What every employee wants from workplace wellness programs
Whether you are a company owner, manager, or HR staffer, there is a question that you should be asking yourself when it comes to business in 2018: is my company providing the wellness programs and other benefits that its employees want? When it comes to company perks, the luminary enterprises of the corporate world have really been pulling out all the stops over the past decade or so. They realize, like many employers around the world, that healthy employees make for happy employees, and keeping staff health and well will increase productivity in both the long and short term (not to mention lower company turnover and brain drain).
Of course, not every business is able to pop for the latest, greatest, and trendiest health and wellness benefits that the world has to offer. Nevertheless, it’s still important for the decision makers at the top of every company to consider the benefits they provide, and see where they can be improved to better cater to the workforces of both today and tomorrow. Here, Pacific Prime tackles the topic of what employees are looking for from the wellness programs their companies provide in 2018.
Recently, an article was published by Employee Benefit News that highlighted the ‘5 things every employee wants in a workplace wellness program’. Using this piece as a jumping off point, we will discuss each point and provide examples of companies that are doing well in providing each to their staff.
The article we are drawing upon touches on getting experts, coaches, and the like to provide a more personalized wellness experience for your company. They can work with people one-on-one to create individual wellness, health, and fitness plans to engage staff in the most direct and beneficial way possible.
However, having a personalized approach when it comes to wellness means more than just that. It also means a company communicating with all staff effectively to make sure that any benefits provided are useful, and that there are not benefits provided that employees have no interest in. Many employers will find after instituting wellness programs that more than half of their staff never actually makes use of any aspect of them. In order to avoid this, identifying the motivations, goals, and desires of staff, and supplying them with as many personalized options as possible, is of the utmost importance.
While this is far from a standard benefit for a company to provide its employees, Goldman Sachs has gone the extra mile to provide a highly personal perk to a small number of its team members. The company has been providing insurance coverage for gender reassignment surgery since 2008.
If you have ever undergone a personal transformation that involved a large change in your exercise, diet, or other lifestyle habits, you likely realize how important convenience is when it comes to make such a change last, and stick. Having to inconvenience oneself to go out of the way to hit the gym, spend an inordinate amount of time preparing special foods, or otherwise bend over backwards to work towards a goal is oftentimes the death knell of such an effort. The same is true when it comes to company wellness programs, so it’s important the companies do everything they can to remove barriers to staff participation.
For instance, if you have the space in your offices, turning a room into an on-site fitness center is bound to not only keep employees active, but impress any potential work candidates who walk through your doors.
Reebok is a company that does a fabulous job of making it convenient for staff to stay fit. Not only do they have an on-site gym at their offices, but they also hire Crossfit trainers to come in and lead sessions.
What would you say the biggest issue is with sticking to a wellness or fitness plan? For many, it is simply getting the motivation to start following it each day. Oftentimes employers depend on workers to self-motivate to get their job done, but employees often prioritize work over personal wellness, so giving them a little extra ‘oomph’ can go a long way to giving them the mental energy to shift their focus on health after a day in the office.
Motivation can come from the company in many forms. For example, employers can take note of exceptional results achieved by employees who made good use of wellness programs as a motivational example to provide to others. Beyond this, employers should be sure to have regular reminders of what perks provided by a wellness plan are available, and encourage the team to make use of them, lest they be removed once the plan is revisited at renewal time.
Genentech provides motivation for its workers to use their employee benefits by making the benefits highly practical. Perks like free childcare, haircuts, carwashes, and more are things that people would be doing on their own anyway, so why not use what the company is offering on-site?
While many companies have wellness programs that are heavily focused on physical fitness and wellbeing, the trend towards mental health support is growing steadily. The stigma surrounding mental health issues has been dissipating for years, and people are more willing than ever before to take advantage of company-provided mental health benefits.
What’s more, simply by providing said benefits, employees will realize that a company is interested in more than just keeping them healthy enough to attend work. Providing mental health benefits shows that a company is committed to employee happiness, and willing to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are not overly stressed, whether on the job or at home.
It doesn’t always take a counseling session with a therapist to foster mental health. Deloitte has created a situation where employees can literally get away from it all for a while to clear their heads, while still being confident that they’ll have a job to return to. This is because they offer one month and three-to-six month sabbaticals to staff that want to embark on opportunities for personal or professional growth. While they don’t receive full pay during these stints away from the office, the 40% pay provided is still quite generous.
Supportive company culture
Company culture may end up being the most important aspect of ensuring that employees engage with wellness programs. After all, companies can give staff access to all the perks in the world, but if they are then unwilling to enable staff to realistically make use of them, it ends up being a huge waste of time, money, and effort for everyone involved – and likely to cause quite a bit of aggravation among team members.
Remember that work-life balance is important, and people have families to go home to, a well as social lives outside of work, so monopolizing their time outside of work with wellness activities is not the way to go. As long as a company is genuinely interested in keeping employees physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, and effectively shows this to its staff, the staff will undoubtedly reward the support provided in kind.
Ikea is a good company to point to when it comes to fostering a supportive company culture. They provide parental leave of up to four months to all of their part-time and full-time employees, on top of providing great benefits and perks, like on-site showers, worker-only restaurants, quiet rooms, computer rooms, gyms, and more. Ikea employees have stated that they feel like working at Ikea is being part of a family. If that isn’t the sentiment of someone who feels supported, we don’t know what is.
Expanding your company’s wellness programs
How does your company stack up compared to some of the ones listed above? To be fair, the examples provided are exceptional in the steps they have taken to go above and beyond for their employees, but at the same time, this allows them to attract and cultivate exceptional employees.
If you want to explore the possibilities of how your company can expand its wellness programs, as well as other employee benefits, reach out to the helpful insurance professionals at Pacific Prime today! Our team is here to create customized employee benefits solutions based on your companies specific details. We work with a number of the world’s top insurance and employee benefits providers to find the very best solutions for you. Get in touch with us and you will quickly receive a plan comparison and price quotation free of charge. Contact us today!