Occupational wellness – the missing piece in your workplace wellness strategy?

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With employee engagement at staggeringly low levels (approximately 25% in Australia and New Zealand) companies across the land are putting more time, money and energy into developing workplace wellness programs. 

Designed to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity, these programs typically provide services and support to employees intended to create a healthier and happier workforce.  Initiatives include free health checks, stress management support, on-site massage services, weight loss programs, gym memberships, health and lifestyle coaching and opportunities to volunteer for causes close at heart.   

These are all commendable and valuable initiatives but they only go so far in addressing engagement issues. 

It’s widely accepted that a positive organisational culture and belief in leadership play a massive role as do relationships with co-workers.  For millennials however, who will comprise half of the workforce by 2020, the opportunity to use their skills and abilities, find meaning in their work and access career development and advancement opportunities is significantly important, ranking in the top 5 drivers of employee satisfaction.  

So, could occupational wellness be the missing piece of the jigsaw and what is it?

Our definition of occupational wellness is the extent to which people find satisfaction, enrichment and meaning through their work.  At its core, occupational wellness is about making sure that people:

·      Are satisfied with their career

·      Have opportunities to use their skills and abilities in their daily activities

·      Are happy with the balance between work and life

·      Have a manageable workload

·      Are motivated, inspired and challenged at work

·      Are developing professionally and feel supported in doing so

·      Are moving towards their career goals

·      Believe they are being fairly compensated

The lower the level of occupational wellness, the higher the incidence of workplace stress and conflict which translates to reductions in employee satisfaction and engagement. 

Occupational wellness also impacts the effectiveness of learning and development initiatives.  Organisations with low occupational wellness levels investing in training may well be wasting their time and money. 

Having historically been viewed as somewhat of a luxury spend, employers of choice now see occupational wellness initiatives as a business essential and crucial driver of employee satisfaction, engagement and productivity. 

If you’re interested in future-proofing your business, contact us to learn more about Strategic Career Management’s occupational wellness programs.