The most significant factor in the success of a company is the well-being of its employees. To ensure that your team can be their best at work, you need to make sure they're experiencing wellness in life too. This blog post will discuss how employers can create an environment where their employees' well-being needs are met. 

For companies to be successful in today's competitive market, managers must focus on creating a culture of well-being within the workplace. By implementing these three steps into your office environment, you will see an improvement in productivity and job satisfaction amongst your workforce: 1) Incentivize Well-Being 2) Invest in Wholistic Wellness 3) Dynamically Address Well-Being.

Treatment costs for depression and anxiety disorders will reach 1 trillion dollars in the United States alone by 2020, according to a study published online on February 2nd, 2017, in The Lancet Psychiatry. That is almost as much as cancer treatment costs at present. "If we take into account the economic burden of illness as well as the direct costs for lost labor and hospitalization, studies have shown that major depression imposes the highest-burden of all disorders in the USA, trailing only heart disease and cancer in total costs," said first author Philip Wang from Harvard Medical School.

With an economic loss on this scale, it is no wonder that employers are beginning to take action not to be crushed by rising costs. Companies have realized that mental health and overall well-being are critical to having a productive and engaged workforce.

The benefits are apparent for companies that already have solid well-being programs in place. Less absenteeism, better performance; productivity; higher engagement rates; and increased health care savings make investing in an organization's well-being a no-brainer for any CEO.

What is new is just how prominent the costs of poor well-being are for organizations. Companies that don't have a well-being program in place or aren't actively pushing for better well-being among their employees can't expect to be in the bottom quartile of companies facing turnover issues, burnout, and disengagement.

If you don't have a well-being program in place, the time to do so is now. And if you already have one, it's simply a brilliant business to improve and optimize your current efforts and seek new ways to offer employees better support and push them towards greater overall well-being.

Here we'll discuss three key areas where businesses could improve existing well-being program infrastructure. First, we'll talk about incentivizing well-being and more wholistic wellness. Lastly, we'll create a more dynamic infrastructure to support wellness programs.

Incentivizing the pursuit of well-being

Programs to incentivize employees towards better health and wellness can take many forms. Still, one of the most effective and easiest ways is through monetary bonuses for employees that engage with well-being programs in a meaningful way. Another option is "bonus PTO" for employees demonstrating efforts towards creating wellness. Some companies include incentives as part of the wellness program itself. For example, some employers will match contributions employees make to not-for-profit initiatives related to their health and wellness. For instance, John Hancock offers 1:1 matching to employees who contribute to their health savings account.

Some employers offer "well-being dollars," which can be spent on wellness benefits like gym memberships and healthy foods or donated to a charity of the employee's choice. The Wellness Wallet program, for instance, offers $500/year per employee that can prove their engagement with existing wellness programs like gym memberships, healthy food options, or weight loss challenges.

Some employers are providing funds to purchase health insurance for low-wage workers, like the restaurant industry in Vermont, which allows employees to receive better coverage at a lower cost. Employers can potentially save money, freeing up resources that can be used on hiring and retention efforts.

Investing in Wholistic Wellness

Covid has helped bring the importance of mental health to the forefront of organizational leadership's minds, but wholistic wellness includes much more than just our mental health. Wholistic wellness comprises mind, body, and spirit. It's a lot more expensive to lose employees than help them achieve optimal well-being.

Data from the American Benefits Institute shows that each "healthy" employee saves $524.40 annually, compared with peers who are not healthy, and $735.60 for employees who are both healthy and engaged. That means people with greater well-being save money and create more significant revenue opportunities.

The benefits to higher well-being go beyond the walls of the business. Employees who are happier in their lives tend to be more productive at work, creating a virtuous cycle that reinforces itself. People with better eating habits and greater levels of exercise are healthier both mentally and physically, which should decrease absenteeism due to illness and insurance premiums. Similarly, people engaged with a spiritual or local community tend to be happier in life, reflecting their work performance.

The benefits of higher well-being to an organization are present throughout its culture and reach far beyond the business walls. Companies practicing wellness can expect more significant revenue, brand value, and employee retention.

Creating Dynamic Wellness Programs

As COVID demonstrated, the well-being needs of our people can change month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter. Companies that offer dynamic wellness programs such as ongoing training and ongoing coaching on well-being topics can help to meet people's changing needs.

Programs should not be limited to the physical but include the mental and emotional aspects of well-being: mindfulness, work/life balance, and personal safety. Companies need ways to stay connected with employees to understand their needs regularly and adapt to their workforce's changing needs. Whether current internal survey programs can be adapted to engage in the well-being conversation or new tools need to be installed, companies need to use data to make decisions about wellness investments. Collecting that data is only the first step. Companies then need to invest in well-being where employees show need. That might mean hiring training coaches or consultants, providing tools like financial calculators, and encouraging healthy behaviors through education. The one-size-fits-all approach to employee well-being based on executive hunches is going away.

"A lot of employers just have a gut feeling that well-being is important," said [Jennifer] Bott, Director at Pricewaterhouse Coopers International Center for Corporate Well-Being. "But there's data behind it...workplaces where employees have well-being support, they show better business outcomes."

It is scientifically proven that people with better mental, physical, and spiritual well-being are more productive, engaged, and profitable. If you want to help your employees thrive as individuals AND as part of your team, it's essential to provide them with the resources they need for good health. Step one is finding out where their health--well-being--is faltering. Contact us to find out where your employees are struggling with well-being.

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