4 Predictions for Employee Wellness Trends in 2022
This past year and a half has challenged us in more ways than we could ever have imagined. In addition to adjusting to new ways of working, employees faced increased health and economic concerns, all of which put a spotlight on employee well-being. And while the stress brought on by the pandemic has been tough for many of us, the increased focus on holistic employee wellness programs is a move in the positive direction.
Here are the employee wellness trends to watch for in 2022:
With at least three generations currently in the workforce, employers need to find ways to accommodate a diverse set of needs. Organizations who are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion acknowledge that each employee has a unique background and experience. This needs to be factored into a well-being program for it to be truly inclusive and provide elements that everyone can access and benefit from. An emerging trend is to allow employees to tailor some wellness benefits to what they need and prioritize. In these cases, employers may provide employees with core benefits plus an additional menu of benefits that employees can select from based on their needs. Tailored benefits are certainly an investment, but in the long-term it’s typically more cost-effective since it encourages employees to select and use only the benefits that are relevant to them.
The pandemic only exacerbated the stress employees are facing, both at work and in other aspects of their lives. Nearly two-thirds of employees say they are stressed all or most of the time at work and Willis Towers Watson found that employers’ biggest well-being challenges are rising stress and burnout, and higher mental health-related claims. Stress not only can lead to lower workplace productivity and engagement but also adverse health effects, increased missed workdays, and higher healthcare costs. Stress management programs focused on guiding employees on how to cope with life’s challenges are, unsurprisingly, at the forefront of employee wellness trends in 2022.
Speaking of stress, finances are the number one source of stress for Americans, with 65% of employees reporting that they’re stressed about their finances. Supporting employees with financial wellness solutions is perhaps one of the most revolutionary trends gaining steam this coming year. And there’s growing demand—82% of employees say they want support and guidance from their employers on personal finances. There is also an increasing sense of employer responsibility to address these concerns. According to a Bank of America Workplace Benefits report, 62% of companies feel extreme responsibility for their employees’ financial well-being. Financial wellness programs can come in many forms including financial education, digital budgeting and tracking tools, investment capabilities, student loan assistance, and access to financial planners.
With many companies embracing remote and hybrid work, the delineation between our personal and professional lives is becoming increasingly blurred. It’s clear that an employee’s personal life can have a direct impact on their work performance. So, extending employee benefits to address the needs of an employee’s family unit is one strategy HR leaders should consider in 2022. Family-focused benefits can come in a variety of forms, including backup child care, fertility benefits, adoption assistance, family financial wellness support, eldercare, pet insurance, and extended parental leave. Extending financial wellness benefits to the whole family, for instance, can help the next generation develop positive financial habits and build a strong foundation for financial literacy.
Keeping employees satisfied and engaged does not always have to involve a higher paycheck. More often than not, non-monetary benefits, particularly those that demonstrate a culture of care and belonging, have a more consequential impact on employees’ lives. In 2022, holistic wellness benefits will take center stage.
Learn more about employee wellness programs at BrightPlan.