For human resource professionals, a day doesn't go by without coming across a new email or social media post about how to improve employee wellbeing. With so much buzzing in the market around employee burnout, mental health and The Great Resignation, employers are continually on the hunt for ways to not only retain their employees but also support them during deeply personal and challenging times. And there is no shortage of options. From meditation to better sleep to weight loss and cultivating resilience, the market has never been so saturated with solutions for employee wellbeing. So how can Benefits and Wellbeing professionals cut through the noise to find the right solutions for their workforce? The key to seeing progress in employee wellbeing comes down to one word: motivation.
1. Build a culture that promotes a growth mindset
Company cultures that encourage a growth mindset promote learning, rather than just performance. They adopt the idea that an employee's talents and skills can be developed through input from others, good strategies and hard work, and they reject the idea that high performance is always a given. Adopting a growth mindset allows employees to find their 'why' and to become intrinsically motivated to evolve. Companies that promote growth mindsets build in time for employees to spend on their own development – professionally and personally. In order for a growth mindset to be successful, employees first need access to stellar education. But in the age of disinformation, it can be hard to distinguish between the good advice from the not-so-good. In the case of wellbeing, employee benefits and programs that provide on-demand content and guidance directly from experts in their fields will give employees a trusted foundation for taking steps forward on their own growth and development journeys.
2. Get right to the source of employee stress
In February of 2021, Willis Towers Watson, a global advising and broking firm, published survey results that found that 67% of employers cited caregiver responsibilities as the number one driver of employee stress. While EAPs and other forms of employee mental health support are a given for most large organizations, offering programs and benefits that get right to the source of employee stress – their families – can make a world of difference when motivating your employees to address their own stressors. This is especially true of many women in the workplace, who, studies have found, are more motivated to ask for what they need when they're advocating for loved ones rather than for themselves.
Family and caregiver support benefits that help employees solve complex and time-consuming socioeconomic problems reduce employee stress, ultimately allowing them to refocus at work. For example, a family support benefit that helps employees find appropriate housing for an aging parent, apply for Medicaid or get better access to special education services for a child, can alleviate weeks or months of at-home distractions and unplanned absenteeism. At the end of the day, family will always come first, so when employers invest in family support, they're also investing in the success of their employees.
3. Measure progress with data
One of the best ways to motivate employees to improve their wellbeing is by allowing them to see their progress. Progress data has been available in physical fitness apps for years. From measuring heart rate, to sleep quality, to weight loss, it's easy to track and plot the physical signs of improvement over time. But the less quantifiable data can still be tracked. An increasing number of wellbeing platforms are now measuring more complex data, such as improvements in self-care, mood, adaptability and overall effectiveness. Similar to the idea of gamification, benefits that help employees set goals and provide feedback in real-time can motivate individuals to stay on their paths to better health and wellbeing.
It's no secret that wellbeing in the workplace is hard to do well. It's a partnership between employers offering the right kinds of support and employees being ready and willing to take advantage of them. But with the right motivators in place, organizations can see dramatic improvements in employee health, wellbeing and retention for years to come.