Employee welfare holds the utmost importance for any organisation, be it a small-scale startup or a multinational conglomerate. The efficient management of human resources is often a deciding factor in a business’s success or failure. Australian businesses have started to incorporate several practices to promote and protect the welfare of their employees, such as improving workplace conditions, adhering to occupational health and safety regulations, following superannuation (payment of pensions) and listening to the employees’ grievances by utilising employee feedback platforms etc. And this is a step in the right direction concerning employee welfare.
Australia has a robust and well-developed system that provides certainty and flexibility to both employers and employees. This workplace relations system (also called the fair work system) revolves around national standards for all Australian employees.
Two key organisations central to this system are the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). And it is a good idea to look at some of the recommended practices to safeguard employee welfare and analyse the benefits derived from doing so.
Methods to Uphold Employee Welfare
Apart from adhering to the minimum requisites imposed by the governments, there are several recommended practices for maintaining and improving the welfare of employees. These include:
- Provide benefits that support employees’ well-being: Employers should offer benefits and incentives to their employees that can help improve their lifestyles and livelihoods. This includes gym memberships, health insurance, mobile phones and laptops for personal use or even discounts on everyday shopping. Lifestyle concierge services have become increasingly popular amongst organisations as well.
- Educating staff on financial matters: This is important to ease an employee’s financial burden to help alleviate their stress. Financial well-being is a complex concept that involves more than just cash flow. Knowledge of financial matters can help improve one’s livelihood. And with this, employees can take care of problems such as debt, child care, budgeting and travel.
- Provide support on mental health: There are various steps that employers can take to address the mental health concerns of their employees. And it is necessary to provide the employees with the right kind of education and training about mental health issues while reducing the stigma surrounding them. In-house counselling sessions should be conducted periodically while encouraging employees to open up about their grievances and problems. This can be done using employee feedback platforms.
Benefits of Improving Employee Welfare
If the employees of a company are in good physical, mental and financial health, it ensures the company itself is in good health. Content and well-maintained employees are more effective workers since their performance tends to be of the highest quality. Besides, businesses tend to suffer losses of up to millions of dollars due to employees suffering from poor mental health.
Research suggests that positive well-being can have an impact on productivity, absenteeism and motivation. And addressing the concerns of employees and offering welfare benefits help increase employee retention rates as well. Nevertheless, it is incredibly expensive to hire and re-train new employees, and firms can suffer significant losses this way.
From a broader perspective, welfare schemes help shape company and workplace culture. Meanwhile, many tech giants have influenced the working of other companies by providing a model of flexibility and work-life balance. Furthermore, providing perks and benefits to employees improves the reputation and image of a firm.
In short, it is critical to ensure that employees are not exploited and remain content with their working conditions.