Employee Wellness 2020 – 2021: What Has Changed
- The basic definition of employee wellness has undergone a transformational shift. The way it is defined and what it means has changed not only for employees but also for employers. The meaning of wellness has shifted from being focussed on physical to holistic. Wellness initiatives by employers are now required to focus on the mental, financial, and physical aspects of their employees’ wellness.
- The role of employers has also changed as there is more focus on employee well-being than it was say, 20 years ago. Employers now have a lot more control. Even the smallest action taken by the employer can cause a ripple effect and have a great impact on their employees’ lives and their families. Carefully crafted health and wellness benefits play a vital role.
- Industry best practices are changing with a shift in focus towards what employees really want. Although organizations still look for standard ways and practices used by other organizations to improve employee wellness, employees’ demands are now evolving and for that employers must ensure to look for methods that address these needs. Companies are trying to understand the trends and contextualise them to fit the needs of employees.
- Wellness has become the top priority and it is not a temporary phenomenon. This is a long-term trend and employers must focus more on it in the coming years. Organizations are now more future-focused and consistent with their efforts towards maintaining employee wellness.
- Employee Experience and related technologies are the biggest differentiators and contributors. Organizations are now optimising technology to offer employees a positive experience throughout their time in the workplace.
How Organizations Can Design Employee Wellness Programs?
There is a definite movement towards employee-created and employee-driven wellness increasing the need for organizations to onboard wellness leaders, coaches, coordinators, or consultants. Organizations are required to empathize with their employees based on their gender, age, physical and mental fitness needs etc. This is key. For instance, employers can understand from employees if:
- Women employees want to have nutrition linked wellness support at the workplace or would they rather visit a nutritionist of their choice?
- Older employees want their organization to give them an option for free annual check-ups or do they want to have this provision in their healthcare plan?
- Employees prefer virtual counselling sessions or physical ones?
Knowing employees well, helps organizations design a more future-focused wellness strategy.
Role of Digital Technology in Delivering and Managing Wellness ProgramsEmerging technologies such as smartwatches, digital employee benefits, online financial benefits platforms, mindfulness apps, etc. can help better predict and address evolving employee needs. With the help of such digital tools, companies can customize the wellness experience for each employee segment, creating a better user experience based on employees’ preferences and wellness objectives. By developing data-expertise, employers should analyse data related to employees’ lifestyle needs and wants. This will empower and equip employers to understand the employees better and thereafter, motivate employees to be responsible for their own well-being. Way Forward
Holistic Financial Wellness:As per research conducted by Bank of America, 62% of employers nowadays feel responsible for their employees' financial wellness. Providing financial wellness programs & resources, such as interactive educational programs, live counsellors, interactive budget tools etc., helps employers to alleviate the stress of employees.
More Empathy Towards Employees:In this hybrid working environment, employers must empathize with employees through regular connects. This can be done by scheduling non-work meetings to discuss challenges, team connects to build employee engagement, redefining HR policies and acknowledging employee issues.
Work from Home Wellness Programs :To make working from home less stressful, organizations can focus on WFH wellness programs. This can be done by:
- Offering Allowances for work from home setup (workstation, chair, or laptop accessories)
- Meal allowances
- Learning & Development programs and allowances
- Health and wellness programs or meet ups with the industry experts