6 Ways to Support Employee Well-Being
November 4, 2022
People spend more of their waking hours at work than they do almost anywhere else, which can profoundly affect their well-being. For example, 58 percent of workers say their job is the primary source of their mental health challenges.
Organizations are responsible for addressing employee well-being in the workplace—and they will benefit from doing so. So it’s no surprise that 68 percent of senior HR leaders say employee well-being and mental health are top priorities.
What is employee well-being?
Employee well-being is a holistic view of your team members’ mental, physical, social, and financial health. Each of these areas is interconnected and essential for your team members to be the best version of themselves.
For instance, 42 percent of U.S. adults said money negatively impacts their mental health. Most cited feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed, which can affect their ability to focus at work and be fully present in their personal lives.
Why is employee well-being important?
Employee well-being leads to happier, healthier, more productive team members who are better equipped to help you meet organizational goals.
Employee well-being can also help you:
- Increase morale. Taking care of your team members removes obstacles and helps them feel valued so they’re more enthusiastic and motivated at work.
- Improve talent attraction and retention. Employee well-being benefits are in high demand and can help you attract talented team members and reduce employee turnover. Eight in 10 remote workers would leave their company for one that prioritizes mental well-being, and 6 in 10 say well-being benefits are a top priority when looking for a new job.
- Control medical expenses. Employee well-being initiatives can help your team members maintain or improve their health, helping you control medical expenses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that workplace wellness programs can reduce healthcare costs and workers’ compensation and disability management claims by 25 percent.
- Reduce absenteeism. Happy, healthy employees are less likely to miss work. Workplace health programs lead to 25 percent less absenteeism.
How do you improve employee well-being?
Your team members may have many different concerns about their well-being:
- 29% of employees rated financial wellness as their number one worry
- 24% rated mental and emotional well-being as their top struggle at work
- 17% struggle the most with physical well-being
- 17% are most worried about social well-being
- 13% are most concerned about career well-being
A well-rounded employee wellness program will benefit the most people in your organization.
Expand your health care benefits
Sixty-four percent of employers already offer health insurance, but many have an opportunity to expand health care benefits and increase employee wellness.
For example, consider offering:
- An employee assistance program (EAP). EAPs can help employees resolve many personal problems affecting job performance, such as financial problems, mental health issues, or substance use disorders.
- Biometric screenings. Providing your team members access to free biometric scans is a great way to help them identify health risks by measuring things like body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
- Mental health coverage. One in five adults will experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year, and more than half of those individuals will go untreated. Offer mental health coverage so your team members can get the help they need when they need it.
- Holistic care. Enhance a standard health insurance plan by including chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage therapy coverage.
Enable team members to manage their finances better
Workers report that financial stress and money worries have significantly impacted their mental health, sleep, physical health, productivity at work, and attendance.
You can help your team members better manage their finances through the following:
- Fair, competitive compensation. Inflation has decreased your team members’ buying power, and wage gaps may impact their lifetime earning potential. Ensure you provide a competitive salary to help your team members attain financial security.
- Financial wellness education. Financial wellness programs can help your team members achieve financial literacy and financial goals. Programs can include personal budgeting, debt reduction, or credit-building courses.
- Retirement benefits. Help your team members save for retirement by offering a 401k program, perhaps with employer matching, to help their contributions go further.
An investment in financial well-being can pay off, as 80 percent of workers are more likely to stay with an employer that is committed to helping them strengthen their financial resiliency.
Encourage personal connections at work
Social well-being is a growing concern, as only 28 percent of workers reported feeling socially connected in 2022, compared to 41 percent in 2019.
Fostering personal connections at work can increase morale and give your team members enjoyable opportunities to get to know one another.
You can do this by:
- Planning team-building events. Gather team members in-person or virtually for team-building events, including retreats, game nights, or community service projects.
- Sponsoring Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Connect people with shared identities or experiences and sponsor Employee Resource Groups so they can support each other. These might include groups for women, LGBTQIA+ team members, working parents, or people with disabilities.
- Building a culture of recognition. Encourage your team members to recognize one another for their contributions to the organization. Employee recognition can build camaraderie and inspire further teamwork and social connection.
Offer flexible work arrangements
Flexible work options enable work-life balance so your team members can take the time they need to focus on their well-being.
- Remote work. Remote work reduces the time and cost associated with commuting so your team members can invest in other areas of their lives. A hybrid work schedule can decrease worker stress, improve family relationships, and positively impact physical fitness.
- Flex hours. A flexible schedule gives your team members time to attend appointments for medical care, therapy, massage, and other employee well-being activities.
