9 Signs That A Company Actually Cares About Employee Health

Linda Le Phan

Pretty much every recruiter or HR rep ever will tell candidates that their organizations is invested in employee wellness. But are they? Some truly are and some are simply going through the motions. How can you tell if your workplace truly cares about employee health?

To start, a look at how they approach everything from sick days to fitness can reveal a lot. Offering healthcare benefits is a good start, but a comprehensive approach to health and wellbeing goes far beyond these basics. Here’s what to watch for and how to tell if your employer truly cares about your wellbeing:

They Have an Active, Useful Wellness Program

Employee wellness programs were all the rage in 2014, but some companies that embraced them lost interest after the initial push.  A recent piece in Slate magazine lamented the lack of effectiveness of corporate wellness programs that were allowed to fizzle after an impressive start.  If your work has a wellness plan in place, pays for some wellness options or even has an in-house gym or sports teams, they are likely still pretty invested. If their idea of a “wellness plan” is a handful of dusty brochures and an outdated Bowflex, they may not care much at all.

They Reward and Incentivize Healthy Employees

A workplace that gets involved and rewards employees who stay healthy are obviously invested in the wellbeing of their staff. Whether management supports you in your 5K run for cancer or notices and cheers you on when you reach a new fitness or wellness milestone, a company that is interested and engaged in your wellbeing obviously cares about your overall health.

Incentives like contests, free fit trackers, testing or gear are all good signs, as are employer sponsored walking groups or even a commitment to standing meetings. Whether your organization takes a formal approach and creates challenges and workplace wide efforts to improve health and fitness or simply cares enough to support you in your endeavors, their interest in your wellbeing is a good sign.

They Offer Onsite Fitness Opportunities or Partner with a Local Gym

A gym that is up to date, clean and usable is a true perk and a sign that your employer really cares. Equipment and maintenance are costly and only pay off in terms of employee wellness and morale. If your business is not only investing in but regularly caring for an updating equipment, you can be sure they care.

Some businesses are committed to employee health, but lack the square footage or ability to maintain an effective workout zone. Those with an interest in employee health will go the extra mile and partner with a local gym. Many fitness facilities offer corporate incentive plans and group discounts; an organization that partners with a local gym, yoga studio or fitness center is broadcasting its interest and willingness to invest in employee health.

They Support Breastfeeding and Maternity Needs

Employers that care support your family’s needs and go far beyond what they are required to do legally and by the FLMA. If your workplace offers a clean, comfortable setting for nursing or pumping, you’re likely working for an organization who cares. Even if you never bring the baby to the office to show her off, pumping is great for her health and yours – and an employer that supports that need is showing they truly care. If the “nursing room” is the broom closet and packed with cleaning supplies and spiders, chances are your employer is not really invested in health.

They Offer Sick Days and Don’t Penalize Employees for Using Them

Paid sick days do more than just protect the rest of the office from germs, they can help boost workplace morale, too. If your workplace not only offers sick days, but doesn’t give you a hard time for taking them,  they care about your health and the health of your fellow employees, too.

Burrito chain Chipotle found out the hard way that you really need to let workers stay home when they are sick; several highly publicized outbreaks of norovirus were linked to the company’s now defunct policy of making sick employees work or stay home without pay. The company has since revised this bad idea and the brand is recovering, but the chain of incidents really reinforced the importance of an employee friendly approach to sick days.

They are Fully Compliant with Worker’s Compensation, FMLA and Other Important Protections

This one matters for more than health reasons. A company that scrimps on these important requirements is likely cutting corners elsewhere too.

They ask for your Input on Health Insurance and Wellness Issues and Decisions

You may not be the decision-maker, but a company that asks for your feedback or provides you with a menu of benefits choices is showing that they see you as a true individual and is trying to meet the needs of a diverse group of employees.

Onsite Food Options are Healthy and Affordable

Whether they just have a water cooler (that works) and a few humble vending machines with healthy snacks or a full cafeteria that provides fresh, attractive and healthy food, when the food options you have are all good ones it means that your workplace cares. Some employers don’t have the budget to offer prepared foods, but even the presence of a refrigerator and microwave so you have options is a plus. No food options, or just a dated vending machine filled with candy from the 1990s? Your employer isn’t really invested in providing healthy choices for staff. While there’s room for improvement, lots of companies realize this benefit is important – among the thousands of companies reviewed on kununu:

  • 21% have an on-site cafeteria
  • 16% offer free snacks/drinks
  • 10% offer free (company provided) meals 

Wellness Programs and Incentives are Inclusive and Available to all Team Members

Offices that do reward wellness also need to be careful to include everyone. All body types, ages and levels of fitness should be included and encouraged. It’s no fun to be left out on the playground as a kid – and no fun as an adult, either.

Assessing how much a company cares about employee health means looking at a variety of factors and noting just how invested the business is in worker’s overall wellbeing.

 

Does your company really and truly *care* about your health? Let us know @kununu_US (or share that anonymously here)!

 

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Linda Le Phan is the Content Marketing Manager at kununu US, a place where job seekers can get an authentic view of life at a company and where employers have a trusted platform to better engage talent. That means that everything on the editorial calendar goes through her (want to write for us? learn more here). When she’s not creating content about the modern workplace, company culture, and life & work hacks, she is probably going out to get an iced coffee (even in Boston winter), raiding the snack drawer, or jamming to kununu’s Spotify playlist.