Three Simple Ways to Enhance Employee Well-Being
Focus “well-being” - not just wellness.
Employee Wellbeing is changing the employee “Wellness” landscape and how employees look at the benefits they are provided. The Forbes’ Coaches Council provided some interesting insights into Wellbeing, which focuses on the Whole Person, “tackling elements such as emotional and mental health, social connectivity, financial education, sense of fulfillment on the job.”
Communication and transparency is key when it comes to embracing employee Wellbeing. We aren’t talking about making policies and decision making processes more ‘open’ or inviting. While that should be done anyway, within the scope of employee Wellbeing, employers should speak to employees plainly about their benefits and work experiences.
A recent survey found that 86% of employees find the insurance purchasing process confusing; 42% don’t believe they use their benefits effectively; and 38% report they are not very confident that they make the right decisions at the last Enrollment Period.
Within the same survey results 70% of employees said they were interested in taking proactive steps to improve their health; but 63% of them are not willing to spend more than an hour a day to achieve that result.
The bottom line is ‘cut the jargon’, speak to employees plainly and clearly about their benefits - as well as costs - and find creative ways to engage employees in understanding and participating in their benefit programs and most importantly, have leadership walk the talk. If there is a “Fitbit” Challenge, leaders should participate in a visible way.
Technology is helping make managing and interacting with benefits more real-time and simplified. In the same survey referenced in “Communication”, employees were willing to engage in incentive based wellness programs; so long as their involvement didn’t exceed 30 minutes per instance.
Engagement Technology allows you a great way to engage employees through “Spot” Recognition and keep them focused on organizational goals. Check out this new start up, VIPCrowd which helps keep employees focused through micro-break engagement sessions. Focusing on organizational specific goals, they engage in brief activities or challenges in which they earn points which they can redeem for prizes, gift cards, or even donate to a charity of their choosing.
Along with engagement, organizations should focus efforts on keeping benefits simple by engaging with their vendors to automate and simplify how they engage with their benefit plans. When you combine the power of technology with engagement strategies to keep people incentivized to remain or get healthy and when employees are healthy, medical claims decrease, helping employers stabilize their medical insurance costs.
Focus on the Whole Person
Often times, employers forget that attention needs to be paid to the whole person, not just their medical health. Successful wellbeing programs tend to focus on:
- Flexible Work Arrangements
- Designated Office Space for Wellness
- Emphasis on Healthy Eating and Snacking
- Enhancing the Employee Assistance Programs to Include Financial Counseling
- Mental Health Counseling
- Health Monitoring or Cessation Programs
- Back-Up Daycare programs
Annie Brown is the founder ofLips, a creative sharing platform for women, and a Guest Lecturer at UC San Diego's Rady School of Management.