Employee well-being refers to the overall health of your employees—mental, physical, emotional, and financial—and how their wellbeing across these four pillars affects how they show up at work. With employee burnout hitting record levels in the U.S., wellbeing needs to be a top priority for HR leaders and people managers.
Prioritizing employee wellbeing means embracing a holistic view of your people:
How’s their physical health? Do they feel physically safe and cared for? Have you established regular health and wellness initiatives that are accessible to all employees?
How are your people doing emotionally? Are they experiencing high levels of stress? Does your culture support their psychological safety?
What about employees’ ability to build and maintain meaningful relationships? Do your people feel that they’re part of a team? Do you hold space for connection among employees (e.g. team building activities) so they feel like they belong?
How are your people meeting financial obligations? Are they burdened by their finances? Beyond retirement savings and base insurance, how do you help your people navigate financial stressors (e.g. financial planning and coaching benefits)?
Your employees deserve to be well and whole because they are people. Beyond this fact, forward-thinking organizations understand that their people power everything—which is why they're prioritizing employee wellbeing programs.
But too many organizations are still falling short: Gallup reports that fewer than 1 in 4 employees in the U.S. think that their company cares about their wellbeing. That's the lowest percentage in nearly a decade. On the flip side, they found that employees who agree that their company cares about their wellbeing are:
According to new data from The Harris Poll, 52% of employed Americans believe their employer is not doing enough to support employees' mental health.
This points to a gap between what employees are feeling—especially as it relates to what’s happening in the world—and what many people leaders are doing to support wellbeing within their company.
Improving employee wellbeing is a journey—you likely won't get it right on the first try. The key is to collaborate with your people and experiment with policies that make sense for your unique organization. Here's how 3 different companies are approaching employee wellbeing:
Implementing 4-day workweeks so their people can take more time to refresh on the weekend.
Offering a 6-week sabbatical after every 5 years spent with the company.
Offering not just the choice to work anywhere, but tailoring work schedules to their specific needs.
Providing two week-long, company-wide shutdowns each year so their people can recharge.
Let’s set you up for success. Here are a few strategies you can use to improve your current employee wellbeing program, adopted from people-first organizations around the world:
The best way to know what your people want isn’t through an industry trends article, it’s by listening to them directly. What’s causing them stress and what alleviates stress? When do they feel most appreciated? What do they need to succeed at your company? You may not be able to act on every employee's wants, but you'll uncover the most pressing shared wants that you can act on. Start with asking via employee engagement surveys and key communication touchpoints.
The quick shift to remote work caused an intense blurring of boundaries for a lot of people. Work invaded home and it became even more difficult to separate the two. That means it's even more important for companies to support employees in unplugging. Brains need to recharge. Life needs to be lived. All of this needs to happen if you're going to achieve sustainable working. Empower your people to have meaningful experiences outside of work.
As you gather employee feedback and information on the state of their wellbeing, you may find that your people are feeling under-appreciated at work. Fortunately, intentional acknowledgement of a job well done can go an extremely long way. Create a recognition program that regularly rewards them for their work—and make it memorable with experiences that give them the power to unplug.
Recognition and rewards are powerful tools you can use to show employees they're seen, that their work is appreciated. This acknowledgement can greatly improve employees' sense of wellbeing.
Gift cards, stuff, cash—these kinds of rewards are great, but experiential rewards actually go so much further to boost wellbeing because they're, well, experiential. Research shows that experiences improve our wellbeing. How? Experiences give us the opportunity to share joy with those close to us. And when you look back on life’s special moments, it’s the experiences that you remember most.
Get insight on how organizations can harness the power of experiences to increase fulfillment and well-being.
Get steps forward to support employee wellbeing from this webinar featuring a panel of HR and company leaders.
Connect with our team for a personalized demo of our recognition and rewards platform and see our hand-curated experience menus.Let's talk