Tag: well-being

  • What is Mental Health and Wellness in HR?

    May 9, 2022

    Tags: , ,

    Men­tal health and well­ness in HR are becom­ing top pri­or­i­ties for employ­ers. In fact, HR lead­ers named men­tal health and well­be­ing as their third biggest prob­lem, behind the labor short­age and retain­ing tal­ent, in the lat­est HR Exchange Net­work State of HR report. In addi­tion, those sur­veyed also said burnout was the top con­se­quence of the pan­dem­ic. “Blur­ring of work and per­son­al life” and “burnout” tied, with 28% of the vote each, as the biggest chal­lenges to employ­ee engage­ment. And 30%  of respon­dents said employ­ee engage­ment and expe­ri­ence was their top priority.

    Clear­ly, men­tal health and well­ness is relat­ed to the employ­ee expe­ri­ence, and the expec­ta­tions in the new nor­mal require HR lead­ers to pro­vide sup­port, empa­thy, and guid­ance for help­ing those who need it. To begin, they need to under­stand the nuances of men­tal health and well­ness.

    Defining Mental Health and Wellness

    A first step for HR lead­ers is to break­down men­tal health and well­ness to under­stand the dif­fer­ences, so they can best address “men­tal health” and “well­ness.”

    What Is Mental Health?

    The U.S. gov­ern­ment defines men­tal health as the emo­tion­al, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and social well­be­ing of an indi­vid­ual. Obvi­ous­ly, one’s men­tal health con­tributes to how he thinks, feels, and acts, and it relates to his resilien­cy and rela­tion­ships with others.

    Con­sid­er­ing this def­i­n­i­tion, HR lead­ers can focus on insur­ance that cov­ers men­tal health con­di­tions and con­nect­ing peo­ple to appro­pri­ate spe­cial­ists just as they would for employ­ees with phys­i­cal ail­ments, for exam­ple. Tend­ing to men­tal health needs is slight­ly dif­fer­ent than those of wellness.

    What Is Wellness?

    On the oth­er hand, well­ness refers to the total­i­ty of health – both men­tal and phys­i­cal – of an employ­ee, accord­ing to the Soci­ety for Human Resource Man­age­ment. When employ­ers focus on well­ness, they are aim­ing to pro­vide employ­ees with pre­ven­ta­tive solu­tions to avoid ill­ness­es and long-term health prob­lems. For exam­ple, gym mem­ber­ships, yoga class­es, and med­i­ta­tion ses­sions are among the ways HR lead­ers may sup­port the well­ness of workers.

    Men­tal health refers to the con­di­tion of an employee’s state of mind, where­as well­ness refers to his or her gen­er­al health. Some­times, even those in HR use the word well­be­ing inter­change­ably with well­ness, but there is a dis­tinc­tion. Well­be­ing refers to job sat­is­fac­tion or one’s con­tent­ment at work. Cer­tain­ly, well­be­ing is relat­ed to men­tal health and well­ness. If employ­ees are expe­ri­enc­ing anx­i­ety, high stress, or burnout, which are asso­ci­at­ed with both men­tal health and well­ness, they may expe­ri­ence neg­a­tive feel­ings at work. There­fore, their well­be­ing also will be at risk.

    HR’s Responsibility for Mental Health and Wellness

    The pan­dem­ic revealed the need for men­tal health and well­ness pro­grams at work­places. Both mind and body need­ed sooth­ing, and HR pro­fes­sion­als took the lead in pro­vid­ing solu­tions to work­ers. More than two years after the start of the pan­dem­ic, they are con­tin­u­ing to enhance their offerings.

    Here are some rel­e­vant ben­e­fits that employ­ers may pro­vide, and HR lead­ers can consider:

    Medical Insurance that Covers Mental Health

    This first ben­e­fit is the most obvi­ous one, and it refers to the employ­er choos­ing insur­ance options that cov­er men­tal health as robust­ly as they do phys­i­cal health.

    Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

    The U.S. gov­ern­ment defines an EAP as a “vol­un­tary, work-based pro­gram that offers free and con­fi­den­tial assess­ments, short-term coun­sel­ing, refer­rals, and fol­low-up ser­vices to employ­ees who have per­son­al and/or work-relat­ed prob­lems.” These pro­grams may address stress, sub­stance abuse, or fam­i­ly dis­cord, for example.

    Mental Health First Aiders

    This is a pro­fes­sion­al who works on staff or on call for a busi­ness, so employ­ees always have some­one to sup­port them with any men­tal health con­cerns, accord­ing to verywellhealth.

    Training for Managers, Leaders, and Peers

    Some com­pa­nies are train­ing their teams to rec­og­nize poten­tial men­tal health issues in their col­leagues and to devel­op empa­thy and emo­tion­al IQ.

    Yoga, Meditation, Workshops, Zen Rooms, etc.

    These are a few exam­ples of pro­grams designed to help employ­ees relieve stress and stay focused.

    Mental Health Days

    Some com­pa­nies are includ­ing men­tal health days in their paid time off menu. This allows peo­ple the chance to stay home as they would for a sick day.

    Parameters around Work Hours/Flexibility/Respecting People’s Time

    Many employ­ers are shar­ing guide­lines about allow­ing employ­ees flex­i­bil­i­ty around when and where they work or dur­ing what hours they can com­mu­ni­cate with them about work, etc. The idea is to help peo­ple bet­ter bal­ance work and life to give them the time and space nec­es­sary to recharge.

    Why Should HR Leaders Care about Mental Health and Wellness?

    The answer about why any leader should care about employ­ees’ well­ness seems obvi­ous. It’s the right thing to do. But it also relates to busi­ness out­comes. Poor men­tal health and well­ness among employ­ees can pose grave risks to an employ­er. These are the threats:

    • Decreased Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty – Peo­ple are not as inter­est­ed in get­ting the job done if their deal­ing with men­tal health issues.
    • Res­ig­na­tion – Men­tal health and well­ness is clear­ly con­nect­ed to job sat­is­fac­tion and well­be­ing. Peo­ple might quit if they are suffering.
    • Neg­a­tive Impact on the Bot­tom Line – If employ­ees are not pro­duc­tive or engaged, the com­pa­ny will not be as suc­cess­ful. If there is much turnover, the com­pa­ny will lose mon­ey in recruit­ing, hir­ing, train­ing, and patient­ly wait­ing for new hires to get up to speed. All these con­se­quences can influ­ence rev­enue and busi­ness outcomes.

    How Work Can Affect Employee Wellness

    Employ­ees spend a large amount of time work­ing. Tox­ic work­places obvi­ous­ly can dam­age one’s men­tal state, where­as a psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly safe envi­ron­ment can moti­vate peo­ple. Any­one expe­ri­enc­ing bul­ly­ing or harass­ment at work may feel more anx­i­ety or stress. That’s undoubt­ed­ly true. But hav­ing heavy work­loads, tight dead­lines, and oth­er stress­ful per­son­al sit­u­a­tions can lead to burnout. Poten­tial­ly, these fac­tors cut into the psy­cho­log­i­cal con­tract between employ­ee and employ­er. This is con­cern­ing to HR leaders.

    The Mayo Clin­ic says job burnout is a type of work-relat­ed stress that results in a state of phys­i­cal or emo­tion­al exhaus­tion that can influ­ence an employee’s self-worth and sense of iden­ti­ty. The pan­dem­ic and con­se­quen­tial labor short­age put burnout in the spot­light and forced employ­ers to con­front it. Now, HR lead­ers are work­ing to com­bat and pre­vent burnout as part of their over­all men­tal health and well­ness strategies.

    Tak­ing steps to reduce hours and work­loads, man­ag­ing expec­ta­tions, and train­ing man­agers to be bet­ter, more empa­thet­ic lead­ers are among the ways they are address­ing the prob­lem. HR Exchange Net­work rec­og­nized this new oblig­a­tion of Human Resources in its recent tal­ent man­age­ment report:

    Com­pa­nies that show they tru­ly care about the men­tal health and well­ness of their employ­ees will get noticed. Those who are flex­i­ble and under­stand­ing when peo­ple are hav­ing a tough time per­son­al­ly will win hearts. “Com­pa­nies need to switch their focus on engage­ment to expe­ri­ence. Maya Angelou said it the best, ‘Peo­ple for­get what you tell them. They don’t for­get how you make them feel,’ ” says Sebastien Girard, Chief Peo­ple Offi­cer at Cen­tu­ra Health.

    HR lead­ers are helm­ing efforts to address men­tal health and well­ness of employ­ees. They are con­fronting these issues to improve employ­ee engage­ment and expe­ri­ence and the work cul­ture. Employ­ers rec­og­nize the link between the men­tal health and well­ness of their employ­ees and the suc­cess of their business.

    In addi­tion, they real­ize this is the right thing to do, which is vital at a time when employ­er brand is of the utmost impor­tance, and every­one is try­ing to bet­ter main­tain work-life bal­ance. The pan­dem­ic was the spark for employ­ers giv­ing atten­tion to these issues, but the focus on help­ing employ­ees main­tain their men­tal health and well­ness will continue.

    By Francesca Di Meglio

    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on HR Exchange Network

  • What Employees Want: Hybrid Work and Flexibility

    April 11, 2022

    Tags: , , , ,

    2021 was quit­tin’ time in Amer­i­ca.  Last year alone over 47.4 mil­lion Amer­i­cans quit their jobs. This year, employ­ees seem­ing­ly have the upper hand against employ­ers.  The Turnover Tsuna­mi, a.k.a. The Great Res­ig­na­tion, has forced a reck­on­ing with the work­place and few employ­ers have come away unscathed.  Orga­ni­za­tions are now shift­ing pri­or­i­ties to make employ­ee well-being and reten­tion the pri­or­i­ty.  The fact of the mat­ter is, after health insur­ance, the most desir­able perks and ben­e­fits are those that offer flex­i­bil­i­ty while improv­ing work/life bal­ance. So, what is it that employ­ees real­ly want to achieve a bet­ter work/life balance?

    • Hybrid Work – Work­ing remote­ly some days in the week and at a phys­i­cal office on others
    • Flex­i­bil­i­ty– Being able to occa­sion­al­ly shift hours that best fit an employee’s life

    Why Hybrid Work?

    In 2020, peo­ple had to change the way they worked overnight and turned their kitchen tables into a ful­ly func­tion­ing office.  Many employ­ees dis­cov­ered they were more pro­duc­tive at home.  On the oth­er hand, some miss the social nature of the office and work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly in per­son.  Because of these mixed perks of in office vs. work­ing at home, hybrid work can offer the best of both worlds.

    Accord­ing to a sur­vey by the Inter­na­tion­al Work­place Group, 72% of office work­ers would pre­fer a hybrid way of work­ing to a full-time return to the office – even if revert­ing to Mon­day – Fri­day rou­tine meant earn­ing more money.

    Why Flex­i­ble Work?

    When the work­force went home because of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, it caused a change in the expec­ta­tions of employ­ees and there­fore the way com­pa­nies approach their work envi­ron­ments.  The pan­dem­ic prompt­ed job seek­ers to seek flex­i­bil­i­ty that allows them some lev­el of con­trol of their time.  Gene Lan­zoni at Guardian said “Time is the most impor­tant ben­e­fit an employ­er can pro­vide.  For many of us the pan­dem­ic afford­ed us more time, and we’re real­ly not will­ing to give that back.  We had a taste of a more bal­anced life.”

    Bal­ance has nev­er been more impor­tant.  60% of fam­i­lies with chil­dren have both par­ents work­ing and for these fam­i­lies, being able to work from home with flex­i­bil­i­ty is non­nego­tiable. Flex­i­bil­i­ty can allow care­givers to log off from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. and then come back and do some work after the kids are in bed.  When employ­ees have more con­trol of their work sched­ules, they can free up time to take care of things that pop up in their per­son­al lives – whether it’s run­ning an errand, tak­ing a child to the den­tist, or being home for a delivery.

