In March of 2020, Gallup reported record high employee engagement in the United States. By June, employee engagement experienced the biggest drop since Gallup began tracking this metric in 2000. Are employee support and wellness programs a solution for helping employee engagement rebound?
Effective employee support and wellness programs address the holistic needs of their employees. While the focus of employee wellness programs often leans heavily on improving physical health, the need for mental, financial, career, and social support are more crucial than ever. Employees have long been asking for assistance in these areas and employers are responding with broader offerings. Let’s look at what strong employee support and wellness address.
Mental Health Support
Wellable defines mental health as “all aspects of emotional and psychological well-being, affecting how an individual acts, thinks, and feels.” Mental health and emotional wellbeing are directly correlated to an employee’s engagement at work. How they act, think, and feel impacts their performance, productivity, relationships with colleagues, and overall contentment in the workplace. Easy access to counseling, mental health apps, or other emotional support services provide the tools necessary for employee wellbeing.
Physical Health Support
Not to be overlooked, physical health is an important part of effective employee support and wellness programs. Healthcare expenses are one of the leading costs for employers and the ROI with a good wellness program is evident in reduced payouts. Preventative efforts include a focus on improving nutrition, increasing daily movement, improving sleep, and reducing stress. When supported through the help of a real life or a digital health coach, these lifestyle changes pay dividends with small improvements to employee health.
Financial Health Support
Many employees are spending more than they make each month. This deficit leads to increased stress and poor emotional wellbeing as debt snowballs. With good financial guidance, employees learn to spend and save wisely. The impact on employers is reduced stress among their employee population and an employee’s ability to focus on both short and long-term financial goals. An employee support and wellness program that doesn’t address financial wellbeing will fall short in attaining optimal health for their organization and employees.
Occupational Health Support
Gallup identifies five areas that impact a person’s ability to thrive at work and in life: Career, Social, Financial, Community, and Physical. Of these five, career wellbeing, liking what you do everyday, has the biggest impact on a person’s overall wellbeing. When an organization provides a place for an employee to use their strengths, engage in meaningful work, and have room to grow and develop, employees are significantly more likely to report high levels of overall wellbeing.
Social Health Support
Blending both community and social support together under this category, employees need to be in healthy relationships at work, home, and within their community. As an example, women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged at work (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%). Additionally, employee support and wellness programs that provide paid volunteer days, community service days, or other time for community engagement are likely to foster greater engagement among their workforce.
Employee support and wellness programs are no longer optional in the workplace. They are a crucial part of support employee wellbeing during work and non-work hours. Investing in this benefit will yield happier and healthier employees.