Too small for wellbeing? How SMEs can roll out successful health schemes

A Bupa survey showed that less than half of SME leaders said that health and wellbeing would be a key consideration as they grow their business. Many see wellbeing initiatives as the preserve of large corporates with deep pockets. But that doesn’t need to be the case.

We’re already seeing the benefits of the scheme we implemented at essensys. Although we’re growing, essensys is still an SME with fewer than 100 staff on its books. Ensuring our workers are healthy is hugely important to us and we believe we have a responsibility to help them. Why? Because a healthier employee feels more engaged and happier. And we see all sorts of benefits related to having a stable workforce that takes less sick leave.

Mark Furness – Founder and CEO, essensys, explains that whilst their plan was bold but so far, it’s working. We employed a full time Health & Wellbeing Consultant who helped draw up a holistic programme. It includes quarterly full body scans using medical-grade DEXA (dual X-ray) technology. This informs the bespoke health and fitness programmes that staff can measure themselves against. We’ve also introduced free weekly personal training sessions and gym membership for all staff. Plus, our consultant draws up meal plans, nutritional advice and even stress management workshops.

These measures instantly created a positive impact on our people. Many had never even set foot in a gym before, let alone had a PT session! They have been amazed at the opportunity to turn their lives around. The whole team has overhauled their diets and is implementing tailored workout plans. There’s a great buzz around the office.

But the results go much deeper. Many will cry that such measures are a waste of time and money. And there were even some initial misgivings within our company. But now it’s in place, we have a healthier workforce. Our outputs are better and staff feel empowered to work at their best.

So is this something that everyone can do? To some extent it is. It isn’t just a decision companies should make without looking at the needs of their employees. Ultimately it makes business sense to take the plunge. How could quality of work and productivity be improved if staff feel less stressed? How can staff make better decisions if they feel more rested and alert?

Act on information from experts, not just on instinct – it helped us to invest in the right areas for our business. But also commit to constantly review the measures you have in place. That way, your programme will always reflect current business goals and will be refined based on feedback from across the company.

Image: Shutterstock

  • Andrew Harris

    Excellent to see a great example of workplace wellness succeeding in an SME. The work we’ve don’t with SME’s in Leicestershire also proves that wellbeing isn’t a waste of time or money. We’ve had some great results including one business who saved £40,000 which equated to a 1:10 ROI in just 18 months.