Health promotion in the workplace has come a long way in Ireland in recent years. The vast majority of employers that I work with now appreciate the fact that a yoga class and a lunch and learn here and there does not constitute a wellness programme.
The reason why organisations introduce wellness initiatives is slowly changing too. Historically the end goal was simply to save money; to minimise absenteeism rates and to reduce health insurance premiums. Cost benefit is still a factor for many and a properly executed wellness programme WILL deliver long term savings but I don’t believe this is the main driver any more.
I would argue that employee retention and attraction has taken over as the number one reason why Irish businesses are increasingly focusing on staff health promotion. For some this may be because it’s what millennials are demanding and they need to keep up with the competition. For others (and what I hope is the majority) it’s because the senior leaders in that business genuinely care about the health and wellness of their employees.
Organisations that are authentic in supporting the health and wellness of staff and commit to long term wellness programming will win the war for top millennial talent.
I wrote recently about the three accreditations that are launching in Ireland to recognise the efforts of Irish businesses that promote and support a healthy workplace. These accreditations are another step in the right direction to guide organisations towards long term and sustainable workplace wellness initiatives.
A few weeks back I attended the KeepWell Summit at Croke Park. The event was hosted by Ibec who launched the first of the workplace wellness accreditations in Ireland late last year: The KeepWell Mark. The event brought together a number of speakers involved in health promotion in Irish workplaces as well as those in HR and other functions tasked with the implementation of these initiatives. There was a fantastic energy and buzz in the room from those on the podium right through to all the attendees.
I want to keep this energy and buzz going. I don't want "Workplace Wellness" to be seen as just another fad or missed opportunity in a few years time. With that in mind I’ve set up a group called Workplace Wellness Ireland. The group is aimed at those working directly in workplace wellness in Ireland, senior leaders and HR professionals tasked with wellness promotion in their organisations and anyone that is passionate about making their workplace a healthier place to be.
We are moving in the right direction with workplace health promotion in Ireland but there is still a long way to go. By coming together, sharing ideas, lessons learned and mistakes made I believe we can play a significant role in steering the ship while at the same time educating ourselves and our businesses and continuously improving the quality of our services as we navigate the waters.
Yours in health,
P.S I love talking about health and wellbeing so drop me a line to discuss any of the above. I'd be happy to support you or your business with their wellness objectives.
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