Southern Cross Health Society has strengthened its workplace wellbeing expertise to help meet growing demand from Kiwi businesses for robust programmes to support the health of their people.
A group of seven Southern Cross staff are among the first in New Zealand to achieve formal Wellness Wise Practitioner accreditation. Australia-based Wellness Wise Academy delivers the training and is recognised as a pioneer in health and wellness strategy.
Chief Sales Officer Kerry Boielle says feedback from some of the 4,000 plus Kiwi businesses with which the Health Society works shows employers increasingly wanting to do more when it comes to health and wellbeing.
“Many businesses know the benefits a workplace wellbeing programme can bring for their people and their bottom line, but limits on capacity and time mean they’re sometimes only able to scratch the surface of what’s possible,” she says.
One of the key reasons for businesses wanting to improve health and wellbeing is to reduce workplace absence and to focus on supporting employees with health – specifically mental health – concerns. The 2017 Wellness in the Workplace survey* showed absence alone cost the NZ economy around $1.5 billion in 2016. For employers the direct cost of an absent employee is typically between $600 and $1,000 annually, according to the survey.
“While the survey found that both larger and smaller businesses are now more likely to have some form of employee assistance programme, issues like stress are still a growing concern for employers and it’s something they want support with.”
The newly trained wellbeing specialists will focus on helping clients make the most of the not-for-profit Health Society’s newly-launched customisable workplace wellbeing proposition, BeingWell.
*The Wellness in the Workplace Survey is completed biennially by more than 100 Kiwi businesses and is run by Southern Cross Health Society and BusinessNZ. The survey is designed to give a current picture of workplace health and wellness for Kiwi workers.
Key survey findings and additional information from the survey: