Money isn’t the only thing that keeps employees happy

Money isn’t the only thing that keeps employees happy

Employment & HR

Arul Palanichamy

Arul Palanichamy

308 week ago — 7 min read

Summary: A comprehensive employee wellness programme can have broad-reaching benefits for your business. Arul Palanichamy shares tips on how to create a happy and productive workplace environment through such wellness initiatives.

Have you ever wondered why that highly paid employee left your organisation?

Are there components other than salary that makes employees stick to an organisation?

Have you adopted a holistic approach while designing employee compensation and not just focused on the humane-less cash part?


It’s probably time as a happiness officer/ culture keeper/ Human Resource (HR) manager to take a serious relook at the role of other non-cash incentive programmes that play a vital role in employee retention, job satisfaction and morale.

The paradigm shift in employee-employer relationships

Recruiting, retaining and attracting good and resourceful employees is extremely important in today’s competitive economy run by highly skilled personnel and business owners. A single good employee can single-handedly change the very direction of a company. Having said that, employers need to understand the underlying motivation and its importance to maintain an efficient workforce.

Monetary compensation is a vital part (as it has always been), but it is now increasingly felt that the employees' other wellness needs must also be addressed to enable them to perform at the peak of their productivity and continually grow throughout their careers. Investing in holistic wellness (physical + mental) can go a long way in creating happy workplaces for current employees and attract high-skilled talent.

Counter viewpoints could be:

  • I provide a very hefty package to my associates. Can't they buy whatever they need?
  •  Any employee benefits apart from the monetary compensation is an added cost to the company. Do we really need them?

Prima facie these may appear to be valid points. Going by this logic, the companies offering higher than median pay should have happy employees and minimal if not nil attritions. But the statistics reflect to the contrary. So, it is imperative that an enriching employee wellness programme should be designed based on continuous feedback from all stakeholders. This should target the daily emotional health of the employees and keep them happy for the growth of the organisation.

Structuring a happy workplace
Care must be taken to understand specific needs of the employees in accordance with the work nature, location of the job, best practices and legal and regulatory compliances. A continuous feedback mechanism should be in place to revisit the programmes in a periodic manner to review its course and introduce ad-hoc enhancements if required and understand if they still serve the purpose.

It is common knowledge that companies like Google have put in place some impressive programmes, but even smaller companies have taken care to have wellness culture internally based on their capabilities and priorities. It has become a common practice nowadays to have happiness officers who are entrusted with these responsibilities. The employee wellness focused personnel are sometimes the owners of the company as well.

Irrespective of the nitty-gritties of these types of programmes, the following are the 4 pillars under which these need to be designed for successful rollouts:

1. Enhancing familial and social bonding
2. Physical fitness/ wholesomeness
3. Caring/ harmonising with the surrounding and extended community
4. Financial security and freedom

Numerous innovative programmes can be designed with the options available in today’s era with each of these pillars as a basis. Ongoing one-on-one employee counselling should be a part of a healthy workplace wherein every employee has avenues to realise that the employer actually cares for them and the care should be further substantiated with all the employee benefit programmes that strengthen the bond between the employee and the organisation.

Wellness programmes of some interesting companies
“Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.” —James C. Collins

There is always a positive correlation between the success of any company and the way in which they treat their employees. Some companies seem to understand this philosophy so well and design the wellness programme that helps the employees excel and thereby shooting themselves into the league of stars.

Ramco Systems

Being a seasoned player in the ERP space, Ramco Systems has transformed itself to match the vibrancy and the vigor of the cool startup era. The transformation happening is captured under #Lifeatramco which can be a beautiful case study for any company embarking on designing a rockstar wellness programme.

This is another cool startup in the Chennai area, which awes onlookers with its dashing workspaces, impressive culture and awesome workplace policies. The beauty about them is their employee wellness initiatives are organically interwoven to give employees the “Freshness” at work. Adding to the people friendly policies they have an awesome workspace which makes working there pure fun and a matter of joy.

Where do we start?
Now having read and understood about the importance of employee wellness programmes, and reading about real-life use cases, the following chart can guide practitioners to design their own programmes.

Before closing, a few lines of wisdom. With our lives getting interwoven with our works, wherein personal and professional priorities often tend to compete for our attention, it is a responsibility of every employer to structure workspaces, nature, and facilities available in alignment with the life goals of the people who make up the organisation.

This alone will lead to synergy and help in creating strong and sustainable organisations.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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