Investing in employee well-being is a great way to keep your employees engaged and happy - and ultimately retain your best workers. Here we will look at the types of well-being benefits you can offer your developers and why it’s worth implementing them.
Employee well-being is crucial for engagement and retention
Poor work-life balance and poor management are among the top three reasons why developers leave a role - both in South Africa and The Netherlands. These factors happen to be major issues that undermine well-being and may cost you your best team members. It’s also important to note that word of mouth is one of the main ways that developers assess your company culture, which means that you’re not only at risk of losing current team members - you might also find it hard to attract new ones.
Investing in employee well-being is not just about retaining your current people, it can also improve employee engagement and overall happiness.
“Companies must ensure that employees have the resources and support available to be able to stay engaged, perform at their very best, and feel that they are free to talk about important issues around mental well-being.” - Meagan Daniels, Entersekt
So what do you need to do? A good place to start is to look at your benefits package and how it contributes to different components of occupational well-being. These components include:
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Work-life balance
- Career development
Let’s look at the types of benefits you can offer your team to cover each of these areas.
EAPs can provide your team with mental health support
An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a benefit that supports and assists team members with problems that are personal and/or work-related and that may impact their job performance, health, and mental and emotional well-being. EAPs can help employees deal with a number of issues ranging from stress, anxiety and depression, to financial or legal problems. It is free, confidential, voluntary and accessible for employees.
Finding an EAP that suits your employees’ needs can be a daunting task, but by conducting internal research and collaborating with external service providers, you can easily narrow down which programmes would best suit your employees and their needs.
At TIH, Nonkululeko Maninjwa explains a comprehensive EAP is offered that “allows employees and their immediate family members access to support across financial, legal, mental and physical well-being. The service aims to provide proactive support on various lifestyle stressors and challenges as well as contain more aggressive cases where mental health concerns may surface”.
The services offered by EAPs vary from company to company, but due to their confidential nature, many companies use them to provide mental health services to their employees.
Ollie Health is an example of an EAP external service provider that companies like Entersekt and OfferZen utilise to provide mental health support to their employees. A South African mental wellness platform, Ollie Health provides easy access to 1:1 counselling services globally. It is completely confidential and information shared by employees is not shared with the company. The service fits the employees’ lifestyle and they are able to book sessions confidentially with registered counsellors, at their own convenience.
By providing a convenient and hassle-free system, Entersekt and OfferZen have received positive feedback from their teams about how access to Ollie Health has helped them.
Nicole Konstantinopoulus, People Operations Specialist at OfferZen says, “our team was genuinely excited about Ollie Health being implemented, so much so that we ran out of credits within a few days of launching. This showed that the service was necessary and also valued. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from those who have used it so far, they have enjoyed the ease of the service, and how accessible it is, and they felt that their session with the Ollie therapists created value for them. I also think it has further promoted talking about mental health and well-being within OfferZen.”
Well-being incentives make it easier to take care of employees’ physical health
Developers often spend all day sitting still and working behind a screen. Giving your employees the option to improve their physical health through incentives will have a significant effect on their well-being and lifestyle. Nicole, People Operations Specialist at OfferZen, says:
“There are many factors of well-being, all of which are interlinked, and physical well-being is one of them. If one area suffers, all of them start to decline, so we want to encourage well-balanced well-being.”
There are many ways companies can provide employees with health and well-being incentives - from things as small as offering a yoga class on weekdays, to providing medical aid contributions.
TIH offers their employees an Employee Wellness Programme (EWP), which includes a whole range of health incentives:
- Daily free fruit
- Subsidised meals
- Subsidised gym
- Internally developed health rewards programme for taking regular well-being engagement measures
- Onsite health screening options
- Free clinical and other multi-disciplinary medical services
- Social sports
- Walking meetings on a defined course
While this may require effort through ongoing campaigns, events, and calendar initiatives, TIH has had no challenges implementing these incentives by forging close strategic partnerships between well-being, corporate affairs and human capital. And the return on investment has proven to be significant: “over 25% of TIH employees have activated the EWP application, and 50% have made use of the health management system (users of clinical services). Just under 30% of employees participate in the health engagement and rewards programme and nearly 15% are onsite gym members, to name a few.”
Flexible work options and generous leave policies can improve work-life balance
Work-life balance is important to developers and allowing employees the flexibility to balance their work demands with their personal lives can lead to less stress and more engagement at work. Companies that offer this kind of flexibility with remote work or other personal incentives will not only benefit their employees but employee happiness and retention will also improve.
Remote working opportunities have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 92% of companies offering work-from-home and hybrid options. But it is not only the option of remote work that companies are offering their employees in terms of personal incentives.
Companies like Entersekt, Bash.com and TIH are recognising that employees should also have access to other incentives that can make their lives easier and improve their connection to work culture. These types of incentives include:
- Leave Policy:
- Encouraging employees to take their leave to rest and recharge is something that companies like Entersekt and OfferZen are doing in order to promote a balance between work and life.
- Special leave days can also be given as optional days off. For example, at OfferZen, an unsick leave day is offered, providing an opportunity for employees to take a day off for preventative or self-care - no questions asked!
- Entersekt and Bash.com encourage teams to work within the hours that work for them. While businesses may have core working hours, allowing teams to work around these hours gives a level of flexibility to employees’ work life.
- Work-from-home office setup:
- Companies like OfferZen and Entersekt ensure that all employees are fully equipped to be able to work remotely. All equipment is provided to employees when they start and this extends to even providing a UPS to keep things going during loadshedding.
Personal incentives that improve work-life balance and work culture are often dependent on the type of company that employs them, and as businesses grow, so does the need to implement certain incentives.
By engaging employees and working together as a team, companies can figure out the best ways to improve work-life balance that also boosts happiness and productivity.
“They have been received exceptionally well and the business has been able to operate even more effectively. Moreover, we have been building a solid culture of inclusivity through diverse incentives that resonate with our equally diverse teams.” - Meagan Daniels, Entersekt
Ensure that your team members can grow at your company
Growth opportunities are developers’ most desired non-monetary benefit with 54% of developers looking to grow within their next role. By offering professional development incentives such as training and coaching, you can add value to your employees and ensure that they are not only growing at work but also in their personal careers.
The type of professional development a company offers should be determined through research with employees about their desired training or coaching, as well as through what a company is able to provide for its employees. There are two main types of training:
- In-house coaching and training.
- By offering internal professional development, companies such as Bash.com, who have their own learning academy, allow for a direct approach that encourages growth within the company.
- External learning opportunities.
- By providing employees with the choice of which training/education programme they would like to attend, companies give the freedom of self-learning that will benefit both the employee and the business.
Choosing the right well-being programme or incentive can have a positive impact on the overall happiness and engagement of your employees. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution as each company faces a variety of factors that affect their needs and constraints.
It’s crucial to collaborate with employees in the decision-making process and decide on programmes that benefit everyone. By conducting surveys or focus groups with employees, you can better understand their needs and preferences. In doing so, you’ll increase employee engagement and commitment to the wellness program, making it more likely to achieve its goals.