Are your consultants really at work?

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It’s a bit of a strange question, isn’t it? You may feel you’re looking across the sales floor at staff who are focused and giving 100% – but is this really the case?

Presenteeism (employees turning up to work when they’re not feeling well) is very much on the rise and according to research, 40% of employees said that their work was being affected by health problems. The recruitment industry is no different, especially given the pressures and target-driven nature of the job, and it is becoming increasingly important that support is provided in different ways.

Over the last few years, companies have begun to look at wellbeing (especially around mental health) in the workplace by implementing benefits such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) – but could they be doing more to prevent employees getting to this point in the first place?

Employers lose an average of 35.6 working days per worker annually due to health-related absence and presenteeism, equating to £61bn in lost productivity – a staggering amount. Presenteeism can be a symptom of many factors such as physical illness, stress or depression, so taking steps to improve your employee’s wellbeing can also benefit your business. That’s why many recruitment companies are now looking at preventative measures that can be used, rather than fire-fighting when the situation arises, this can include:

    • Small wellbeing benefits such as free fruit, yoga or massage and relaxation services
    • Financial education, financial assistance and savings help such as a corporate ISA – particularly helpful for younger recruiters looking to save for a deposit or buy a car
    • Flexible hours to help with the work-life balance of a recruiter who may spend many evenings calling candidates
    • Recognition schemes – especially in some creative ways such as duvet days and job swaps
    • Benefits that can be adjusted to fit in with their life stage

The great thing about this is that a lot of these benefits do not need to come at a huge cost – in fact, budgets can easily be created. One such way is through offering a salary exchange arrangement as part of your employee benefits offering which cuts the national insurance bill for both the employer and employee. Despite this, according to recent research, less than half of SME businesses offer salary sacrifice arrangements!

One of the most important things to consider when implementing things like this is the wider communication strategy and how employees will know about these benefits. Too often, employers have the benefits in place, but employees do not know where to find this information until it’s too late. This can take a number of forms, from an intranet they can access 24/7, as and when they need it, to weekly bitesize emails – either way, it reinforces the positive message that is trying to be delivered.

So next time you walk past the sales floor and it looks like everyone is performing to their highest level, it may be time to take a step back and consider whether they are actually performing to their full ability or is there something extra that your business could do. At the end of the day, a fully productive workforce only has one winner – the business.