Turbulent organizational change and bleak economic conditions have left employees worldwide surrendering to pure exhaustion. We’re seeing alarming rates of stress-induced illness and billions of dollars worth of productivity losses (1).
But this phenomenon has also sparked the rise of the employee wellness industry. With the goal of transforming the way organizations support their teams, employee wellness providers are stepping in to facilitate the required duty of care to employees.
But how do employers choose the best from the growing reservoir of providers? And how do we tell if they can provide credible and effective solutions? Let’s find out.
Is Investing In an Employee Wellness Program Even Worth It?
Employee wellness is a corporate social responsibility, not a trend or a nice-to-have.
It’s driven by an increased prevalence and early onset of chronic diseases due to a sedentary yet stressful lifestyle. If left unaddressed, total costs related to lost productivity due to illness-related absenteeism will surpass USD150 billion in the coming years (1).
Employee wellness providers help HR augment productivity while reducing overall healthcare and operational costs. They design programs and policies, as well as nurture a health-supportive culture that promotes holistic well-being and workplace effectiveness. This may include stress management courses, providing tech support, to improving leave policies.
Here are three wins of employers increasing their focus on employee wellbeing according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) 2022 survey (2):
Healthier and more inclusive environments
Improved work-life balance
Better employee morale and engagement
How to Find the Best Wellness Provider for Your Organization
In 2020, the employee wellness market size was valued at USD53 billion. And it’s expected to grow at an annual rate of 7% from 2021 to 2028 (1). This growth is greatly accelerated by demand and technology. That means scavenging for a competent provider means making sure that they combine professional initiatives, and evidence-based techniques, with innovative software.
So, as employers make the switch to preventive and compassionate management, here are a few benchmarks to help ensure you attain the best support for your teams:
1) Provides personalized solutions
Health and wellness mean different things to different organizations. That’s why it’s important that your wellness program is thoughtfully tailored to the unique demands of your company.
This means they carefully analyze the current state of your organization and the needs of your employees. Only by breaking away from the one-size-fits-all approach, both you and your employees see visible positive change.
2) Adapts to ever-shifting needs
A holistic employee wellness framework is one that keeps up with the times. Especially since the organizational, economic, tech, and health climate is a constant flux, we cannot use outdated models and expect things to improve.
For things to work, providers need to conduct a regular assessment of employees’ and organizational needs. All while integrating the latest approaches, technology, and wellness initiatives. Only then can we empower and motivate people to strive toward their well-being goals.
3) Leverages professional expertise
Employee wellness providers usually come in with a team of accredited physical and mental health professionals. They tap into the experience and knowledge of these experts to maximize the potential of their well-being programs.
These in-house professionals help ensure organizations are getting evidence-based strategies. This doesn’t just ensure people are getting the highest quality of support and information but also increases the likelihood of long-term behavioral changes.
4) Eases help-seeking efforts
Life is already stressful. So, getting help shouldn’t feel like an extra chore. That means that for a wellness initiative to be effective, its programs should be easy to access and commit to.
Ideally, we want to reduce employees’ barriers to seeking help and improving their health. This may look like designing programs that are easy to transfer between work and home, making helplines easy to reach, and guiding people to craft their unique well-being journey. It’s also good to note that we shouldn’t force people into making changes that may not necessarily work for them.
5) Diversify sources of information
Education and awareness are golden elements in influencing employee wellness habits. That’s why we need invaluable resources encompassing nutrition, fitness, and mental health. And employee wellness providers should curate content in multiple formats to ensure accessibility and lifelong learning.
Wellness providers should also educate HR and line managers on the best ways to support their teams (3). That means coaching them to manage sensitive conversations with their employees, directing employees to appropriate help, and modeling a healthy approach to diet, relaxation, and sleep.
There has been growing evidence that effective employee wellness providers contribute to workplace engagement and performance. But to maintain these benefits, we cannot rely on one-off and one-size-fits-all solutions.
Your ideal provider should effectively equip management with everything they need to support their employees on a long-term basis. Remember, your employees are a vital source of value and the core of your business model. Prioritize their well-being and the dividends for overall organizational health will be significant.
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