Why Employee Wellbeing is Essential to a CFO’s Bottom Line

Wellbeing programs have shown time and time again that they increase employee productivity, morale and attract and retain talent. Awareness at the CFO level is growing, with Deloitte finding 70 per cent of CFO’s view workplace wellbeing as a strategic priority, due to the growing evidence suggesting a multi-faceted employee wellbeing program is linked to business growth.

Increasingly employees are viewing wellness programs as an expectation in the workforce. Healthy organisations are viewed as ‘employers of choice’ and are proven to generate three times higher shareholder returns than those of unhealthy ones (Mckinesy), making the case for CFO’s to budget for and integrate wellness initiatives permanently into their organisation.

It’s not as simple as just adding in a few flu shots or gym memberships, CFO’s need to consider the three areas of employee wellness in order to realise the quantifiable benefits; physical, emotional and financial health and wellbeing

Physical Health & Wellbeing

While physical wellbeing may have started out with a focus on reducing workers’ compensation costs, often the encouragement and commitment to a physically healthy workforce has flow on effects to their emotional wellbeing as well.

The cost of absenteeism to the Australian economy now exceeds $32.5 billion per annum in payroll and lost productivity costs (Absence Management & Wellbeing Survey). Low physical activity has been linked to a reduction in the risk of some cancers, lower risk of heart attacks, better recovery from sickness and an increased level of energy and sleep.

Strategies to help your organisation boost its physical wellbeing program should focus on the areas of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Workplace Health; which aligns to new concept of employees as Industrial Athletes.

Emotional Health & Wellbeing

Stressful work environments, long work hours and low morale contribute to absenteeism, presenteeism and have a negative effect on our emotional wellbeing. It may surprise you to learn research found 73 per cent of Australians feel anxious at work, with 85 per cent believing their employer is obliged to address it.

Supporting your existing staff is much more cost-effective than replacing them when they leave. While many organisations offer their employees and family members free counselling in the form of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), some go further with meditation, yoga or mindfulness and workshops on how to manage stress and emotions.

Create, promote and support a work environment where there is recognition of flexible work arrangements. Include policies that accommodate family commitments and appointments, urgent family issues and flexible work schedules.

Financial Health & Wellbeing

CFO’s know the impact that bad finances can have on an organisation and the same goes with employees; it’s a crucial area of wellbeing that can be lost in the focus on mind and body

Research by BT shows that ‘1 in 3 Australians report their quality of life has been affected due to their financial situation. Australians are increasingly concerned about income stagnation, debt repayments and retirement adequacy’.

Companies can seek to support their employees navigate their financial wellbeing by allocating funding for visits onsite by financial planners and superannuation advisers.

How to Create a Workplace Wellness Program

There is no one size fits all approach to creating a workplace wellness program and is completely dependent upon your corporate culture and goals.

CFO’s have a critical role to play in creating a healthier workplace by setting the strategic focus and alignment to corporate goals. Ensure funding and recourses are available, along with management support and participation.

Considering who within your organisation should develop the program will depend on the size and scope of your workplace wellness program. The responsibility could sit with the Health & Wellness Coordinator, an established committee, Human Resources division or a combination of these.

Get started by using our Work Health Planning Guide which provides a simple step by step process to developing a workplace wellness program, or conduct research of what has worked well for other organisations.

Alternatively engaging with an external provider can be a more cost effective and faster way to develop your program with the added benefits of having access to a more diverse range of expertise and experience.