4 bonus benefits of workplace flu vaccination you didn’t expect11 March , 2020
The obvious benefits of workplace flu vaccination for employers come directly from preventing flu infections in employees. We covered these benefits – such as preserving productivity, and reducing the costs of absenteeism and presenteeism – in another post. However, the benefits extend beyond the actual medical impact of the vaccinations, to reputational, cultural and behavioural benefits.
Here are four reasons – other than direct flu prevention – that you should offer your employees a workplace flu vaccination program.
Be a sought-after employer
The proportion of employers who struggle to attract the right talent, and fill skills shortages, is growing. Therefore, it is more important than ever for employers to focus on being a sought-after ‘employer of choice’. A key component of this is supporting employee health and wellbeing.
Increasingly, people are seeking out employers and workplaces that invest in and support their health and wellbeing. As societal views shift, employees increasingly expect their employer will look after them, and support them to look after themselves. As a result, health and wellbeing factors are a factor for job hunters. To be ‘employers of choice’, and remain competitive in attracting and retaining the best people, employers need to be seen to proactively support employee health and wellbeing. For instance, a survey of nurses found 60% of respondents regarded health and wellbeing programs as a good reason to remain with their employer.
Strong workplace wellbeing programs improve employees’ sense of being valued by their employer, and positively impact on workplace culture. They have the potential to improve workplace health and team dynamics by developing a closer congruence between the values of a business and their employees – increasing employee satisfaction. In turn, these programs boost employee retention and morale, increase productivity, and decrease absenteeism. A flu vaccination program is a vital component of any workplace health and wellbeing program.
Improve all-round employee health
A flu vaccination program sends a message to employee that their employer values health and wellbeing. When employees believe that their employer and colleagues value health and wellbeing, this can have a ‘contagious’ social impact. Employees of health-conscious workplaces may be more likely to take proactive steps to improve their own health and wellbeing. This can have knock-on benefits for employers, by reducing the risks of a wide range of health problems that affect workplace performance and attendance, well beyond the flu. For example, by reducing health impacts from poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking etc.
Healthier employees are more productive than less healthy employees. They lead to greater productivity, less absenteeism and presenteeism, and all the accompanying business benefits. An Australian study found that the healthiest employees work 2.9 times more effective hours per month than the least healthy. Healthier employees means a healthier business, and stronger business performance. A flu vaccination program is a key step in promoting healthier employees and workplaces.
Be an ethically desirable business
It is not only employees whose decisions may be swayed by the ethical behaviour of businesses – including the way they treat employees. Consumers, customers and clients are increasingly taking ethics and corporate social responsibility into account in making decisions about purchases and partnerships. Offering a flu vaccination program sends two positive ethical messages – that you care about your employees, and that you care about the people they come into contact with during the course of their work. This helps to ensure your business is viewed as caring, ethical and socially responsible.
This is especially important where your employees have public-facing and/or customer-facing roles. People who come face-to-face with a visibly ill employee, and then become unwell with the flu, may hold a negative view of the business as a result – especially if that business serves vulnerable populations. For businesses with a health or wellness focus, it is especially important to not only been seen to promote the health of employees, but to avoid presenting individuals with visible flu symptoms to the public or business partners.
Encourage healthy workplace etiquette
Providing a workplace flu vaccination program is also an effective and positive way to promote a workplace culture that normalises and encourages other methods of flu and infection prevention. Offering a vaccination program sends a message that the business takes flu and infectious illnesses seriously, and values efforts to prevent and reduce its spread. This supports employees to adopt a healthy and socially-responsible attitude towards staying away from work when they are ill. Choosing to contain the infection, rather than ‘soldiering on’ to the detriment of their colleagues. Being seen to take flu seriously also supports healthy hygiene habits that reduce the spread of flu and other infections – such as hand washing, use of sanitising agents, and preventing close contact (e.g. handshakes) when there is a risk of transmission. These benefits are especially important for businesses where hygiene is a key element of safe business operations – such as food service, manufacturing goods for consumption, healthcare and disability services.
So where to from here?
Prioritising you employees’ health and wellbeing is an investment in your business’s reputation, as well as workforce attraction and retention, productivity, and culture. Offering a workplace flu vaccination program is a key element of any effective workplace health and wellbeing program. To invest in your people, and your business, contact us today to book a flu vaccination program.