The well-being of staff is also the company’s concern. In Europe, 44% of companies declare that they offer a health protection programme. Top of the list comes: stress. Yet, in practice, the measures taken to combat this scourge remain timid. Here are five arguments in favour of an ambitious company wellness policy.
1- The law obliges the company to protect the mental health of their employees
This obligation is stated in article R4121 of the Labour Code. Lawmakers are paying ever more attention to psychological suffering at the workplace. In 2009 the so-called Darcos Plan put an obligation on companies with more than 1,000 employees to enter into negotiations for the prevention of stress at the workplace. But any company may be held liable if the courts decide that the organisation of work or the absence of the right prevention policy were the cause of an employee’s psychological problems.
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WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY ABOUT STAFF HEALTH AND WELL-BEING? An interview with the lawyer Bruno Serizay
2- The problem is much more serious than people think
Studies have shown that stress is a debilitating factor at all levels of the organisation. Only one in three people in France enjoys going to work. 50% of managers say they suffer from sleep disorders. Statistical studies confirm these survey results. In France since 2007, psychosocial risks have become the primary reason for seeing a doctor with work-related ailments.
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3- Staff malaise is very costly for the organisation
Absenteeism is the most visible indicator of staff malaise. According to a study carried out in the UK, absenteeism costs £300 a year per company employee. Yet there is something worse: “presenteeism”. This practice concerns the fact of staff becoming less efficient through stress and malaise at work, and may well cost more than double that.
4- A welfare policy limits staff turnover and facilitates recruitment
Keeping the most experienced and efficient employees, while recruiting new talent, are the reasonable HR management objectives in a healthy company. In a study conducted by Stepstone among 5,000 European employers and employees, it appears that the factors that have a positive effect on how the employer brand is perceived all add up to what could be called a company wellness policy.
5- The costs of a wellness policy are much less than the benefits accruing.
What is the main impediment to putting in place a company wellness policy? Its cost. And yet, such a policy looks more like a profitable investment than an expense, for all the reasons mentioned above: improving productivity, promoting the employer brand, compliance with the law, and more generally risk reduction …
The real difficulty might well come instead from managers, reluctant to question their practices and relationships within the company. This is why a company wellness policy should not be limited to homoeopathic measures. On the contrary, it should be part of a broader strategy involving internal communication and reflection on management.
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