Wellness programs help employers stand out from the crowd and make their organization attractive to prospective hires, while also giving current employees a compelling reason to stay. Well before the pandemic hit, many employees, especially millennials, were already clear that they wanted more from their organizations than just a salary. Work-life balance was key. And with members of Gen Z entering the workforce over the past couple of years, depending on a salary package and traditional perks no longer cut it to attract and retain talent.
Fast forward to almost 2 years of pandemic life, and the spotlight is on mental health, flexi work hours, generous time off, and hybrid working profiles alongside healthcare, 401k benefits, great corporate culture, and being a socially responsible organization. Employees are also more likely to be loyal to employers who had an agile and empathetic response to the pandemic.
The goal is to have happy, healthy, productive employees
Wellness programs can play a significant role in how people determine where to work and whether to stay or go. So, having a well-articulated and comprehensive wellness program can help your organization stand out. Let’s take a look at some dimensions to focus on so your workplace can boast of employee longevity and happiness.
- Mental health has become a top priority for employees, and employers are adapting their employee benefit offerings to include mental and behavioral health support to meet this need. Free online counseling sessions, stress management initiatives, telemedicine and telehealth appointments are some sought-after features. Another attractive feature could be in the form of resources for dependents, like pediatric specialists and counselors. Nothing stresses working parents out more than when their kids are unwell.
- Work-life balance has never been as important. Be mindful of how work from home has engendered the always-on work mode and encourage employees to log off and draw a clear line between work and personal life. Consider giving employees an additional day or more off over the course of the year – where the entire organization is not working and employees at all levels take a mental health day, something that companies like SAP and FIS Global instituted as part of their employee wellness initiatives during the pandemic.
- Physical wellbeing goes hand in hand with mental health. Adding one-time or annual payouts to employees’ benefits packages so they can purchase gym equipment or furniture to facilitate working from home is another great way to show the organization’s commitment to employee wellness.
- Flexibility is paramount to employees now. Flexibility of when, how, and where people work from, is no longer a nice-to-have but has become a deal breaker in the wake of the pandemic. A recent study by Microsoft uncovered the fact that over 70% of employees want flexi remote working. The employers of choice will thus be those who give workers flexibility when it comes to hours of working as well as location, and are willing to commit to a hybrid workforce.
While designing the program, involve employees by asking them what they would like to see addressed through wellness initiatives. And remember, just as it’s important to have a meaningful wellness program, it’s equally important to market the program to current employees and to prospective hires, making it a key feature of the recruitment outreach.