Employers have been actively supporting employee well-being for many years – for many, it’s a fundamental part of their mission. But the challenge created by the COVID-19 pandemic is that employee needs are shifting and we need to shift our well-being programs along with them. Blurred lines between work and life are raising stress levels; the need for social distancing leaves many feeling isolated and lonely; the disruption of routines makes it hard to find the time and space to care for one’s well-being. And the uncertain length and destination of this journey will only compound these issues.
Confronted with statistics like the 34% increase in anti-anxiety prescriptions from mid-February to mid-March, employers are starting to think about new ways to bolster employee well-being in these challenging circumstances and safeguard employee engagement and productivity. While the four pillars of employee well-being haven’t changed, they need to be reimagined:
As some businesses return their employees to the physical worksite and turn their efforts to reinventing their business for success in a post-pandemic world, it may be easy to lose focus on employee well-being. Business leaders will want to guard against this. Now’s a great time to revisit your well-being strategy to ensure that you have solutions that support all segments of your workforce and your business. You might start with an inventory of current programs and then solicit feedback from your employees. Reviewing this qualitative data with quantitative data (e.g., health claims, engagement or risk data) will help you identify the unique needs of your workforce. From there you can develop a consumer-centric well-being strategy – but be sure to include a feedback loop with your employees to achieve the intended results and stay current.
Not only is taking care of your employees’ well-being the right thing to do, it also positively affects your bottom line. This Forbes article discusses a study that showed a link between high scores on the HERO Employee Health Management Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer and stock performance, as well as other studies linking employee well-being with improved financial performance. According to the author, “The robust investment in workforce health and well-being appears to be one of the practices pursued by high-performing, well-managed companies. The positive financial results for a company support the need for continuing to cultivate a well-being culture, and strategy that is embedded into the ethos of the organization.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.