Workplace well-being undoubtedly evolved over the years, expanding to focus on a more holistic approach toward physical, mental and emotional wellness for employees. In a recent Future Workplace sentiment study, 68% of senior human resources (HR) leaders ranked employee well-being and mental health as a top priority in their office. In fact, the corporate well-being industry is estimated to now be worth $20.4 billion.
Wellness can keep employees engaged at work, and a targeted, purposeful emphasis on your employees’ health makes the difference between retaining them or losing them. But with the ever-changing job landscape, The Great Resignation and increasing inflation squeezing businesses thin, employers are wondering what really works when it comes to employee wellness. What is the secret sauce to supporting employees in every aspect on the job? While the answer is a bit nuanced, there are several ways you can ensure your organization puts employee well-being — their physical, mental and emotional wellness — first.
Physical Wellness Starts with Solid Health Insurance Plans
A traditional health group plan is a model many are accustomed to signing up for during open enrollment or when a new employee is hired. This model allows employees to pay into the same plan that everyone else is on, which seems simple, right? The catch is that group health plan costs dramatically increased over the past 20 years. Additionally, deductibles, in some cases, have doubled. Simply put, this is an exorbitant amount of money consumers are paying out-of-pocket before their insurance company will start covering your medical expenses.
In today’s climate, providing employees with exceptional health benefits is vital to stay competitive and attract top talent. In an evolving work and social environment, organizations need up-to-date information to know how their health benefits measure up. It’s up to us as employers to listen to our employees and put their health first, by providing affordable, personalized and managed individual marketplace plans that save money for employees and still provide high-quality results. In fact, according to a national analysis by Remodel health, 79.5% of all individuals are eligible for advanced premium tax credits (APTCs) to discount their individual premium, which average $8,948 a year in savings.
While this may seem like a tall and overwhelming task, software tools are available to help employers digest and analyze this data in order to make the most informed decision possible when it comes to offering health plans that work for both the organization and employees’ budgets. Utilizing a third-party support software to ensure easy and effective access to all benefits is crucial to improving benefits and decreasing organizational expenses. These tools assist the navigation of plans for families outside of the traditional group plan offered to the employee, and empower them to choose a coverage option that best meets their needs.
Don’t Skimp on Community and Social Well-being for Employees’ Health
Given the COVID-19 pandemic that turned most employees into avid “work from homers,” the amount of social interaction employees receive on a daily basis is alarmingly low. Though communication tools have helped companies connect even with virtual restraints, the in-person, face-to-face daily interactions have significantly lessened. Ensure employees are able to participate in more frequent group meetings, activities and outside of work events when able. While working from home will likely remain a part of our lives, it helps to provide a hybrid option for current and future employees. Studies show six in 10 people prefer a hybrid work environment in their place of business.
Additionally, offer employees the chance to serve their local community, deepening the ties between the employer, their community and the planet itself. If able, provide a set number of employee paid time off (PTO) hours annually that can be dedicated toward community service. Encourage company-wide service activities led by employees — ask them which organizations matter most to them in their community to increase overall participation. Sponsoring these types of communal activities can help attract and retain new employees, while strengthening your current workforce’s social well-being and giving back to their community.
Purpose-driven Well-being Provides Ample Growth to Mental Health
Mental health has continued to be a focus for employers since before the pandemic, as it has a profound impact on individual and organizational performance. Nearly one-third of workers surveyed said their mental health has declined over the past year. Take action to help destigmatize mental health in the workplace. Offer valuable services such as monthly in-person or virtual counseling as part of their health benefits package or quarterly company-wide days off to prioritize taking care of oneself. Employers can also create commitments that can be displayed around the workplace and on your virtual platforms that encourage team members to take a break.
When was the last time your company evaluated their values? Employees want to work for a company that aligns with their own values. Get your organization together for an all hands on deck meeting that takes a deep dive into reestablishing your values. Take turns speaking to each employee, gathering their opinions and ideas for what the company and its staff should stand for. Getting your employees involved in what matters to them while having them shape who the company wants to be can help provide a sense of organizational purpose.
The past two years have changed the job market in ways we never thought possible. Today, a job isn’t simply a place to provide a service and get paid. Employees want continued, trusting support from their employers. Well-being should not be viewed simply as a company benefit, but as an opportunity to provide for your workforce in all aspects, mentally, physically and emotionally. With these small changes, your organization will see results.