If a business is to thrive, the focus of its wellbeing program should be on increasing employee productivity. That’s one major finding in the Xerox (NYSE: XRX) HR Services’ 2016 study, Working Well: A Global Survey of Workforce Wellbeing Strategies. Improving productivity rose from fourth in 2014 to the top objective this year, outpacing employee engagement and attracting and retaining employees.

“Directly linking wellbeing to productivity has been an evolution,” said Xerox Services client, Philia Swam, manager of Health, Wellness and Group Benefits at LafargeHolcim. “Early in our wellbeing initiative, we looked at ensuring improvement from a purely health perspective and watched participation in our preventive care program steadily increase. Now we’re experiencing improvements in productivity statistics. One example is our reduction in days people are out on disability leave.”

Wellbeing goes beyond the health of an individual and includes physical, mental/emotional, and financial aspects, any of which can have a negative impact on an employee’s productivity. Companies are in turn rounding out their wellbeing offerings and are particularly recognizing the negative effects of poor financial wellbeing, with two-thirds seeing lowered productivity as a direct impact, and half citing increased absence from work due to financial distractions.

“Healthy, productive employees are the lifeblood of a company,” said John Gentry, president, Xerox HR Services. “In the past, the thought that healthy workers meant productive workers was somewhat of a theory. Today with aggregate data and analytics, there is a much stronger case for return on investment.”

Creating a Culture of Wellbeing
While only 33 percent of respondents report a strong culture of wellbeing, 83 percent aspire to it in the future. Seventy-four percent of participants view their wellbeing program as an important element of their employee value proposition, aiding in recruitment and retention.

Top-down leadership support is critical to changing the culture. This year 52 percent cite strong support from leaders, up from 43 percent in 2014. From the bottom up, an overwhelming 92 percent credit their local ambassadors’ efforts in supporting a culture of wellbeing.

“We have total leadership support, beginning at the very top, for our wellbeing program and its preventive care focus,” said Swam. “Health and safety is our overarching value and the pinnacle of everything LafargeHolcim does. Therefore, our wellbeing program dovetails right into that. At the same time, getting leadership buy-in meant taking good data and positioning it in a way that impacted our workforce, showing direct relevance and not just recommending a blanket wellbeing program.”

Increased Interest in Financial Wellbeing
Developing a culture of wellbeing gets personal and includes helping employees manage their finances. The survey found nearly all participants offer retirement financial security and preparedness programs (92 percent) and financial literacy and skills programs (91 percent).

Programs focused on financial literacy and skills are the fastest growing, with 24 percent having programs in place one year or less and another 39 percent for just the past two to five years.

“Employers are championing a culture of wellbeing, but they also recognize that there are barriers to achieving it globally, such as differing cultures, laws, and practices, and a current lack of global oversight for health or financial strategy,” said Gentry. “That said, these issues appear to be less of a problem when it comes to global financial strategies, so employers are more likely to quickly get behind implementing global financial wellbeing programs.”

While only 36 percent say they have measured specific outcomes from wellbeing programs globally, three out of four respondents say their wellbeing initiatives have produced a medium or high impact on improving employee engagement and morale, organization image, overall employee wellbeing, ability to attract employees, and worker performance and productivity.

Xerox HR Services helps employers improve their HR programs through advisory, technology, and administrative services while enabling employees to better manage their health and wealth programs as well as their career development.

About the Survey
Xerox HR Services’ biannual study, Working Well: A Global Survey of Workforce Wellbeing Strategies, collected data from 428 organizations spanning 33 countries on a broad range of global wellbeing issues, including strategy and objectives, financial wellbeing, communication and culture, and program effectiveness. The survey was completed in August of 2016. The full results are available at no cost to the media by contacting David Joslin at David.Joslin@xerox.com or +1-585-754-2978. It is available to other interested parties for $495.00 by calling +1-800-887-0509 or visiting www.bucksurveys.com.  

Tweet: .@XeroxHRInsights #survey finds employers focused on creating a culture of wellbeing to improve productivity. http://ctt.ec/o2gxt+

About Xerox
Xerox is helping change the way the world works. By applying our expertise in imaging, business process, analytics, automation and user-centric insights, we engineer the flow of work to provide greater productivity, efficiency and personalization. Our employees create meaningful innovations and provide business process services, printing equipment, software and solutions that make a real difference for our clients and their customers in 180 countries. On January 29, 2016, Xerox announced its plans to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies – Xerox Corporation, which will be comprised of the company’s Document Technology and Document Outsourcing businesses, and Conduent Incorporated, a business process services company.