Employee wellbeing has become a top priority for most organizations, especially since the pandemic. And so, employee wellness solutions have become the go-to discussions at most workplaces and a top criterion for employee recruitment and retention. Many companies have started increasing their investments toward well-designed employee wellness programs at the workplace.
Despite these assertions, a Gallup poll reported only 24% of employees agreed that their employers cared for their health and wellbeing. This was a matter of concern as these workers had 71% lesser chances of experiencing burnout and 69% less likely to quit their job.
Although there have been reports about higher investments in employee wellness programs, the feedback seems to be contradictory.
So, what could be the reason for this mismatch?
According to Gallup, holistic wellbeing nowadays is chiefly built by five essential components –
- Physical wellbeing
- Financial wellbeing
- Social wellbeing
- Occupational wellbeing
- Community wellbeing
Here are some reasons for such conflicting outcomes and a few actionable ways to overcome them.
1. Unaware of the Workplace Wellness Programs and Benefits
According to a study, almost 30% of US workers are not aware of their employee wellness solutions at their workplace or do not know how to access them. Also, many of them are not aware of the benefits these wellness programs can offer them and the workplace. So, the first step to ensuring employee engagement in these programs is to create awareness about it.
According to a CDC report, almost 41.5% of US adults suffered from anxiety, depression, or some kind of mental health issue in early 2021. This led to many cases of death. Promoting Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that help them overcome the social stigma of mental health issues and guide them through their healing is essential to prevent such adversities
2. Changes in Workplace Culture and Working Policies
When the pandemic started, many employers made changes to their working policies to ensure employee wellbeing and safety. As per a Gallup report, a majority of 49% of employees felt their employers cared for their wellbeing and safety during May 2020. However, with the recent changes in the back-to-workplace strategies and reduction in remote working opportunities, employees feel a lack of concern from their employers, reflecting their poor engagement in the company wellness programs. Also, with the regular working schedules at the workplace, many employees seem to find it difficult to have a work-life balance and make time for their wellbeing.
Employers can help employees overcome such feelings by ensuring the workplace policies are in line with their interests and comforts. For example, instead of the regular 5-day working week, a 4-day week at the workplace and 1 remote working day could be very helpful for many. Similarly, extending the employee wellbeing programs to their family members will create a feeling of concern and they are more likely to engage in the company programs. Also, providing easy access to free healthy food and snacks at the workplace can be a good employee engagement strategy.
3. Offering the Best-Suited Employee Wellness Solutions
One of the major reasons for the failure of corporate wellness programs is that the modules and features are not suited to the interests and needs of the workforce. For example, if your program offers a smoking cessation program for a population with very few or no smokers, it will be a waste of investment. Similarly, offering a gym membership program or on-site physical activities for a workforce with restrictions for physical movement will not have the expected engagement.
Conducting pulse surveys or polls can help in identifying the specific health and wellbeing requirements of the workforce. The outcomes can be used to design a well-suited corporate wellness program that can help the workforce understand their health and wellbeing status and choose the modules accordingly. When they know the program activities and wellness challenges will improve their overall wellbeing, they are more likely to engage in it and make it a part of their everyday routine, thus, paving the way to the success of the wellness program.
Additionally, building a healthy workplace culture is vital to ensuring a successful employee wellness program with high engagement. Furthermore, offering incentives and rewards can be a great employee engagement strategy. More importantly, recognizing employees for their achievements and appreciating them can boost their morale and confidence, reflecting higher employee engagement and retention.
It is obvious that the one-size-fits-all approach does not work with employee wellness programs. To be successful, they must be flexible, scalable, and customizable to accommodate all the specific wellbeing needs and stay on par with the latest workplace wellness trends too.