A shoulders-down shot of a doctor in a white lab coat administering a blood pressure test.
Health and wellness screenings are an important and useful service for your employees, and the companies that offer them are taking more safety precautions than ever. — Getty Images/katleho Seisa

Staff and employee wellness is especially important today amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. As many companies navigate managing now-remote team members, leaders should continue to prioritize employee health and wellness. Promoting wellness initiatives demonstrates that business owners prioritize the importance of employee health, which can increase employee engagement and potentially lower business costs on employer-sponsored healthcare.

It can be hard to check in and support employee health and wellness with a remote team, so more creative ways are needed to touch base. Here are five easy ways to measure employee wellness, even if you’re working remotely.

Define and track objectives

The more granular the better when it comes to defining the objectives of a business’s wellness program. It’s not enough to simply want to “improve employee wellbeing” among participating staff. Instead, goals like “provide employees with lower-cost counseling services” and “create a wellness challenge with an exciting incentive” focus on concrete positive changes in the workplace environment and an employee’s life.

If you’re unsure where to start when creating an employee wellness program objective, take some time to research and reflect on what has already been done. Does your business have an existing program? Survey employees regarding the current offerings, including mental, physical, financial and social support, and analyze whether the existing program has measured up to the objectives it set out to accomplish.

Track patterns in employee sick time

Depending on your business’s PTO structure, data from evaluating sick leave patterns will differ. Regardless of the structure of a company’s PTO and sick leave policy, it’s recommended to dig into any large or alarming peaks or valleys in employee sick time usage.

For companies that employ a “use it or lose it” PTO policy, leaders may see an uptick in used days near the cutoff date before the hours expire. This pattern is different from flu or allergy season, where a chunk of employees who suffer from either would most likely be absent as a courtesy to their coworkers.

If you’re unsure where to start when creating an employee wellness program objective, take some time to research and reflect on what has already been done.

Pay attention to turnover rates

Turnover is an excellent way to gauge employee attitudes and perceived work-life balance. In a 2018 study conducted by HubSpot on retention in the workplace, researchers found that work-life balance and employee well-being were both in the top five reasons employees choose to leave. Both reasons are preventable by offering an employee-centric approach to wellness programs.

Take a look at the turnover rate for your business. To find your turnover rate for any given timeframe, simply divide the total number of employees who left by the average number of employees and multiply by 100. While most companies are within the 12% to 20% range, organizations should aim for somewhere around a 10% turnover rate.

Hold annual health assessments or biometric screenings

Before the pandemic, holding biometric screenings (quick physical exams to give you a snapshot of your height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar) at health fairs was a great way to promote employee wellness and encourage them to take an active interest in their health.

During the pandemic, your team may be working from home or, if they’re in the office, may not feel comfortable in a small space with a stranger taking their vitals. Good news: The screening companies relied on before the pandemic for biometric assessments are still reliable and safer than ever. Most will give businesses strict instructions and clearly explain the logistics of the screening process so employees can take advantage of the opportunity and feel safe while doing so.

If in-person screening isn’t an option, at-home test kits are a great alternative. Employees can test and self-report their biometrics on their own time.

Ask for feedback through surveys

Surveying your employees regarding the wellness plan is the most organic and, oftentimes, the most valuable way to measure how a wellness plan is performing against its objectives. Completing the survey anonymously and being promised an incentive, employees will usually be happy to give feedback, especially if they have confidence in leadership that their thoughts will be taken to heart and could bring about impactful change.

While creating the survey, cultivate a list of questions that will elicit insightful, honest and helpful responses while not crossing a line of asking intrusive, personal health management questions.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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