    In the end, a flex­i­ble sched­ule con­tributes to a high­er qual­i­ty of life.  Employ­ees don’t have to put their careers on hold to focus on their fam­i­lies or edu­ca­tion.  This free­dom is more valu­able in the long run than a paycheck.

    Work­er reten­tion is more impor­tant than ever in 2022.  Build­ing a good work­place cul­ture based on the cur­rent inter­ests of employ­ees plays a sig­nif­i­cant role for the suc­cess of the com­pa­ny.  Busi­ness­es now live in an employ­ee-dri­ven job mar­ket.  It is essen­tial that as an employ­er you know what ben­e­fits your employ­ees val­ue to keep them hap­py, healthy and work­ing for you.

  • What Employees Want: Well-Being Programs

    February 16, 2022

    Tags: , ,

    Work­place well­ness pro­grams have increased in the past sev­er­al years to pro­mote healthy diets and lifestyle, exer­cise and oth­er behav­iors such as quit­ting smok­ing.  As of 2020, most employ­ers had well­ness pro­grams of some kind, includ­ing 53% of small firms (those with 3–200 employ­ees) and 81% of large com­pa­nies.  Since employ­ees spend most of their wak­ing hours on the job, well­ness pro­grams seem to be a nat­ur­al fit to try to pro­mote healthy changes in behav­ior.  But, in 2022, employ­ees want more; many work­ers are look­ing for employ­ers who show authen­tic con­cern for their well-being.

    Well-being is about how our lives are going.  It’s not only about health and hap­pi­ness but also about liv­ing life to its fullest poten­tial.  In fact, data shows that employ­ees of all gen­er­a­tions rank “the orga­ni­za­tion cares about the employ­ees’ well-being” in their top three criteria.

    Finan­cial stress soared dur­ing the pan­dem­ic but so did reg­u­lar stress, too.  Men­tal health strug­gles such as anx­i­ety, depres­sion, and sub­stance abuse are also climb­ing.  These are expen­sive issues to ignore both in terms of the human suf­fer­ing but also the company’s bot­tom line: Depres­sion alone costs an esti­mat­ed $210.5 bil­lion per year.  These costs are due to absen­teeism (missed work days) and pre­sen­teeism (reduced pro­duc­tiv­i­ty at work) as well as direct med­ical costs (out­pa­tient and inpa­tient med­ical ser­vices and phar­ma­cy costs).

    Employ­ers must rec­og­nize the inter­re­la­tion­ship between the phys­i­cal, finan­cial, work and well-being com­po­nents of employ­ees’ lives.  For exam­ple, employ­ees who need help with their finan­cial well-being are sig­nif­i­cant­ly less like­ly to be phys­i­cal­ly healthy and more like­ly to report feel­ing stressed or anx­ious which can impact pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and job per­for­mance.  Vice Pres­i­dent for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Fideli­ty Invest­ments in Boston, Mike Sham­rell,  rec­og­nizes the need for all dimen­sions of well­ness.  “It’s tough to be well in one area when you’re unwell in anoth­er,” he said.

    Well-being is often asso­ci­at­ed with gym mem­ber­ships and green smooth­ies but it is much more than that; it is a result of many dif­fer­ent aspects of one’s life.  Here are 5 com­mon dimen­sions of well-being that can be addressed through a work­place well­ness program:

    • Emotional/Mental Health – Under­stand­ing your feel­ings and cop­ing with stress.
    • Phys­i­cal Health – Dis­cov­er­ing how self-care can improve your life and productivity.
    • Finan­cial Health – Suc­cess­ful­ly man­ag­ing your money.
    • Social Con­nect­ed­ness – Cre­at­ing and being a part of a sup­port network.
    • Occu­pa­tion­al Well-Being– Feel­ing appre­ci­at­ed at work and sat­is­fied in your contributions.

    Great employ­ees want great employ­ers.  Com­pa­nies that want cre­ative, high-per­form­ing teams must be will­ing to sup­port work­ers both in and out of the office.  Well-being has a major influ­ence on an employee’s per­for­mance and sat­is­fac­tion; employ­ees who feel val­ued and appre­ci­at­ed are more invest­ed in their com­pa­ny in return.

