Three Lessons about Employee Well-Being

Is employee well-being on your radar? Some employers do not consider this to be their concern and identify a clear delineation between their employees’ personal and workplace lives. As such, their emphasis may be limited to the pursuit of business goals and compliance with various regulations and mandates.  Though not a legal mandate, there is a business rationale for employers to consider the well-being of employees in all aspects of their lives, both personal and professional.

If an organization’s performance is falling short of its potential, employee well-being may be a root cause. Telltale metrics of this issue may include:

  • High turnover, especially among the highest performing employees
  • Inability to recruit strong applicants, and high withdrawals during the selection process
  • Under-performing individuals, teams and business units
  • Escalating employee health care costs and rates of absenteeism
  • Employee feedback (i.e. surveys, Exit/ Stay Interviews) that indicates dissatisfaction

What comprises employee well-being? A recent global survey posits there are six major pillars of employee well-being: physical, mental/emotional, financial, professional, social, and community. Foundational to these efforts is the belief that by addressing these issues, employers may realize benefits such as:

  • Improved employee productivity
  • Higher levels of engagement and loyalty
  • Enhanced ability to attract the best talent
  • Reduced health care costs
  • Increased discretionary efforts by employees, boosting innovation and competitiveness

There is reason to believe this is accurate; other sources indicate a link between an employer’s attention to employee well-being and overall improved business performance. This survey offers a snapshot of how large global employers are tackling employee well-being, and many ideas are suitable for any size employer. The following three lessons may inform your practices.

Value employee well-being investments and prioritize offerings.

Employers (90%) see value in investing in employee well-being and report these priorities for their initiatives:

  • Stress management and reduction/ exercise: 95%
  • Nutrition, work-life balance: 94%
  • Weight management/ depression/ anxiety: 93%
  • Access to healthcare: 92%

Empower employees with personal health information, resources and practices.

Consumerization of employee expectations means they want more autonomy and choice to meet their unique needs. Reflecting this trend, here are the top three offerings that employers consider as health-related:

  • 86% EAP (Employee Assistance Program)
  • 74% Biometric screenings
  • 71% Flexible work options

Continuously explore new offerings to support employee’s evolving needs.

Employee well-being is not static; needs evolve as do services, resources and expectations. These are the top offerings being considered for future implementation by survey respondents:

  • Workplace health competition/ challenges
  • Stress management/ Resilience Building
  • Workplace environment improvements
  • Online resources to learn healthy lifestyles
  • Online decision support tools
  • Flexible work policies
  • Work/ Life balance support
  • Healthy sleep
  • Health care and advocacy services
  • Health risk appraisals
  • Biometric screenings

For help with your employee well-being efforts, contact Employers Council. Members can access resources, data, services and expertise to identify your unique needs and develop a strategy that meets organizational goals.