WATTS NEW: 6 ways to promote employee wellness
Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) is committed to health and wellness for staff.
The Barbados Light & Power is one company that has made employee wellness a priority and has developed a robust programme to keep staff engaged, motivated and productive.
HSE Administrative Assistant with the BL&P, Requell Griffith, gives some pointers on how they achieve this:
1) Focus on the entire individual
Human beings are multifaceted and work is just one part of an employee’s life – albeit a major one. The BL&P’s detailed wellness programme aims at improving all aspects of staff life – mental, physical, financial and emotional. This includes providing gym facilities and amenities such as a staff counsellor and nurse.
2) Keep it interesting
The Barbados Light & Power keeps its staff engaged in its health and wellness programme with monthly wellness initiatives that focus on different areas of wellness.
Griffith shared some of the monthly initiatives that took place at the BL&P:
- Focus on financial wellness where employees tuned into to a podcast by a consultant specialist on the topic.
- Focus on nutrition with the Fruit Friday initiative where employees were treated to a selection of fruit every Friday during the month.
- Partnering with external agencies to provide expert knowledge, for example, a HIV and Sexual Awareness seminar coordinated by the National HIV/AIDS Commission.
3) Be responsive to changes in the work environment
The workplace is dynamic – restructurings and other periods of significant change can be stressful. Keep this in mind when designing your health and wellness programme, as ramping up activities during periods of high stress can help employees cope better and remain on top of their game.
4) Stay on track
Don’t be discouraged and abandon initiatives if the staff doesn’t immediately come on board. With all things new, it takes some time for staff to fully throw their support behind the wellness initiatives. Once employees see that your commitment to their health and wellness is a long-term investment, they will begin to appreciate and participate in activities. Of course, always garner feedback on which initiatives are best received, so you know what works best for your company.
5) Customise your programme
Nothing makes someone feel more special than knowing that something was done with them in mind. Therefore, don’t settle for a ‘one size fits all’ approach to your company’s wellness programme. At the Barbados Light & Power, they develop activities according to each month’s wellness theme and specific to each department’s job description and requirements.
6) Provide an incentive
Who doesn’t like a bonus for their efforts? The BL&P supports and motivates staff to stay on course by keeping track of their attendance and participation in wellness initiatives. Employees are rated on their participation in the company’s scorecard incentive which is part of the productivity bonus program where they would be awarded for participating in three out of the twelve activities.
How has this approach worked for the Barbados Light & Power?
Griffith said the attitude of staff quickly changed from wanting to meet a target to willful participation when they realised the usefulness of the wellness initiatives.
“As the year went on the participation levels started to increase. They realised that the information being put out was valuable. So instead of ‘I am coming just to meet a target for my department, [it changed to] I am coming because I really want to be involved.”
Griffith noted there was soon a ripple effect where staff not only participated fully in their department’s activities but also in other wellness initiatives hosted by the Corporate department, and parent company Emera Inc.
Thus far for 2017, employees have been focusing on how to effectively manage the use of technology as well as stress busters for heart health with the assistance of the Heart & Stroke Foundation. In March, healthy ageing was the topic of focus with employees competing in brainteaser quizzes; now they are gearing up to take part in Emera’s Eat Smart Challenge in June.
The BL&P has found that supporting employees’ health and wellness is an important strategy to minimise loss of productivity due to illness and absenteeism.
What initiatives do you think will work for your company?