Employee well-being is directly related to work quality, engagement, performance and productivity. When well-being is neglected, negative side effects begin to present themselves, such as reduced productivity, increased illnesses, absenteeism, decreased employee morale, poor customer service and work quality, increased staff turnover and more. Employers can combat adverse outcomes by incorporating initiatives aimed at supporting the physical, mental, financial and social well-being of employees.
What Is Well-Being?
Well-being refers to feeling good and living both safely and healthily. It refers to wellness in all aspects of life, including but not limited to physical health, mental health, social health and financial health. It is important to consider each of these areas individually, as well as how they interact and contribute to the whole of one’s well-being:
- Physical health focuses on how well your body functions. This can include eating healthy, being active, avoiding destructive behaviors and substance use, getting enough sleep and taking care of yourself when you’re ill.
- Mental well-being focuses on how you feel emotionally and psychologically. This can include coping with stress, managing relationships, working productively and exhibiting self-esteem and confidence.
- Financial well-being is, simply put, your relationship with money. This can include your daily financial behaviors and mindset, as well as budgeting, reducing debt and investing in retirement. Learn how financial stress is affecting employees and employers alike.
- Social well-being is multifaceted. It focuses on relationships with your loved ones, peers, your community and the environment. This could include volunteering, maintaining quality relationships and joining workplace clubs to meet other co-workers.
Where to Start with Well-Being
Employers can take various approaches to promote holistic workplace well-being. Absent any wellness initiatives, consider starting by using low-cost strategies such as promoting the resources you already have available through your organizational partners, such as your employee assistance program, health insurance plan or financial partners. Focusing on helping employees feel cared for and understanding how they currently feel or perceive their employer is a good start.
For greater impact, employers may implement an overall strategic wellness plan for their company. When developing a wellness plan, it is important to incorporate and consider certain core practices:
- Create committed and aligned leadership that will collaborate in support of wellness.
- Measure well-being. Collect meaningful data that will help to drive corporate health initiatives and wellness strategy. It is important that the plan incorporates aspects important and relevant to the employer’s specific workplace.
- Craft a plan. Choose appropriate health initiatives that support the whole employee. Once clear, realistic, and attainable goals are defined, identify specific objectives that the plan will focus on to achieve those goals. Develop a realistic timeline to implement and evaluate the program. Also, a detailed budget is essential as program costs are compared to outcomes. Lastly, communicate the plan to employees. While implementing the plan, raising employee awareness can help to drive participation.
- Evaluate workplace well-being efforts. It is important to measure several aspects of the well-being initiative in order to evaluate its success. These measures can include participation, employee satisfaction, behavior and healthcare changes, productivity changes, employee engagement, etc.
- Show the value of the program. After evaluating the workplace, calculate changes and benchmark the success, as well as compare the success of different intervention efforts. Based on these measures, employers may modify or eliminate initiatives that were not influential. Communicate and celebrate the successes of the program with employees, promoting continued participation and the need for continued funding.
Results have shown that implementing a wellness program can have many benefits, including improved employee health and well-being, which can help increase productivity, decrease absenteeism and raise employee morale.
Want help aligning your well-being plan with your business strategy? Reach out to your local Hylant health strategist today.
The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your employee benefits broker or trusted adviser for insurance-related questions.