I suppose we have to practice what we preach…

Ben ShirleyEmployee WellnessLeave a Comment

I recently hired a new employee, Rachel; a business graduate who has been working in Auckland for the past couple of years. During her interview, I asked Rachel why she was interested in joining our team as opposed to a larger corporate. Rachel explained that she preferred the culture of SME’s and didn’t want to end up in an environment where she felt like “another cog in the wheel”.

Unbeknown to Rachel, I had already been looking into the idea of Employee Wellness to address this perception; which can prevent larger companies from attracting good staff.

A versatile Employee Wellness program gives employees the opportunity to reach their physical, personal and financial goals. Examples of common components include: flexible work hours, health checks, help with budgeting/financial planning, company-wide fitness challenges and fundraisers, etc.

Having worked in the group insurance market for over 10 years, I’ve noticed a trend in employees showing greater interest in non-monetary benefits which increase job satisfaction and personal wellbeing. In a second interview, I showed Rachel the Employee Wellness Wheel I had been working on and she thought it was a great idea. So I hired her on the spot. But Rachel did have one curly question for me, “how do you implement this here?”.

Time to start practicing what I was about to preach. Using our Employee Wellness Wheel (see below), our team started to brainstorm.

We came up with some ideas to kick off our wellness journey:

  • Ergonomic workstation evaluations
  • Individual health assessments carried out by the SwitchedOn team
  • Longer lunch breaks to allow for “Noon-walks” for admin staff to get them moving and away from their desks for half an hour or so (this is a really easy way to reach the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week without taking up personal time)

A couple of months (and a lot of research) later, our office now has an annual Wellness Program with a different focus or challenge each month – e.g. Junk Free June, Dry July, daily step challenges, bringing healthy lunch from home everyday.

Rachel will keep you posted with the successes and challenges of each monthly goal.

How does this affect you?

In today’s competitive human resource market, companies – large and small – need to start looking at the bigger picture and build a culture that makes employees feel valued as people; not parts.  It’s not rocket science, healthier employees are happier employees, and happier employees are more productive and focussed at work. I see employee wellness as a win-win. Employees receive benefits that improve their overall wellbeing and employers get the most out of their staff.

Vodafone spokesperson, Bailey Cunningham, says there’s more to workforce wellbeing than a flu shot or gym membership. Bailey claims Vodafone supports employees to work in a flexible way wherever possible and they have found this delivers great outcomes. Workplace flexibility allows employees to keep on top of their physical, mental, and financial health goals. In return, this reduces unproductive work time where employees underperform due to illness or stress.

Chris Till, CEO of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) prefers the term life-work balance as opposed to work-life balance. He believes that younger employees, in particular, will leave companies that follow an outdated nine-to-five business model. Chris claims “employers need to get with the programme. Otherwise, they’re not going to attract people or keep them” (Picken, 2016).

While this all makes sense in theory, it can be hard to find the time and resources to develop a versatile wellness program. Luckily, we’re here to help.

We have several low-cost initiatives to help kick-start your Employee Wellness program no matter the size of your company or the industry you operate in. We’ll work with you to tailor a program that suits your company and strengthens your culture; helping you attract and retain the right staff.

Contact us today for further information or to start your wellness journey.



Picken, D. (2016, September 16). More Bay workplaces bringing wellness to their staff. Bay of Plenty Times. Retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11708006

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