How to Build a Healthy, Productive, and Loyal WorkforceAsk any manager or business owner, and they will almost always tell you that the strength of their organization is its people. It is an accepted truism that talent is what makes the engine run. However, many businesses are still treating their talent as if it is the 1970s, focusing on compensation and little else.

In 2013, employees want more. Forward-thinking organizations are focused on helping employees be the best they can be. That means engaging them at work, helping them maintain their general wellbeing, and supporting them so that they can deliver optimum performance. As a business manager, that attitude also forwards your goal of creating a cohesive, invested, and winning team. It is not necessarily easy to accomplish this. According to the Gallup Employee Engagement Index, 71 percent of employees are not engaged—defined as “being involved in and enthusiastic about their work.”

Your health is your wealth

Helping employees take good care of themselves is smart business – a healthier workforce has fewer sick days, can bring more daily energy to the job, and – as an added bonus – will save the company money on health insurance premiums. Creating a wellness program should be approached like any other business function – it requires setting a strategy, executing efficiently, and creating accountability for the program. Some best practices include:

  • Lead from the top. If it is important to top management, it will become important to the rest of the team.
  • Set strategy and goals. Be thoughtful about your wellness program, consider what works for your workforce, and determine what your objectives should be.
  • Measure the program’s effectiveness. You cannot manage what you do not measure.
  • Use a broad-based approach. Different employees enjoy different approaches. If your entire wellness program consists of an after-work running club, you will be excluding a lot of people.
  • Create a wellness committee. This gives employees ownership, and positions them as ambassadors.
  • Create a culture of wellness. Instilling good health habits in your employees will go a long way toward creating a healthy culture.
  • Offer incentives. They work, so use them.

Providing a robust wellness program not only helps employees maintain and improve their health, it creates higher levels of engagement when workers feel that their employer cares about them.

Being smarter about productivity

Here is something to strive for – identifying the best behaviors of your best employees on their best days, and finding ways to replicate that.

An engaged workforce is more invested in the outcome of the work it does. The alternative is a workforce that completes tasks in exchange for a paycheck; it is very transactional, and it is becoming more and more difficult to compete in the business world when you have a team that is just collecting paychecks.

Employers can take a hint from Silicon Valley tech startups – not necessarily foosball tables and Friday afternoon happy hours, but the sense of excitement that comes from being in on the ground floor. When employees feel like they are helping to build something bigger, they are more likely to focus on their own productivity and the business benefits as a result. The key is to identify what it will take within your culture to get the entire team pushing in the same direction against that giant flywheel.

The importance of loyalty

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American born between 1957 and 1964 will hold 11.4 jobs over his or her lifetime. And employee churn has only increased; where once it was frowned upon to change jobs frequently, it is now commonplace. Therefore, it is more difficult than ever to keep good employees in place. And that employee churn can be a huge budget drain. According to the Bureau of National Affairs, U.S. businesses lose approximately $11 billion annually due to employee turnover. If your employees are engaged in their work they will do a better job, and they will be far more likely to stay.

There is significant opportunity for the business that commits to building a healthy, productive, and loyal workforce. The company that embraces and implements a forward-thinking approach to talent will be well-positioned to outpace its competition. In this free agent era, being considered a “Best Place to Work” becomes imperative in order to compete at the highest levels.

Contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.