  • What is Mental Health and Wellness in HR?

    May 9, 2022

    Tags: , ,

    Men­tal health and well­ness in HR are becom­ing top pri­or­i­ties for employ­ers. In fact, HR lead­ers named men­tal health and well­be­ing as their third biggest prob­lem, behind the labor short­age and retain­ing tal­ent, in the lat­est HR Exchange Net­work State of HR report. In addi­tion, those sur­veyed also said burnout was the top con­se­quence of the pan­dem­ic. “Blur­ring of work and per­son­al life” and “burnout” tied, with 28% of the vote each, as the biggest chal­lenges to employ­ee engage­ment. And 30%  of respon­dents said employ­ee engage­ment and expe­ri­ence was their top priority.

    Clear­ly, men­tal health and well­ness is relat­ed to the employ­ee expe­ri­ence, and the expec­ta­tions in the new nor­mal require HR lead­ers to pro­vide sup­port, empa­thy, and guid­ance for help­ing those who need it. To begin, they need to under­stand the nuances of men­tal health and well­ness.

    Defining Mental Health and Wellness

    A first step for HR lead­ers is to break­down men­tal health and well­ness to under­stand the dif­fer­ences, so they can best address “men­tal health” and “well­ness.”

    What Is Mental Health?

    The U.S. gov­ern­ment defines men­tal health as the emo­tion­al, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and social well­be­ing of an indi­vid­ual. Obvi­ous­ly, one’s men­tal health con­tributes to how he thinks, feels, and acts, and it relates to his resilien­cy and rela­tion­ships with others.

    Con­sid­er­ing this def­i­n­i­tion, HR lead­ers can focus on insur­ance that cov­ers men­tal health con­di­tions and con­nect­ing peo­ple to appro­pri­ate spe­cial­ists just as they would for employ­ees with phys­i­cal ail­ments, for exam­ple. Tend­ing to men­tal health needs is slight­ly dif­fer­ent than those of wellness.

    What Is Wellness?

    On the oth­er hand, well­ness refers to the total­i­ty of health – both men­tal and phys­i­cal – of an employ­ee, accord­ing to the Soci­ety for Human Resource Man­age­ment. When employ­ers focus on well­ness, they are aim­ing to pro­vide employ­ees with pre­ven­ta­tive solu­tions to avoid ill­ness­es and long-term health prob­lems. For exam­ple, gym mem­ber­ships, yoga class­es, and med­i­ta­tion ses­sions are among the ways HR lead­ers may sup­port the well­ness of workers.

    Men­tal health refers to the con­di­tion of an employee’s state of mind, where­as well­ness refers to his or her gen­er­al health. Some­times, even those in HR use the word well­be­ing inter­change­ably with well­ness, but there is a dis­tinc­tion. Well­be­ing refers to job sat­is­fac­tion or one’s con­tent­ment at work. Cer­tain­ly, well­be­ing is relat­ed to men­tal health and well­ness. If employ­ees are expe­ri­enc­ing anx­i­ety, high stress, or burnout, which are asso­ci­at­ed with both men­tal health and well­ness, they may expe­ri­ence neg­a­tive feel­ings at work. There­fore, their well­be­ing also will be at risk.

    HR’s Responsibility for Mental Health and Wellness

    The pan­dem­ic revealed the need for men­tal health and well­ness pro­grams at work­places. Both mind and body need­ed sooth­ing, and HR pro­fes­sion­als took the lead in pro­vid­ing solu­tions to work­ers. More than two years after the start of the pan­dem­ic, they are con­tin­u­ing to enhance their offerings.

    Here are some rel­e­vant ben­e­fits that employ­ers may pro­vide, and HR lead­ers can consider:

    Medical Insurance that Covers Mental Health

    This first ben­e­fit is the most obvi­ous one, and it refers to the employ­er choos­ing insur­ance options that cov­er men­tal health as robust­ly as they do phys­i­cal health.

    Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

    The U.S. gov­ern­ment defines an EAP as a “vol­un­tary, work-based pro­gram that offers free and con­fi­den­tial assess­ments, short-term coun­sel­ing, refer­rals, and fol­low-up ser­vices to employ­ees who have per­son­al and/or work-relat­ed prob­lems.” These pro­grams may address stress, sub­stance abuse, or fam­i­ly dis­cord, for example.

    Mental Health First Aiders

    This is a pro­fes­sion­al who works on staff or on call for a busi­ness, so employ­ees always have some­one to sup­port them with any men­tal health con­cerns, accord­ing to verywellhealth.

    Training for Managers, Leaders, and Peers

    Some com­pa­nies are train­ing their teams to rec­og­nize poten­tial men­tal health issues in their col­leagues and to devel­op empa­thy and emo­tion­al IQ.

    Yoga, Meditation, Workshops, Zen Rooms, etc.

    These are a few exam­ples of pro­grams designed to help employ­ees relieve stress and stay focused.

    Mental Health Days

    Some com­pa­nies are includ­ing men­tal health days in their paid time off menu. This allows peo­ple the chance to stay home as they would for a sick day.

    Parameters around Work Hours/Flexibility/Respecting People’s Time

    Many employ­ers are shar­ing guide­lines about allow­ing employ­ees flex­i­bil­i­ty around when and where they work or dur­ing what hours they can com­mu­ni­cate with them about work, etc. The idea is to help peo­ple bet­ter bal­ance work and life to give them the time and space nec­es­sary to recharge.

    Why Should HR Leaders Care about Mental Health and Wellness?

    The answer about why any leader should care about employ­ees’ well­ness seems obvi­ous. It’s the right thing to do. But it also relates to busi­ness out­comes. Poor men­tal health and well­ness among employ­ees can pose grave risks to an employ­er. These are the threats:

    • Decreased Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty – Peo­ple are not as inter­est­ed in get­ting the job done if their deal­ing with men­tal health issues.
    • Res­ig­na­tion – Men­tal health and well­ness is clear­ly con­nect­ed to job sat­is­fac­tion and well­be­ing. Peo­ple might quit if they are suffering.
    • Neg­a­tive Impact on the Bot­tom Line – If employ­ees are not pro­duc­tive or engaged, the com­pa­ny will not be as suc­cess­ful. If there is much turnover, the com­pa­ny will lose mon­ey in recruit­ing, hir­ing, train­ing, and patient­ly wait­ing for new hires to get up to speed. All these con­se­quences can influ­ence rev­enue and busi­ness outcomes.

    How Work Can Affect Employee Wellness

    Employ­ees spend a large amount of time work­ing. Tox­ic work­places obvi­ous­ly can dam­age one’s men­tal state, where­as a psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly safe envi­ron­ment can moti­vate peo­ple. Any­one expe­ri­enc­ing bul­ly­ing or harass­ment at work may feel more anx­i­ety or stress. That’s undoubt­ed­ly true. But hav­ing heavy work­loads, tight dead­lines, and oth­er stress­ful per­son­al sit­u­a­tions can lead to burnout. Poten­tial­ly, these fac­tors cut into the psy­cho­log­i­cal con­tract between employ­ee and employ­er. This is con­cern­ing to HR leaders.

    The Mayo Clin­ic says job burnout is a type of work-relat­ed stress that results in a state of phys­i­cal or emo­tion­al exhaus­tion that can influ­ence an employee’s self-worth and sense of iden­ti­ty. The pan­dem­ic and con­se­quen­tial labor short­age put burnout in the spot­light and forced employ­ers to con­front it. Now, HR lead­ers are work­ing to com­bat and pre­vent burnout as part of their over­all men­tal health and well­ness strategies.

    Tak­ing steps to reduce hours and work­loads, man­ag­ing expec­ta­tions, and train­ing man­agers to be bet­ter, more empa­thet­ic lead­ers are among the ways they are address­ing the prob­lem. HR Exchange Net­work rec­og­nized this new oblig­a­tion of Human Resources in its recent tal­ent man­age­ment report:

    Com­pa­nies that show they tru­ly care about the men­tal health and well­ness of their employ­ees will get noticed. Those who are flex­i­ble and under­stand­ing when peo­ple are hav­ing a tough time per­son­al­ly will win hearts. “Com­pa­nies need to switch their focus on engage­ment to expe­ri­ence. Maya Angelou said it the best, ‘Peo­ple for­get what you tell them. They don’t for­get how you make them feel,’ ” says Sebastien Girard, Chief Peo­ple Offi­cer at Cen­tu­ra Health.

