Historically, employee benefit programs focused on comprehensive medical, dental, and vision programs. Employees believed the best programs had low premiums, covered a lot of services, and low cost of services at the providers. These benefit offerings matched our views on health. We focused on reactive health measures that address medical issues after they presented, not necessarily holistic well-being. Now, there’s a shift in society to focus on preventative and proactive health practices. Especially with healthcare legislation like the ACA mandating credible healthcare coverage that includes preventative care. We place a lot more importance on healthier lifestyles to prevent disease or illness. A healthier lifestyle includes getting more active and being more conscientious about what we’re eating. Organizations have taken notice of this trend and are adjusting their benefits programs. They’re cutting back on expensive Cadillac health plans and offering affordable high-deductible plans. The cost savings are going into other offerings that focus on the wellness of employees whole-self. These are just a few areas you can focus on to create a benefits program that focuses on your employees’ holistic well-being.
We spend a third of our time at work, a lot more for others. Overworking employees can lead to burnout, which has significant impacts on productivity, professional relationships, and the bottom line. This can then extend into their personal lives to possibly severe consequences. It’s key to create a workplace that supports mental health. Most employee assistance programs (EAP) provide support for employees’ mental health at no cost. Ensure the program is being widely promoted and communicated to all levels within the organization. Also, look for signs of burnout and be proactive about addressing workloads.
Finances are the number one stressor and source of anxiety for people. There’s an opportunity for employers to help by providing financial planning resources. ERISA mandates fiduciary responsibilities. So, 401(k) administrators provide a wealth of financial planning resources. Have your administrator provide financial advising sessions or workshops for your employees.
Humans are social beings by nature. We look for social interaction and relationships in various aspects of our lives. Organizations can create healthy workplaces by building a supportive and inclusive culture. Which is more than just forced after-hours social hours or open office spaces. Also, family, medical, and personal leave policies support healthy relationships outside the office.
Continuous learning has far-reaching benefits. It keeps your talent on top of emerging trends, new methods, and innovative solutions. Your employees bring that knowledge into the workplace to increase effectiveness and performance. Support employees’ intellectual wellness through robust training programs that are accessible to employees at all levels. Also look at providing tuition programs and funding conferences, which provide even more benefits.
The benefits of physical wellness are pretty self-explanatory. Physical health will improve other aspects of life as well, including mental and social well-being. Some organizations are putting gyms in their buildings but that’s not an option for all. You can also subsidize or cover the full cost of your employees’ gym membership. If your organization is looking to redesign the office, think about placing kitchens and bathrooms in central locations that promote movement. Also, look to promote the use of stairs by putting them at the forefront, not the elevators. Consider healthier food alternatives to pizza lunches. Or healthier snacks in the kitchen versus only having chips and candy.
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