If your small business hasn’t got a great wellbeing policy, you’re missing a trick.
Great wellbeing policies won’t only look after your staff members, they’ll increase productivity, reduce turnover, boost results and attract top job hunters! But crafting one can seem like a lot of work.
As a recruitment platform, we see a lot of benefits lists: some that include wellbeing policies and perks but many that don’t.
At the end of the day, a startup that can boast about its great wellbeing policies will always be more attractive to a job hunter than one that can’t, even if that company is paying a higher salary. Gen-Z job hunters care about mental health, so if you want to win the war for talent, you have to too.
And when you create a supportive, generous and detailed wellbeing policy you’ll look after your team members and inevitably reduce turnover. Your employees will feel cared for, increasing loyalty and productivity.
Building a company wellbeing policy that doesn’t suck
Physical wellbeing needs: health and safety
The first and most basic element of a wellbeing policy is physical: no matter whether your team is remote or office-based, you need a great health and safety policy to take care of them.
If you have fewer than five employees, you don’t need a written health and safety policy. But it’s a good idea to have one ready in case you need to suddenly expand!
We recommend taking a look at official guidance here.
Career wellbeing needs: training
Your training programme will set the tone for your new employees. A great training programme will continue far beyond the onboarding and will help your employees take care of their career needs.
A big element of mental wellbeing comes from our work. If your employees don’t feel like they’re challenged, growing, contributing and doing good in their roles, they won’t feel the best.
A great long-term training programme will support your employees as they grow their skills while making them feel valued. It will stretch beyond learning a new technology or strategy, including personal development and soft skills like leadership and communication.
Mental needs: reducing stress
Does your company culture perpetuate stress?
Everyone feels under pressure at some point in their week. So when stress is such a common issue, why don’t you address it?
Do your employees know who to turn to when they feel overwhelmed? Do they know how to manage their stress and regain control? Do they know what to do when their life stresses get in the way of work? Is your company 100% work and 0% play?
Creating a stress support policy is a great way to show your employees that you care. You could:
- Give 24/7 access to online therapists and hotlines
- Run wellbeing workshops to help your team members manage workplace and life stress
- Plan more company socials and regularly spend afternoons with your team
Emergency wellbeing needs: mental health first aid
Mental health first aiders are popping up in lots of trendy companies. As opposed to a regular first aider who deals with physical injuries, a mental health first aider will deal in treating internal issues, like anxiety and stress.
They can spot signs of issues, step in to give support and refer your team members to resources and the right organisations for long-term help.
Emergency support is so essential when we spend the majority of our days at work. Like any physical problem, mental health issues can surface at any time, but it can be difficult to spot a struggling employee or know how to help. A certified mental health first aider will shoulder the responsibility and look after your team members.
Trendy and ethical paid leave policies for employee wellbeing
Employee wellbeing doesn’t end with one policy. A caring company will develop their working and paid leave policies to encompass physical and mental wellbeing too.
It’s a common belief that standard wellbeing policies aren’t good enough. To become a truly revolutionary company, offering more than the bare minimum is an obvious step!
Plenty of big companies like ASOS and Bumble have been expanding their paid leave policies recently so we can follow their lead.
Fertility treatment, birth, adoption and surrogacy
ASOS now offers five days of paid leave per cycle for employees undergoing fertility treatment, which is often mentally and physically exhausting. If your company has the bandwidth to regularly manage without a team member every month, this is a great benefit to offer.
But having a child is a major stress-inducing life event, regardless of if you’re the one growing the baby!
Bumble recently announced that they offer a minimum of six months’ paid leave to caregivers during the birth, adoption and surrogacy of a baby. Following that, they offer flexible work for 4 weeks to help employees transition back into the workplace.
It’s great to see no gender distinction in this policy as fathers normally have to return to work after just a few weeks.
A new policy from ASOS offers ten days of paid leave for employees dealing with pregnancy loss. This is an amazing and generous offer, especially when you consider that employees tend to only take 2-5 days off for bereavement.
Bereavement leave has always been discretionary, but offering a generous amount of time off is a great way to support your employees going through a horrific time.
ASOS is also expanding their wellbeing policies to help those experiencing the menopause, offering the ability to work flexibly, take short notice leave or request remote working.
And high street chain Timpson has offered to pay for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions for staff going through menopause which is an excellent show of support.
Now that we’re being generous with paternity leave, how about pawternity leave?
Pawternity leave is paid time off for employees that have gotten a puppy. This isn’t one that I’ve seen many companies offer, but it’s a topic that sparked debate on LinkedIn.
Not only because it discriminates against cat lovers, but because many people think it’s just outrageous. But could it be an attractive benefit for prospective employees?
Mental health leave
Most companies tend to process mental health leave as sick leave, which is all well and good until we’re hit with a global pandemic or a family crisis – or, god forbid, both.
Doctors can sign people off from work with stress and anxiety in serious cases, but it might be a nice gesture to give your team some dedicated mental health leave to work with.
I’ve seen a few companies offer ‘duvet days’ and think these will go down a treat with everyone! A ‘duvet day’ or mental health day policy isn’t used to help your employees recover from their hangover. They are days off that anyone can take without having to give notice.
As a company, you offer a set amount of days each year that your employees can take off, usually for mental health reasons. Some companies only offer one or two a year, but certainly no more than five.
A duvet day policy is a great way to test the water and see if your team members react well to more flexible leave options.
Another hit policy from Bumble, they offer a minimum of 20 days paid leave to victims of violent crimes.
Lots of people can feel pressured to return to work after facing a traumatic experience like criminal and domestic violence. Offering a minimum amount of days’ leave instead of a maximum encourages people to rest and recover before returning to work.
Life events and other issues
And finally, one great final policy from ASOS covers all other health-related life events. They now offer up to six weeks of paid leave to anyone that needs it.
This is a catch-all policy that is such a crowd-pleaser. You never know when you’ll suddenly need to take some time off work, whether for mental or physical health issues.
I hope that this guide helps you build wellbeing policies that truly help your employees and attract new ones!