    HR lead­ers are helm­ing efforts to address men­tal health and well­ness of employ­ees. They are con­fronting these issues to improve employ­ee engage­ment and expe­ri­ence and the work cul­ture. Employ­ers rec­og­nize the link between the men­tal health and well­ness of their employ­ees and the suc­cess of their business.

    In addi­tion, they real­ize this is the right thing to do, which is vital at a time when employ­er brand is of the utmost impor­tance, and every­one is try­ing to bet­ter main­tain work-life bal­ance. The pan­dem­ic was the spark for employ­ers giv­ing atten­tion to these issues, but the focus on help­ing employ­ees main­tain their men­tal health and well­ness will continue.

    By Francesca Di Meglio

    Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on HR Exchange Network

  • What Employees Want: Hybrid Work and Flexibility

    April 11, 2022

    Tags: , , , ,

    2021 was quit­tin’ time in Amer­i­ca.  Last year alone over 47.4 mil­lion Amer­i­cans quit their jobs. This year, employ­ees seem­ing­ly have the upper hand against employ­ers.  The Turnover Tsuna­mi, a.k.a. The Great Res­ig­na­tion, has forced a reck­on­ing with the work­place and few employ­ers have come away unscathed.  Orga­ni­za­tions are now shift­ing pri­or­i­ties to make employ­ee well-being and reten­tion the pri­or­i­ty.  The fact of the mat­ter is, after health insur­ance, the most desir­able perks and ben­e­fits are those that offer flex­i­bil­i­ty while improv­ing work/life bal­ance. So, what is it that employ­ees real­ly want to achieve a bet­ter work/life balance?

    • Hybrid Work – Work­ing remote­ly some days in the week and at a phys­i­cal office on others
    • Flex­i­bil­i­ty– Being able to occa­sion­al­ly shift hours that best fit an employee’s life

    Why Hybrid Work?

    In 2020, peo­ple had to change the way they worked overnight and turned their kitchen tables into a ful­ly func­tion­ing office.  Many employ­ees dis­cov­ered they were more pro­duc­tive at home.  On the oth­er hand, some miss the social nature of the office and work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly in per­son.  Because of these mixed perks of in office vs. work­ing at home, hybrid work can offer the best of both worlds.

    Accord­ing to a sur­vey by the Inter­na­tion­al Work­place Group, 72% of office work­ers would pre­fer a hybrid way of work­ing to a full-time return to the office – even if revert­ing to Mon­day – Fri­day rou­tine meant earn­ing more money.

    Why Flex­i­ble Work?

    When the work­force went home because of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, it caused a change in the expec­ta­tions of employ­ees and there­fore the way com­pa­nies approach their work envi­ron­ments.  The pan­dem­ic prompt­ed job seek­ers to seek flex­i­bil­i­ty that allows them some lev­el of con­trol of their time.  Gene Lan­zoni at Guardian said “Time is the most impor­tant ben­e­fit an employ­er can pro­vide.  For many of us the pan­dem­ic afford­ed us more time, and we’re real­ly not will­ing to give that back.  We had a taste of a more bal­anced life.”

    Bal­ance has nev­er been more impor­tant.  60% of fam­i­lies with chil­dren have both par­ents work­ing and for these fam­i­lies, being able to work from home with flex­i­bil­i­ty is non­nego­tiable. Flex­i­bil­i­ty can allow care­givers to log off from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. and then come back and do some work after the kids are in bed.  When employ­ees have more con­trol of their work sched­ules, they can free up time to take care of things that pop up in their per­son­al lives – whether it’s run­ning an errand, tak­ing a child to the den­tist, or being home for a delivery.

