03 Dec Wellness and Medical Checks
Here are three questions to think about for your business:
- Do you place value on the wellness and mental fitness of your employees?
- Is it essential to have a fit and mentally alert workforce to your business?
- Does your business have a specific plan in place to monitor and to manage the physical and mental wellbeing of your employees?
Over the past 12 months, there has been a lot of industry, public comment and emphasis on the wellness of employees and the strategies to recognize this as an essential part of health and safety responsibility in New Zealand workplaces.
Is this really a responsibility of business owners or a lot of political correctness/hype?
If you have answered no to the three questions above, then I suggest you reconsider…
The following example did not occur in New Zealand, but it’s still an important reminder that this is a subject to consider and to plan for in 2019.
Why should you do this?
Over the past 70 years, New Zealand has never faced such a shortage of skilled, qualified, and experienced people in the workforce – a shortage of nurses, teachers, truck drivers (we have heard that there is a shortage of close to 1,100 truck drivers in NZ!) tradesmen, engineers and other professions. From my discussions with business owners, we are reaching crisis point and even to the extent that we are now bringing in workers to pick our fruit and we have increased the annual number of immigrants allowed to settle here.
Add to this scenario an aging work force, and the time for taking a different approach to wellness in the workforce is now here. Wellness is not only about physical health – it is also about mental health, and this is now in the spotlight in the workplace and society.
The consequences of getting it wrong with whatever service or products the company supplies is too costly – too often, it destroys the effort made to get it in front of the client.
An observation I have made over the years, is that a business will invest heavily in machinery, computer programs, or other inanimate systems or processes – but little is budgeted for training staff and the well being of employees.
How much does your business budget for this?
So why do it?
It’s not only a health and safety responsibility – it’s also your legal, business and ethical responsibility. How often have you heard or read that often flaunted phrase of “people are our greatest asset”?
When one considers that most employees spend about 35% of their lives in a place of work and are also subject to the stresses and strains in different degrees, does it not make sense to look after that business asset, especially if they are skilled and with the chronic skills shortage New Zealand is facing?
A possible action plan
- Undertake a review of your workforce to establish the value in skills and contribution they make to the business;
- Consider the positions and age of your work force and ask yourself the following question – “if this key employee was to leave for whatever reason, what impact would that have on the business”?
- Consider a company-wide wellness program as being part of your business strategies alongside health and safety, finance, service and production;
- Review your employment processes (including your application for employment) to identify if the new employees have existing medical conditions that could impact on their ability to carry out their employment (NOTE – run these questions past your lawyer first – article here);
- Implement a policy that all new employees have a full medical check-up prior to starting work;
- Introduce (if possible) subsidized annual medical check-ups – this may sound expensive but minimal to replacing an employee;
- Bring into your business experts to talk to your staff about health and medical related issues that may affect them;
- Involve the employee’s partners;
- Monitor the employee’s exposure to the workplace through annual medical checks;
- Don’t look upon this as a drain on the financial resources – look upon it as an investment for the future of the business.
Are your employees your greatest asset?
If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact Hasmate today.