Ensuring the welfare of your employees offers benefits to both your business's bottom line and your workers' quality of life. Not only can employee welfare activities boost your workers' morale, productivity and job satisfaction, but offering them can even boost your company's profitability and reputation and can even make it easier to attract quality staff.
Some common staff welfare activities include keeping the work environment safe, offering desirable pay and benefits, fostering employees' wellness, offering educational benefits and providing assistance to workers' families.
Providing a Safe Working Environment
Giving your staff a safe and comfortable working environment is one of the most important employee welfare activities. When your employees are comfortable, they'll have better morale and be able to work more productively. In addition, depending on your company size and industry, regulations like the Occupational Safety and Health Act may apply, and neglecting worker safety can put your company at risk for lawsuits, reputational damage and costly fines.
In addition to taking actions such as keeping the workplace clean and maintaining the facilities, you should train your workers on safety, put up posters or other documents that explain known hazards and clarify policies for the safe handling of chemicals and equipment. At the same time, you should design your employees' work spaces so that they're comfortable and don't cause pain or strain. This might include purchasing ergonomic office equipment and adjusting it for your employees' health needs.
Offering Competitive Pay
One of the employee welfare activities in HRM, or human resources management, is setting a competitive pay structure that provides your employees with motivation to do quality work and gives them a good quality of life. While your company might legally only have to pay workers a state-determined minimum wage, offering a higher living wage will both benefit your company's profitability and improve the dedication and quality of your staff.
You can also offer monetary incentives to encourage your employees to work productively and to show them that you appreciate their effort. For example, you might offer an additional quarterly bonus depending on level of performance, or you may let employees have a commission on each sale or transaction they complete. You can also offer additional hourly pay during times of high demand, like the holidays. This can provide some extra money for their families and reduce the stress of busy work days.
Providing Insurance Benefits
Offering insurance benefits is a good employee welfare measure to give your employees security in case they have issues with health, a disability or an accident. In fact, if your small business has more than 50 full-time workers, the Affordable Care Act requires that you offer acceptable health insurance benefits or else pay a tax penalty. In addition to offering comprehensive health coverage, you can offer vision, dental, life, accident and disability insurance benefits to give your employees some peace of mind and help them avoid unexpected large expenses.
In addition to insurance plans, your small business can offer health flexible-spending accounts that offer tax benefits for employees. These plans allow workers to put aside a certain amount from each paycheck that they can use throughout the year to pay for expenses such as medications, doctor bills, contact lenses, glasses and dental treatments. The downside to these plans, though, is that any funds not spent by the end of the year will be lost and can't roll over.
Having Wellness Programs
Your business can also incorporate staff welfare activities that encourage employees to eat healthily and get proper exercise. If your location has enough room, you might have a workout room where employees can get some exercise before or after work or even during lunch. You could also pay for employees to have access to a local gym or at least help out with part of the costs. You could also hold special events where local health and nutrition professionals offer advice and counseling.
Offering Employee Assistance Programs
Other employee welfare activities involve helping your employees with issues they face outside of work, including family and legal issues. One example is a legal assistance program in the form of a pre-paid legal services plan. When needed, your employees would have access to a network of local attorneys whom they can call or meet in person to get advice on issues like criminal law and family issues.
You can also consider family-focused programs for adoption and child care. Your company might offer to refund part or all of the costs of adopting a child or allow for some time off during the process for employees who want to expand their families. Another option is having an in-house day care center so that working parents worry less about finding care for their children. Such a benefit can be included as part of the employees' compensation package or be offered at a subsidized rate.
Giving Employees Paid Time Off
When your employees are overworked, it can lead to burnout that causes physical health issues, higher absenteeism and lower productivity and quality. Therefore, giving your employees paid time off for holidays, vacations, sickness and even personal days can improve their quality of life, offer a better life-work balance and give employees more opportunities to take care of their families. Paid time off can also improve your employees' general mental health and help ensure they don't lose passion in their interests and careers.
Offering Fellowship Opportunities
While socializing with colleagues may not be the main purpose of work, your employees still have social needs to meet so that they're happier and more productive. You can include employee welfare activities like holiday parties, weekend trips, lunch gatherings and team-building events to give employees some time to relax and enjoy one another's company and even connect with others in the community. Even adding a ping-pong table or video games in the office to use during employees' breaks and lunches can help boost morale.
Offering Ongoing Professional Development
Getting to know your employees and their goals is important for coming up with education-related staff welfare activities to help them progress in their careers. You can provide thorough ongoing training inside your company to help employees perform their current jobs. Another option is to pay for an industry trainer to offer seminars or subscribe to an online educational program so employees can learn required skills at their own pace and convenience.
You can consider higher-educational assistance that provides funds toward college tuition, books and supplies to earn a degree or certificate. Examples of activities might include creating scholarship programs, reimbursing your workers for a yearly limit of costs or giving a set amount of money for education as long as employees meet requirements.
Often, these programs come with terms such as maintaining a certain GPA, taking courses from a specific institution, having tenure and choosing a program related to the employees' current work.
Considering Other Employee Welfare Activities
While the employee welfare examples discussed are the most common, you have freedom as an employer to think outside the box when it comes to benefits that improve your workers' lives. Other staff welfare activities you might consider include:
- Offering pet insurance.
- Providing free meals and snacks.
- Offering laundry services.
- Giving employees and their families discounts on products and services.
- Providing free books and magazines.
- Offering flexible work hours.
- Helping employees pay off their student loans.
- Setting aside time for employees to volunteer in the community.
- Taking staff on all-inclusive trips.