employee-welfare initiatives and focus on organisational pressures. However, this is precisely the time when employee-welfare is most critical. Employee-welfare is an important investment in any company. Employee welfare is achieved through improving the health and well-being of employees.

It is vital to remember that a person’s overall well-being includes all aspects of life; not just the workplace.

Hence, it is meaningful to invest in welfare programmes at workplaces. Being in good physical and mental shape also sets a person up to be great at their job in terms of efficiency or effectiveness. Many companies that understand this and offer their employees packages that promote health and well-being are normally employers of choice. The lifestyles of people in the workforce are important both for the sake of their own health and for the sake of their employer’s productivity.

Employee welfare raises the company’s expenses, but if it is done correctly, it has huge benefits for both the employer and employee. It is important to note that if an employee feels that management is concerned and cares for him or her as a person and not just as any other employee, he or she will be more committed to his or her work. An employee who feels appreciated will be more fulfilled, satisfied and productive. This will not only lead to higher productivity, but also satisfied customers and hence profitability for the company. A satisfied employee will feel engaged and appreciated and avoids looking for other job opportunities, thus lowering employee turnover.

Good employee welfare enables a company to compete favourably with other employers for the recruitment and retention of quality personnel. Good welfare measures should be provided for by organisations that are serious, whether in the public or private sector as it raises the morale of employees, reduce risk and insecurity, eliminate turnover and absenteeism, as well as increase productivity. Below are some of the measures that employers can put in place in order to care for their employees:

Hardship allowances

The hardship allowance is a cushioning amount normally given to employees when the situation is bad and also as a way of recognising various difficulties which the employees are facing. Hardship allowances are normally calculated as a percentage of the employee’s salary, depending on the agreement between the employee and employer. It is important to give employees a raise on a regular basis as hardship allowances because it shows that you value them and their contribution to the company, even if things are not well for the entry. A hardship allowance can boost morale, increase employee satisfaction, and encourage hard work.

Flexible working hours

A flexible schedule may allow an employee to work during hours that are outside the company’s normal schedule. Inflexible hours, especially combined with low wages, place demands on employees that leave them starved for time, both for themselves and their families. If employees were working eight hours daily, reducing the working time to six or seven hours as well as giving them off days would be an encouragement. Working intensely may contribute to a decline in the well-being of employees and productivity in the workplace, especially during lean moments like Zimbabwe is going through.

Offer leave days when request

Giving employees paid time-off is very helpful as it can boost productivity and the creativity of employees. When your employees are overworked, it can lead to burnout that, in turn, may cause physical health issues, higher absenteeism and lower productivity. Therefore, giving your employees paid time-off for holidays, vacations and sickness can improve their quality of life, offer a better life-work balance and give employees more opportunities to take care of their families. In actual fact, time-off may help improve your employees’ general mental health as well as ensure that employees do not lose passion at the workplace.
Offering competitive pay (Both monetary and non-monetary)

One of the most employee-welfare activity in human resources management incudes a competitive pay structure that provides your employees with the necessary motivation to produce quality work as well as give them good quality life. Offering a competitive wage will both benefit your company’s profitability and improve the dedication and quality of your staff. You can also offer monetary incentives in order to encourage your employees to work productively as well as show them that you appreciate their effort.

For example, you could offer an additional quarterly bonus, depending on employees’ level of performance, or you may let employees have a commission on each sale or transaction they complete. You can also offer additional hourly pay during times of high demand, like holidays. This can provide some extra money for their families and reduce stress during hard times.

Give employees a sense of certainty

Certainty is one of the most basic needs. It is possible to give people a sense of control and safety even when there are huge levels of uncertainty around. Being truthful and involving people early on in the process can really help. Do your employees trust you as a consistent and dependable leader? You can build this trust by repeatedly honouring your commitments. If you’re guilty of over-promising and under-delivering, try stitching your ways. Be more realistic in the benchmarks you set.

Providing a safe work environment

Giving your staff a safe and comfortable work environment is one of the most important employee-welfare activities.

When your employees are comfortable, they will be highly motivated and be able to work more productively. At the same time, you should design your employees’ work spaces so that they’re comfortable and don’t cause them pain or strain. This might include purchasing ergonomic office equipment and adjusting it for your employees’ health needs.

Employees spend most of their time at the workplace. With this in mind, organisations, therefore, become their home away from home. Every organisation has a role to play in providing welfare facilities to the stakeholders. A satisfied employee is the key ingredient for the progress of any organisation and the concept of employee welfare is and will always be a part of organisational efficiency.

 Emmanuel Zvada is a human capital consultant and an international recruitment expert. He writes in his personal capacity.

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