Nurturing Employee Well-Being: Strategies to Help Employees Thrive During Uncertain Times
With National Wellness Month upon us, it serves as an important reminder of the critical need to foster holistic employee well-being. This annual observance takes on a broader significance, extending beyond individual health to underscore the pivotal role of workplace well-being in driving overall organizational success.
In the face of relentless inflation, marketing volatility, and economic uncertainty, employees find themselves grappling with mounting stress. According to BrightPlan’s 2023 Wellness Barometer Survey, 92% of employees are stressed about their finances. 72% say it impacts their mental health and 64% say it impacts them physically. In light of these challenges, many employers are embracing innovative strategies to support their workforce and promote employee wellness during these uncertain times. Here are some strategies to consider.
Healthcare costs have long outpaced the rate of inflation and now employers are seeking ways to reduce the burden on employees and manage rising costs. Employers can encourage preventive care, such as annual wellness checks and subsidized gym memberships to keep employees healthy. They can also help to reduce the financial burden of healthcare on employees by providing telehealth services and offering health savings accounts (HSAs) paired with an employer contribution.
Mental Health Programs:
Financial stress is taking a significant toll on employees' mental well-being, leading to increased distractions and reduced engagement. While the work-from-home era has introduced new stressors to employees’ lives, it has also made accessing mental health care easier than ever thanks to the proliferation of mindfulness apps and online therapy. Tools and resources like stress management training, mental health days, and employee assistance programs (EAPs) can go a long way in improving employees’ overall well-being.
During periods of economic uncertainty, employees crave a sense of direction and growth. Organizations that provide clear career progression and growth opportunities are more likely to retain their talent. In fact, employees who receive professional development opportunities have 34% higher retention than those who don’t. By encouraging internal mobility, facilitating open and forward-looking conversations between managers and employees, and creating avenues for advancement, organizations can foster a sense of purpose and fulfillment among their workforce.
Financial Wellness Programs:
With financial stress at record levels, employers are uniquely positioned to help since much of an employee’s financial life is tied to their employer. Traditionally, programs such as a 401(k) or pension plan have made up the extent of an employer’s financial wellness offering. While retirement planning is an important component of a financial wellness package, it’s just one element of Total Financial Wellness. A holistic financial wellness program should address the needs of employees at every stage of life and include financial education, tools for planning and managing their finances, and access to financial planners.
Fertility and Family Planning Support:
Recognizing the importance of family planning and fertility support, organizations can offer benefits and resources to assist employees in their family-building journeys. This can include coverage for fertility treatments and access to fertility specialists, counseling services, and educational resources on family planning to support employees in making informed decisions about their reproductive health. These benefits not only provide practical support but also alleviate the financial and emotional burden associated with family planning challenges.
Inclusive Work Culture:
Social wellness is the extent to which employees have a connection to others and how much they have a sense of belonging and inclusion. It is a measure of how well a person can build and sustain constructive relationships with others at work. If social well-being is lacking, employees can quickly become disengaged, impacting their work performance. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a powerful way to promote social well-being. ERGs are voluntary employee-led cohorts made up of employees with common interests, stages of life, or demographics. They serve as a sanctuary for employees with similar backgrounds to connect with one another. Further, offering employees multiple avenues to speak up, ensuring all ideas are heard and encouraging frequent collaboration goes a long way in helping to foster a culture of inclusivity and belonging.
National Wellness Month serves as a poignant call to action, urging us to make the well-being of our employees a top priority. By embracing targeted strategies that address the unique challenges faced by your workforce, you can empower your employees to thrive while cultivating happiness, productivity, and engagement.