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How Prioritizing Wellness Can Improve the Employee Experience

By D Sharma

Originally published via Training Industry

When it comes to employee retention and satisfaction, organizations are struggling. Feelings of stress, anxiety and burnout are more common than not in today’s workforce.

According to a survey from McKinsey & Company, 56% of U.S. employees report feeling at least somewhat burnt out. This is likely an understatement because, as the researchers of the study point out, those who are feeling burnt out are the least likely to respond to surveys.

The unfortunate truth is that many of these same workers feel as though they’ve reached an impasse in their careers. Workers who’ve reached this point find it difficult to continue growing at their existing company. In fact, a recent Monster poll reveals that 34% of employees think the best way to advance their careers is to find a position with a new employer. All of these factors are a catalyst of the current changes happening across industries due to “The Great Resignation.”

Here’s a closer look at how the world arrived at this current state as well as some practical suggestions for how to improve the employee experience through resources that support their physical, mental and emotional needs.

Why Employees Are Struggling and Leaving Organizations

In 2020, the traditional work environment was upended in a way no one anticipated. Employees found themselves in different surroundings, the majority at home, that presented distractions and interruptions they had never previously encountered. It left a lot of employees feeling hard-pressed to finish all their day-to-day work activities on time.

Much of that uncertainty continues today, leaving many to question whether their current organization is capable of meeting their needs. The possibility of moving on to an employer that offers the resources they’re craving is appealing. In many cases, that includes better mental health support.

A recent Gallup survey shows that Americans’ ratings of their psychological well-being have reached an all-time low. But it’s important to remember that employees need resources that support all their needs, something organizations can only achieve with a holistic wellness program.

How Focusing on Wellness Improves the Employee Experience

Some employee wellness programs achieve only lackluster results, often because few people use them. This is why it’s essential to ensure that any program under consideration comes complete with offerings that appeal to every employee’s preference — guided meditations, sleep practices, nutrition coaching, fitness classes and more. The ideal workplace wellness program is customizable and will address all employees’ needs.

There are already many organizations that have implemented successful programs and have achieved undeniable benefits. Consider financial services technology firm Confluence Technologies. The company decided to revamp its wellness program to allow employees to track their progress individually. It was a different, more personalized approach than they’d tried in the past.

From employees’ perspectives, the benefits hit closer to home. Research has shown that wellness programs contribute to reduced stress, higher satisfaction and better health outcomes. Additionally, such programs make it easy for them to focus on their well-being. This is particularly true if the program makes use of technologies employees already use in their work and personal lives, such as mobile apps.

Depending on how robust the wellness program offerings are, employees may even benefit from live classes, on-demand resources they can access at any time, and team-wide wellness sessions that encourage them to connect with one another.

How to Get Started with Workplace Wellness Programs

The employee wellness benefits you offer at your company will be dependent on your culture and team needs, but there are some best practices that can guide organizations toward success.

First, start by researching what employees want, which can be achieved by using questionnaires to solicit feedback. Use this information to help set goals that are specific and measurable, meaning you’ll be able to see tangible benefits.

Once you identify some key goals, it’s worth considering whether partnering with a platform would be more advantageous than hosting a program internally. Doing so could free up needed bandwidth, ensure experts are providing guidance, and simplify ongoing implementation and maintenance.

When assessing a platform and the content of that platform, look for the following features:

  • Live and on-demand fitness classes.
  • Coaching from certified wellness experts.
  • Meditation sessions.
  • Guided sleep practices.
  • Team wellness challenges.
  • Company-wide classes.
  • Integrations with commonly used tools.

No matter how an organization prioritizes wellness in the workplace, there’s no question that it can enhance the employee experience. Now is the time to complete the transformation into an organization that makes employees feel truly valued.

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