- Job sharing. Splitting a role into two part-time jobs can give your team members more time to focus on their health and wellness while maintaining employment and benefits.
Provide opportunities for growth
Giving your team members opportunities for personal and professional growth can improve their wellness in many ways:
- Skill development. A great learning and development (L&D) program relies on hard and soft skill development to improve team member performance. For example, learning effective stress management techniques can help prevent burnout, increase productivity, and improve mental and physical wellness.
- Internal mobility. Career growth helps your team members feel accomplished and valued, improving their mental and emotional well-being. Promotions may also be accompanied by a raise, which can improve financial well-being.
- Coaching and mentoring. Fostering connection through coaching and mentoring can improve social well-being while helping your team members develop new skills that can lead to promotions and raises.
Enable your team members to take care of themselves mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually:
- Provide ample time off. Paid time off, including wellness days, floating holidays, volunteer time off, and parental leave, allows your team members to take care of themselves in a way that makes sense.
- Build a healthy work culture. A company culture that values work-life balance and self-care will promote employee well-being. For example, encourage your team members to unplug after work hours and while on vacation.
- Encourage healthy habits. Sleep, a healthy diet, and exercise are the foundation of overall well-being. While healthy behaviors are ultimately up to your team members to prioritize, you can still do some things to encourage them. For example, offer a wellness app to help employees wind down after work. Arrange healthy snacks and meals at the office or during remote team gatherings. Provide a stipend for an under-desk treadmill or bike.
To support employee well-being at WorkRamp, we offer Half-Day Fridays, the first and third Friday of each month, unlimited PTO, and one Self-Care Day per quarter, where employees receive $50 to use towards a self-care activity. We encourage employees to share a picture from their day off in a dedicated Slack channel.
“We not only encourage employees to use their Self-Care Days, but we also celebrate the ways they choose to treat themselves by highlighting photos at our weekly All-Hands meetings.”
-Sam Popcke, Senior People Success Manager, WorkRamp
How do you measure employee well-being?
Employee well-being can be largely subjective, but there are still a few good ways to measure it.
Run an employee wellness survey
A great way to measure employee well-being is to ask your team members directly. Run an employee wellness survey to see how your team members perceive their well-being and identify areas of improvement.
Some questions you might ask include:
- How would you rate your overall health and wellness (on a scale of 1-10)?
- How would you rate your work-life balance (on a scale of 1-10)?
- How many hours do you work in an average week?
- How many hours do you sleep each day?
- How many minutes do you exercise each week?
- Have you had a recent day or week of intense worry?
- Have you had a recent day or week of intense stress?
- Do your work responsibilities ever interfere with childcare or other family responsibilities?
- How satisfied are you with your job right now?
- How satisfied are you with the direction your career has taken?
Keep in mind that employee surveys won’t always tell the whole story. You might not get representative results if your most disengaged employees fail to complete the survey or people aren’t comfortable sharing their vulnerabilities. For example, only 48 percent of workers feel comfortable disclosing mental health challenges.
Track key performance indicators (KPIs)
Employee wellness can affect everything from engagement and satisfaction to retention and attendance. Use these KPIs as a proxy to measure employee well-being:
- Engagement. Focusing on employee wellness removes obstacles for your team members so they can be more engaged at work. Track and measure employee engagement through regular surveys, one-on-ones, stay interviews, and exit interviews.
- Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). eNPS is a quick way to get a pulse on employee satisfaction. Ask your team members how likely they are to recommend your organization as a workplace and why. The brevity of this survey allows you to measure satisfaction frequently so you can respond to issues quickly.
- Retention. Team members who are healthy, happy, and well at home and work have fewer reasons to leave a job. Track retention and turnover rates, as well as reasons for turnover, to gauge employee well-being.
- Absenteeism. Unwell team members are more likely to miss work to address their physical health problems, deal with family issues, or search for a new job. Track absenteeism to identify potential problems with your team members so you can better support them.
Enable your team members to be their best selves
A comprehensive workplace wellness program can improve your team members’ well-being. Employee well-being activities come in many forms. For example, some people like a relaxing massage, while others prefer a strenuous hike. In addition, some like to learn something new, and some want to meet someone new.
WorkRamp is an All-in-One Learning Platform that can help you create a culture of learning at your company. Want to learn more about creating employee learning and development programs with WorkRamp? Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo.
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Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in HR technology, focusing on developing educational content for HR professionals and recruiters. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, lifelong learning and development, and treating people like people throughout candidate and employee experiences. Outside of work, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe, enjoying a glass of wine in Sonoma, or hanging out at home with her family.
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