Boosting Employee Engagement through Food
It is now well accepted that there is a correlation between employee engagement and the health and wellbeing of employees but where you ask is the evidence that links employee engagement and wellbeing and the consequential impact on individual and organizational performance.
A 2010 Work Foundation Report took the stance that employee health has become a “hard economic factor” and that employee ill health represents as big a threat to productivity and competitiveness as the country’s skills and training deficit. Wendy Cartwright of Engage for Success unearthed further evidence of significant links between wellbeing and engagement in a U.K. study undertaken in 2014. In particular she found that where there is high engagement but low wellbeing, there is a risk of burn-out over time.
Closer to home, the Nutrition and Health Foundation Ireland recently examined how healthy Ireland’s workforce is and their nationwide research found that 65% of employees who participated in the nationwide survey recognize the need to consume healthier food and drink. Just 15% said their employers provide healthy food choices in company restaurants or vending machine. Only one third of employees take the recommended weekly level of exercise for a healthy lifestyle.
So the stakes are clearly high with 11 million days lost through absenteeism every year at a cost of 1.5bn. not to mention the lost opportunity cost on productivity.
As we move to the workplace of the future the role the business plays in managing the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees has become increasingly complex The expectations of employees are becoming more sophisticated – an employer no longer just needs to create a safe environment for their employee but one where they feel valued and where their more complex needs are met.
A recent survey by the Department of Health tells us that one in six meals is eaten outside of the home. In an effort to boost employee engagement through food employers are rising to the challenge of creating a more urbane and healthy food offering in the workplace across staff canteens and restaurants alike.
As most employers will agree employee engagement and retention is their most important priority as companies want to attract and retain the best talent where ever possible.
In an effort to prove that boosting employee engagement through food really works we have created a list from some of the best HR professionals and Managing Directors from around the country which outlines the 5 best strategies to boost employee engagement through food;
- Provide healthier food options at work
Organizations who provide healthier food options or vending options to their employees are 10 percent more likely to be engaged employees. This is true because research shows that three quarters of employees want access to healthier options in the workplace but less than half of employers actually offer this benefit. Employers will not only boost employee engagement by offering this benefit they will boost productivity, increase performance and help to lower healthcare costs. It’s a no brainer!
- Hold onsite Nutritionist days
An onsite nutritionist can consult with individuals or groups of employee’s right at the office. This gives employees the opportunity to find ways of incorporating recommendations based on their unique lifestyle and goals.
- Display promotional campaigns outlining healthier food and beverage choices
Making employees aware of why it is important to eat healthy is the first step in addressing healthy eating in the workplace and its benefits. Providing messages and resources about healthy eating and the health benefits of eating healthy in a friendly, supportive manner is a significant motivator. The following methods can be used to spread the word
- Brochures / pamphlets / fact sheets
- Bulletin board messages / posters
- Contests / draws / quizzes
- Email messages about healthy eating
- Pay cheque inserts
- Offer environmental support
Employers need to create an area where their employees can interact socially with daily availability of healthy and nutritious food items that have been locally sourced. This will clearly outline the company’s care for wellbeing and, in so doing, get the best return from its employees.
Creating a workplace environment that supports employees in making the healthy food choice the easy choice. Making employees aware of new and existing healthy options by displaying nutritional information at eye level and avoiding the promotion of unhealthy foods is key. Ensuring employees have enough time for lunch and a clean area away from their work stations is also very important.
- Create healthy policies
Develop and implement clear and written guidelines or policies to support healthy eating in the workplace.
Boosting employee engagement is not only the responsibility of senior managers and HR but also the responsibility of all the employees.
Effective teamwork is essential to organizational success. If every employee doesn’t buy into and/or isn’t working toward the same goals, then reaching them will feel like a one step forward, two steps back process of chaos.
- Generating interest with Theme Days
Generating interest and making customer satisfaction a priority, employees will come to appreciate the attention that their needs are given and form a long-lasting relationship with the process.
At Corporate Catering Services, our purpose is longer, healthier, happier lives for our customers. This is at the heart of everything we do and an ambition that takes us well beyond those we serve as customers, with a clear mission to create a positive health impact in society.
We are delighted to add our voice to the collaborative business-led movement which is making the case for health and wellbeing to be treated as an integral part of business practice.