Why It’s Time to Evolve Your Employee Health and Well-Being Strategy

Ninety-two percent of CEOs say their companies are more focused on mental health because of COVID-19. The myopic view that well-being is just a way to reduce healthcare costs has evolved. Investing in well-being is no longer a nice to have but a business imperative that enhances recruiting and retention, elevates productivity and demonstrates your organization’s commitment to caring for its people.

According to Glassdoor, 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing their life between work and personal commitments. How are you doing this for your people?

When it comes to the well-being of your employees, they’re each on their own unique journey – whether they’re just setting goals, already on a strong path, or simply need motivation or financial support. Your team is more diverse than ever. And, your ability to answer this question for every single employee on your team is likely difficult, if not impossible.

Well-Being of the Past

In the past, many employers approached wellness by offering gym reimbursements, lunch and learns and other incentives. While they’re nice additions to your total rewards package, they’re cookie cutter in nature and often target specific audiences – not necessarily those who need it most. For example, gym reimbursements rarely incentivize employees who don’t already work out to start going to the gym, while those who work out from home didn’t feel supported.

Then the pandemic happened, and many wellness perks and incentives no longer made sense. There also became a growing need for mental health and well-being support for employees and their families. In fact, 93% of organizations plan to expand virtual wellness and engagement programs post-COVID. The challenge now is: how can you expand and evolve your well-being strategy without adding yet another thing to your plate?

How to Reframe Your Thinking

It’s a matter of thinking about employee health and well-being differently. Just as employee engagement isn’t all about ping pong tables and office snacks, well-being is also evolving from gym memberships, on-site yoga classes and smoking cessation programs. Tim State, the SVP of Associate Health and Well-Being at Humana, explains it well in HR Drive. “We’ve moved from a narrow understanding of programs or slices of that picture into something a lot more holistic and fundamental.”

I’ll put it out there plain and simple: it’s important to invest in incentives that drive behavior, support mental health, etc. At the same time, trying to meet the demands of all your people may just not be feasible. Thinking back to my previous example about gym memberships, those who already have an exercise habit are likely to participate. That could make it “hard to determine if differences in health outcomes reflect program effectiveness or the people who elect to participate.”

Personalizing Your Team’s Well-Being Journey

Well-being is a personal journey that’s different for everyone. Investing in it from that vantage point would be logical to then consider. Personalizing your benefits for each one of them can make a very meaningful impact on your recruitment and retention efforts! And, it may allow you to gather better reporting and insights to build and continuously improve upon your well-being strategy.

At First Person Advisors, as a consultant and employee, I have the unique opportunity to take advantage of one such approach to meeting employees (and their families) where they are on their personal journey. For many years, we’ve worked with leaders to offer employees the means to support their unique wellness journeys. With the new way of working brought about by the pandemic, we quickly saw the need to evolve the program to meet employee needs more holistically.

That was the birth of Improve Mint. Personally, it meets me where I am in multiple aspects of my life – financial health, mental health, nutrition, physical health, and even remote work and professional development. I have a set dollar amount to spend each quarter and get reimbursed for any qualifying expenses.

As an employer, Improve Mint allows you to create a personalized and flexible program that’s scalable. And, it’s a way to say to employees, “We value you. We want to support your well-being. Here’s a tool to do that however it makes sense for you.”

With that, I have to say, I’m proud to be a part of an organization that offers this support to each of our valued team members in the way that means the most to us – as individuals. It’s one way to personalize your well-being program without a heavy lift. And, certainly, there are other approaches you can and should consider for your well-being strategy.

Three Ways to Evolve Your Well-Being Strategy

If your health and well-being strategy is at a crossroads – like many are these days – here are a few steps to evaluate and consider what your evolution looks like.

  1. Take inventory of your solutions. Are you hitting all the areas of well-being – physical, mental, social, community, and financial? Depending on the makeup of your team, employees may value different things. Examine what you have and how it aligns with their needs.
  2. Consider the flexibility of your workplace. In a recent survey done by Forbes, 70% of members are offering workplace flexibility, nearly half are supplementing with expanded well-being benefits, and a third are funding corporate subscripts for counseling and meditation support. Understanding your team’s needs can help you identify the right balance to provide them with what they need and want.
  3. Review your total rewards strategy. Take a step back to see the full picture. Our Total Rewards HaloTM is a great way to do just that. From there, iron out intentional strategies and tactics to serve your people well.

I’ll sound like a broken record here, but well-being is and always will be a personal journey. How your organization supports its people and their well-being can be a differentiator in the market. It’s not just a nice-to-have but a business imperative. Take the time to evaluate your current state and team’s needs, and talk to your advisor for insights to evolve your strategy to meet your organization’s and team’s goals.

Written by Laura Butler, Vice President and Consultant. Feel free to drop her a note or reach out on LinkedIn.