5 Non-Negotiable HR Considerations for the New Normal Workplace


As you build or update your strategy to be inclusive of benefits, scheduling, work-culture and flexibility, empathy will be your guide to the delicate dance of reflecting on current practices and offerings and then looking outside your previous assumptions about employees’ ability and willingness to compartmentalize their life stressors.

Here are five things to consider if you want to boost well-being among your employees:

1. Home Access to Care Is a Non-Negotiable

Now that more than half of employers have decided that virtual health care solutions are essential, your concern shifts from availability to quality of care for your workforce. The decision of whether to make these services available to your employees is already made. Now you can focus on standing out among competing employers by learning which carriers deliver outstanding virtual care for both primary care and mental health.

2. Flexibility Means More Than Flex Time

If you think all you need is a benefits package that will be comprehensive enough to help employees maintain all of their “issues” outside of the 9–5 workday, you’ve got another think coming.

NFP Well-Being and Engagement Global Practice Leader Deb Smolensky observes:

“Think of all the things that may be weighing on an employee at any given time: multigenerational caregiving responsibilities, debt, home maintenance needs, rising utility costs, limited or strained colleague connections, poor home office ergonomics, higher food bills, not being able to connect with the care they need — it’s all happening at home. The stress is compounded by workloads and a lack of flexibility, which leads to burnout and then turnover, which puts more pressure on those left behind to backfill and find a replacement.”

3. Work–Life Balance Is Out; Life–Work Integration Is In

Working from home is here to stay, with about half of companies who adopted alternative work schedules planning to keep the new schedule permanently. Whether or not your company will implement, maintain, end or reject a work-from-home possibility, your most successful quality to hone is empathy.

Total rewards offerings accommodate the 24/7/365 whole-person experience. When you put empathy, care, and thought into a refreshed, today-centric, integrated offering, you communicate to employees - in a measured way - that their employer understands that life experiences and challenges don’t simply wait in the car or get put on hold until the workday is over. Employees will suss out whether you’re really okay with their lives – not their work – coming first.

When employees believe their employer recognizes that 100% of the workforce has changed in some way over the past few years and so have their needs, you’re finally on common ground where real work can get done.

4. If Change Is the Only Constant, and Change Is Stressful, Stress Will Be Constant, Too

Plan for the unexpected. Be ready to think on your feet. Be willing to pivot and able to admit mistakes and oversights. If you model resilience, the people you lead will learn and practice resilience, too. So whatever comes along to throw you, your employees or the company off balance, dedicate to partnering with your employees so that you’re all better prepared to handle it.

5. DEIB Has Diversified, and It’s Important To Keep Up

In the same interview, Deb Smolensky urges more companies to “take time to understand differences in socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood and physical environment, and access to healthcare, and reflect this understanding in how they develop and offer benefits programs. This is huge when building a culture of belonging and getting well-being right.”

Click here to read the full interview and get more tips