Increased employee wellness has a ripple effect on employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction. For this reason, employers looking to create a happy, healthy, and productive team should consider implementing a holistic wellness program in their workplace.
These days, many employers understand that employee wellness is not reduced to physical fitness. Healthy food fairs and gym memberships are not enough. Wellness encompasses a broad, inclusive, and holistic approach that focuses on treating the whole mind, body, and spirit. Generally, holistic wellness programs aim to include programs for financial wellness, volunteer opportunities, stress management, and more.
Thankfully, there has been a tremendous increase in awareness regarding overall employee wellness in recent years, particularly over the pandemic. If you are an employer who is still skeptical about implementing a holistic wellness program across your organization, consider the following.
The Importance of Holistic Employee Wellness
While a number of variables are critical to employee wellness, it can be difficult to offer a program that works for everyone. Even the most productive, happy team members can be subjected to high amounts of personal stress, financial stress, mental health concerns, and social pressure.
All of these issues can bring about
- A decline in overall wellbeing
- Poor work performance
- A lack of productivity
- The opportunity cost of lost work
- Problems in retaining employees
Employee Assistance Programs
HR and Wellbeing professionals can invest in tried and tested employee assistance programs (EAPs). EAPs provide counseling for work-related and personal issues. They assess an individual’s needs and customize an action plan to prevent, manage or resolve presenting issues.
Over the last year, CloudAdvisors, Canada’s Employee Benefits Marketplace, has observed a recent rise in mental health coverage for employees and their families. From early 2020 to 2021, small- to medium-sized businesses (under 100 employees) offering Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have increased from 18 per cent to 24 per cent. Meanwhile, EAPs among mid-sized corporations (100 to 500 employees) have risen in popularity from 27 per cent to 33 per cent. The largest conglomerates (over 500 employees) lag behind at a 1 per cent increase in offering an EAP.
Implementing a Holistic Wellness Program
Broadly speaking, you don’t need to be a huge corporation to implement a holistic wellness program. Small business owners can establish these plans to target the same issues, all within a reasonable budget. With that in mind, here are a few strategies to help you implement a wellness program to attract maximum employee participation:
When you launch an employee wellness program, it’s important to capture the employees’ attention right away. A strong rollout will help you get the right amount of employee participation to kick off the program. Your launch should help your workforce identify the organization’s intent, level of involvement, benefits, and rewards with respect to employee wellbeing.
Communication is critical to the program’s success, and it ensures that employees are motivated and excited enough to participate. It is crucial to establish a workplace culture that reflects your organization’s objectives as one that values the health of its employees. By improving communication around your wellness program offering, you run a greater chance of a high success rate.
Some steps to carry out your EAP rollout:
- Townhall announcements
- Local EAP ambassadors
- FAQ sessions for managers and employees
Make It Simple
The easier it is to participate in a program, the more people will be enthusiastic about joining in and experiencing the benefits. So, find the right ways to simplify the process for employees to make use of it. In the middle of a hectic week, employees are less likely to go out of their way to use their wellbeing program—you should put it in front of them and make it accessible.
For example, when employees know Mental Health Fridays are held, the work fridge stays stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables, or they can use a dedicated space to meditate, they are more likely to participate.
There’s no need for long-winded explanations about the perks of participating in activities. All you need is a quick text or email to nudge employees and get them interested.
Destigmatize Mental Health
Creating a culture that values wellness and encourages open discussion on sensitive subjects will aid in encouraging the adoption of your wellbeing program. In particular, managers who are honest with employees about their own mental health concerns are more likely to see employees open up about their own struggles. Destigmatizing mental health and asking for help when needed will work wonders to encourage employees to adopt a variety of wellness strategies.
Other strategies can include basic education about mental health and how it connects to social, financial, and physical health. Helping your workforce overcome stigmas around holistic strategies through a variety of education campaigns is an effective way to establish the importance of holistic wellness programs. Consider using visual reminders to highlight how the program works and who should be contacted for support.
Main Components of a Holistic Employee Wellness Program
Typically, wellness programs consist of health risk assessments, exercise regimens, assistance for smoking cessation, and access to gyms and fitness facilities.
A holistic wellness program, on the other hand, includes other benefits such as financial counselling, social engagement, mental health support, and emotional health support.
Here’s a brief overview:
Financial stress can result from concerns regarding debt, retirement savings, college education, expected medical payments, and maintaining a basic lifestyle. As an employer, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of financial stress, as they may lead to worsened work quality. Some signs and symptoms may include
- Poor overall health
Emotional health has long been ignored at workplaces. However, it’s true that satisfying relationships with friends, co-workers, family, and partners help people lead healthier lives. Unfortunately, Canadians are leading lonelier lives today than ever before, particularly with the surge of employees working from home. Adequate social connection is hard to come by and generally takes more work to implement than it did previously. Therefore, companies should look for holistic wellness programs that pave the way for meaningful social interactions.
Forcing co-workers to interact sounds tedious, but when slowly incorporated into your company’s culture—developed in such a way that resonates with your team—social outings can be a big hit. In general, by giving like-minded people an opportunity to bond together, employers can help achieve optimum emotional health.
According to one study, roughly 70 per cent of employees with access to holistic wellness programs report increased job satisfaction. Similarly, the same report highlights how unmotivated employees can cost organizations billions of dollars in lost revenue.
The figures speak for themselves and highlight the need to implement holistic wellness strategies. When done right, it’s a win-win situation for both employers and employees.
CloudAdvisors is Canada’s largest Insurtech cloud platform and marketplace powered by artificial intelligence. CloudAdvisors was founded in 2015 and has enabled a fully digital experience for Employee Benefits. The platform provides access to employee benefits data across Canada through more than 95 insurance and benefits providers. HR management and benefits administrators largely benefit from comparison reports and provider options when making educated insurance decisions. To learn more visit www.cloudadvisors.ca
Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family, and personal needs to become healthier, happier, and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness, and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals, and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs. To learn more visit www.workplaceoptions.ca.
Disclaimer: This blog article is intended for general information only. It does not provide the reader with specific direction, advice, or recommendations. You may wish to contact an appropriate professional for questions concerning your particular situation.