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This is Why Employers Need to Care about Self-care

Prioritizing self-care in the workplace could make you more competitive
By: Amanda McDonald
August 1st, 2017

Self-care has been part of history since ancient Greece, and recently, it has made a huge comeback.

Sure, we can say self-care never disappeared entirely, but what’s important to note is that over the last few years, younger generations have reported spending twice as much on self-care essentials than baby boomers.1

The World Health Organization defines self-care as “personal health maintenance to improve or restore health and to treat preventative diseases.”2 This includes spending on workout regimens, diet planning, life coaching, therapy, and apps to improve personal well-being.

What does this have to do with employers?

Put simply, employers should be extremely in-tune with the growth of the self-care industry because more and more young employees feel that self-care is essential to their overall health.

And we know happy, healthy employees are more productive, more likely to better serve their clients, and less costly to their employers.

Here’s what you need to know about self-care in the workplace

Employee engagement increases when organizations prioritize self-care.

Research shows self-care fosters higher employee engagement, 3 and companies with a highly engaged workforce outperform their peers by 147%.4

Yoga sessions in the office, meditation classes, or access to gyms typically come to mind when we think of self-care at work, but busy schedules don’t always permit employees to take the time during their days to do these things.

There are solutions to that. Have you ever thought of something as convenient as a self-care manual? If not, it’s something to consider.

Self-care manuals include everything from the definition of self-care and the reasons for practicing it, to resources, tips, and encouragement to help employees start making healthier choices.

One employer who offered self-care manuals to employees that encouraged the use of over-the-counter medicines for common health problems saved between $1 million and $2 million annually (excluding savings from reduced presenteeism) for more than 10 years.2

That’s an enormous costs savings! Of course, we encourage all employers to determine what’s best for their employees and make the right decisions in educating employees through appropriate information.

There are numerous ways to make self-care a priority in your workplace without it becoming just another task.

CEOs and management need to prioritize self-care to attract and retain talent

“Leaders need to prioritize self-care not just for their own good, but their organization and their ability to attract and retain talent.”5

Committing to the well-being of your employees starts with creating a culture that fosters healthy behaviors. To do this, leadership within the company must be dedicated to embedding healthy behaviors in their daily life while at work.

If a leader in the organization doesn’t practice self-care, employees are unlikely to make it a priority for themselves.5 What’s more, wellness programs don’t work unless your organization creates a culture where it is accepted and encouraged to practice self-care throughout the day.

Leaders who are able to inspire employees, be kind to them, and encourage them to take care of themselves will have more than just luck finding and retaining talented, hard-working people.

Incorporating a self-care program into your organization’s wellness strategy can save you time and money

Both turnover and burnout plague every organization. Key symptoms of burnout include emotional exhaustion, disengagement from work-related activities, and decreased performance at work and at home. Unsurprisingly, all of these are factors that influence an employee’s decision to quit their job which is costly for employers.

In today’s world, high turnover can cost anywhere from 60 to 200% of an employee’s annual salary.6

Incorporating self-care into a wellness program is a powerful way to avoid burnout and turnover expenses.

Organizations that recognize this and actively embed self-care in their policies and practices. At the same time, they are setting their employees up for success by offering them methods to overcome stress.  For example, methods often include resilience training, tools to identify stress levels, and adding policies to the workplace that allow employees flexibility, encouragement to get up and walk or relax, and opportunities to build relationships with other employees.

If you’re not already making self-care a priority in your workplace, start with these steps

» Determine

Determine the reasons employees feel disengaged. You can do this through an anonymous survey or by having one-on-one conversations with employees

» Acknowledge

Acknowledge the changing needs of both younger employees and older employees.

» Review

Review your current wellness plan. If you don’t already have one in place, you can put together a committee willing to create a plan.

» Decide

Decide on the best way forward to start making self-care a priority in your workplace. Not every organization is the same, and not all employees have the same needs. Remember to consider what’s best for your people and your workplace.

» Promote

Actively promote and live out the self-care strategies you’ve agreed on to make your organization an employer of choice!

For more information on how to create a healthier, higher-performing organization sign up for our mailing list! You’ll receive the most up-to-date information and tips to create a culture that engages employees and attracts top talent!

  1. Silva, C. (2017). The millennial obsession with self-care. NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/2017/06/04/531051473/the-millennial-obsession-with-self-care
  2. Scorza, J. (2015). Is self-care the new health care? Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved form https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/self-care-healthcare.aspx
  3. Seppla, E., Cameron, K. (2015). Proof that positive work cultures are more productive. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are-more-productive
  4. Sorenson, S. (2013). How employee engagement drives growth. Gallup Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/services/190118/engaged-workplace.aspx?g_source=workplace&g_medium=search&g_campaign=tiles&utm_source=LRT&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=StateoftheAmericanManagerReport
  5. Seppla, E. (2016). To motivate employees, do 3 things well. Business Harvard Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/01/to-motivate-employees-do-3-things-well
  6. Maroney, J. (2017). The top three factors driving employee burnout. Forbes Media LLC. Retrieve from https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2017/02/01/the-biggest-workplace-challenge-employee-burnout/2/#2bbd589c786b
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