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Recognising and
rewarding employees to encourage wellbeing behaviour change

Our viewpoint

If there is one thing the recent lockdowns have taught (or reminded) us – it’s that our wellbeing is central to everything we do. With the rise of online fitness videos, promotion of mindfulness and the importance of taking breaks whilst employees (in most cases) work from home, the way we live has significantly changed.

Encouraging employees to practice positive wellbeing behaviours so that they remain productive and feel satisfied at work has never been more important. Research we carried out just before the pandemic hit highlighted that only 40% of employees claimed they felt completely satisfied with their physical, financial and mental health. With most of the workforce perceiving that they had room to improve their wellbeing before COVID-19, it is fair to assume those challenges may very well have increased – but how can organisations help their employees?

Recognition and reward are useful ways for employers to honour work-related performance. Praising employees for good work provides them with a sense of achievement, encourages them to continue producing a high standard of work, and even motivates them to achieve more. But why stop at work-related praise? Recognising and rewarding employees for adopting positive wellbeing practices has a dual benefit; it works as a motivator to encourage positive wellbeing behaviour change, whilst making employees feel valued at the same time. As a result, these feelings translate into increased motivation, happiness and satisfaction at work – a win-win for all.

Here we share four simple ideas that you could consider for your organisation.

  1. Set some fitness challenges and reward employees with prizes
    A step challenge is a great, inclusive way to get employees of all fitness levels on board. To make things competitive, you can organise cash rewards, encourage your employees to contribute to the prize money or even donate to charity for completing fitness challenges.

    If you wanted to take this one step further, you could link the results of the challenges to employee’s healthcare provision benefit. Offering sponsored gym memberships is also a great way to inspire regular physical activity, which is something you can think about if you’re not doing it already. Even recognising and supporting employee’s personal health goals, such as quitting smoking, will prove beneficial. Or, simply recognise an employee for being a positive wellbeing champion.
  2. Introduce saving schemes to encourage financial wellbeing
    One of the key elements of good financial wellbeing is feeling able to cope should something happen. One of the best ways to do that is to build up a savings buffer, or rainy day savings that employees can use to cover unexpected expenses. Our latest research shows that almost 1/3rd (32%) of employees have less than one months savings (including none), so this is an area where employers really can add value to their workforce.
  3. Create a community or network to share top tips for good financial behaviours
    The way we think about our money and how we manage our finances is different for everyone. Some may use apps to encourage saving, providing them with access to discount codes or to help them manage their spending. Others may have experience of good tools and knowledge building sites that have proved useful to create good behaviours.

    There are so many organisations out there doing some really great things that it’s often hard to navigate and find ideas that could help employees. By creating a community where people can share some of the things that have worked for them – it could make a significant difference to others in your workplace.
  4. Remove the stigma – it’s good to talk
    There are many negatives associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are just as many positives we can take from this too. Never before have we had a situation where every person across the globe has seen an impact on their finances at the same time. Yes, it’s true some people have been significantly negatively impacted, but some have been positively impacted too.

    This is a great opportunity for us to share our stories without judgement, prejudice or stigma. Sharing our experiences of financial difficulty (from today and previously), and how we have or could overcome those, will have a huge impact on those around us. Creating a community or network where stories can be shared and support can be offered would be hugely beneficial to employee wellbeing.

How does your organisation compare?

Understanding the importance of employee wellbeing and the impact it has on your organisation is a great place to start. Then consider what areas of wellbeing your company wants to prioritise, reward or recognise. Maybe your organisation promotes flexible working but could improve on the quality of financial wellbeing support it provides? Or perhaps your company has a Sharesave scheme that is well established but wants to consider ways to encourage physical and mental wellbeing?

Wherever you are in terms of employee wellbeing support, it is important to remember that reward and recognition can be utilised in areas other than work-related performance. It may not involve embedding new products or services to your existing benefits, it could simply be a communication exercise reminding employees of the support they have available to them.

If there’s one thing to take away, it is making sure that how you do business is just as important as the business you do.

Employee wellbeing - the state of the nation's financial health

Employee wellbeing - the state of the nation's financial health

Read our latest report, from a survey of over 10,000 employees, which gives a real snapshot of their financial wellbeing to help employers to understand the main issues, and how they can support their workforce.

Download the report