    In the end, a flex­i­ble sched­ule con­tributes to a high­er qual­i­ty of life.  Employ­ees don’t have to put their careers on hold to focus on their fam­i­lies or edu­ca­tion.  This free­dom is more valu­able in the long run than a paycheck.

    Work­er reten­tion is more impor­tant than ever in 2022.  Build­ing a good work­place cul­ture based on the cur­rent inter­ests of employ­ees plays a sig­nif­i­cant role for the suc­cess of the com­pa­ny.  Busi­ness­es now live in an employ­ee-dri­ven job mar­ket.  It is essen­tial that as an employ­er you know what ben­e­fits your employ­ees val­ue to keep them hap­py, healthy and work­ing for you.

  • What Employees Want: Well-Being Programs

    February 16, 2022

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    Work­place well­ness pro­grams have increased in the past sev­er­al years to pro­mote healthy diets and lifestyle, exer­cise and oth­er behav­iors such as quit­ting smok­ing.  As of 2020, most employ­ers had well­ness pro­grams of some kind, includ­ing 53% of small firms (those with 3–200 employ­ees) and 81% of large com­pa­nies.  Since employ­ees spend most of their wak­ing hours on the job, well­ness pro­grams seem to be a nat­ur­al fit to try to pro­mote healthy changes in behav­ior.  But, in 2022, employ­ees want more; many work­ers are look­ing for employ­ers who show authen­tic con­cern for their well-being.

    Well-being is about how our lives are going.  It’s not only about health and hap­pi­ness but also about liv­ing life to its fullest poten­tial.  In fact, data shows that employ­ees of all gen­er­a­tions rank “the orga­ni­za­tion cares about the employ­ees’ well-being” in their top three criteria.

    Finan­cial stress soared dur­ing the pan­dem­ic but so did reg­u­lar stress, too.  Men­tal health strug­gles such as anx­i­ety, depres­sion, and sub­stance abuse are also climb­ing.  These are expen­sive issues to ignore both in terms of the human suf­fer­ing but also the company’s bot­tom line: Depres­sion alone costs an esti­mat­ed $210.5 bil­lion per year.  These costs are due to absen­teeism (missed work days) and pre­sen­teeism (reduced pro­duc­tiv­i­ty at work) as well as direct med­ical costs (out­pa­tient and inpa­tient med­ical ser­vices and phar­ma­cy costs).

    Employ­ers must rec­og­nize the inter­re­la­tion­ship between the phys­i­cal, finan­cial, work and well-being com­po­nents of employ­ees’ lives.  For exam­ple, employ­ees who need help with their finan­cial well-being are sig­nif­i­cant­ly less like­ly to be phys­i­cal­ly healthy and more like­ly to report feel­ing stressed or anx­ious which can impact pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and job per­for­mance.  Vice Pres­i­dent for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Fideli­ty Invest­ments in Boston, Mike Sham­rell,  rec­og­nizes the need for all dimen­sions of well­ness.  “It’s tough to be well in one area when you’re unwell in anoth­er,” he said.

    Well-being is often asso­ci­at­ed with gym mem­ber­ships and green smooth­ies but it is much more than that; it is a result of many dif­fer­ent aspects of one’s life.  Here are 5 com­mon dimen­sions of well-being that can be addressed through a work­place well­ness program:

    • Emotional/Mental Health – Under­stand­ing your feel­ings and cop­ing with stress.
    • Phys­i­cal Health – Dis­cov­er­ing how self-care can improve your life and productivity.
    • Finan­cial Health – Suc­cess­ful­ly man­ag­ing your money.
    • Social Con­nect­ed­ness – Cre­at­ing and being a part of a sup­port network.
    • Occu­pa­tion­al Well-Being– Feel­ing appre­ci­at­ed at work and sat­is­fied in your contributions.

    Great employ­ees want great employ­ers.  Com­pa­nies that want cre­ative, high-per­form­ing teams must be will­ing to sup­port work­ers both in and out of the office.  Well-being has a major influ­ence on an employee’s per­for­mance and sat­is­fac­tion; employ­ees who feel val­ued and appre­ci­at­ed are more invest­ed in their com­pa­ny in return.

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