HR management is never short of challenges, with professionals being asked to negotiate rapidly changing conditions, complex work environments and growing pressure from the top.
Human resources personnel are constantly looking for ways to attracting staff, retain their services and support them at work. It is a mammoth task.
One solution to these challenges is to introduce subsidised gym membership. It can help companies recruit and retain staff, and also improve productivity – ultimately helping you manage people more effectively.
Here are three top reasons you can use to convince your boss to invest in staff through gym membership schemes.
1. Talent acquisition
The ongoing “war for talent” is one of HR’s biggest challenges. With the odds favouring jobseekers, and companies competing to recruit and retain the best, HR teams are faced with the uphill task of making their organisation the most attractive proposition for talented professionals.
Not only do human resources have to negotiate a smaller pool of talented personnel, but they’re also dealing with a workforce that will have no qualms about moving to a competitor if the grass seems greener elsewhere.
Of course, offering a competitive salary is key here. But what if you don’t have the budget to offer the highest compensation package?
Employee benefits may be the thing to differentiate between your company and the competition – and the only thing standing between your organisation and the door for your most talented staff.
In a survey of voluntary benefits schemes, gym membership and retail/leisure discounts were named as the top staff perks. These popular benefits are offered by a fifth of employers in the UK – so if your company isn’t one of these employers, it’s certainly worth considering.
Other sought-after perks, particularly among the younger generations, include flexible and remote working.
2. Workplace culture
Bringing people together is another huge challenge for HR professionals. What’s more, workplace culture is now high on the agenda for boards, meaning that the pressure is mounting on HR departments to get the balance right.
The work environment came sharply into focus in 2016 with the Sports Direct scandal, which culminated in a Parliamentary Select Committee investigation. The investigation heard allegations of harassment, minimum wage breaches and working conditions that seem more fitted to a Victorian workhouse.
Of course, Sports Direct is an extreme example, but there’s a lesson to be learned by all companies. Short-termism is one of the key contributors to a toxic workplace culture – where business leaders put revenues above people, overloading staff with unrealistic expectations.
Research has shown how a poor workplace culture can affect businesses in three ways: increased staff sickness, employee disengagement and a lack of loyalty.
So there’s much to be gained – such as increased productivity and staff retention – by improving the working environment for employees.
Aspects of a good company culture include open communications, social events, and “lifestyle benefits” that create a healthier work/life balance.
Gym membership can be useful in more ways than one – supporting the cohesion of your workforce through sports and team-building events, and also helping staff become healthier.
As a knock-on effect of healthier staff, you’ll also notice decreased absence rates and higher motivation levels. Also, by showing staff that you care about their health, you’ll foster more loyalty – helping you hang on to the talent you have.
Productivity is an ongoing issue, and never far from the top of the list of priorities – for HR and senior management – because it is a core part of maximising profits.
While some believe that productivity is more of a management issue, others place the burden of increasing productivity on human resources. The truth is that low productivity is a multi-faceted issue and should be addressed at all levels.
That said, it can be seen as a people problem – so HR can play a huge part in raising productivity in businesses. Extra training and support for staff can help address the issue. For example, if staff are inefficient, have you considered that they might need more training?
Corporate culture plays its part in productivity levels, too. In a study by ACAS, 45% of HR directors identified improving employee perceptions of being valued as one of seven ways to improve workplace productivity.
One way to show staff that you value them is through health and wellbeing initiatives.
Gym membership doesn’t just help retain staff, it also, of course, improves their health. This, in turn, reduces employee absence, helps you avoid staff burnout, improves performance and increases their motivation.
The increased productivity brought about by benefits such as low-cost gym membership more than offsets the costs long-term. Not only that, but the increased self-esteem of individuals will also filter out to other staff, improving attitudes to work and the overall culture.
When it comes to HR management, gym membership and so-called soft benefits can help draw teams together, raise productivity levels and decrease absence rates. With a long list of benefits, many HR professionals realise that it’s a useful tool to support people management.
Make Gympass part of your people strategy. Find out more about our low-cost local gym membership packages.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.