The Employee Experience: Why Engagement and Wellness Go Hand-in-Hand

Would it surprise you to learn that workers are more stressed than ever?

Research shows that today’s employees are experiencing an increasing amount of workplace stress. Nearly half of working adults say that their current job affects their overall health, but only 28 percent of those believe that effect is a good one.

Overall, work-related stress costs US companies $30 billion a year in lost productivity due to sick days and absenteeism. Increasing employee engagement and wellness programs are two initiatives that can help bring this number down. Read on, or for a deeper dive, download Talmetrix’s white paper on The Employee Experience: Why Engagement and Wellness Go Hand-in-Hand.

Wellness at Work

The problem is clear: stress severely impacts employees’ levels of productivity, happiness, and engagement. It’s not surprising then to see how many companies are creating and evolving wellness plans so that they can increase employees’ wellbeing, ability to cope with stress, and overall social, mental, and physical health.  

Wellness Programs that Look at the Whole Person

Historically, wellness programs often focused on cost-saving measures for employers. Today, the most effective wellness programs are those that can impact the whole employee, or the entire employee experience.

Factors that are often included in wellness plans include:

  •      Weight management support
  •      Nutrition counseling and/or education
  •      Exercise
  •      Gym access or membership
  •      Smoking cessation assistance
  •      Chronic disease management
  •      Aspects related to mental health

The most successful of these plans recognize employees only spend 20 to 60 percent of their waking hours at work, and so it’s their entire lifestyle that has to be supported through positive behavior change. Additionally, the most successful wellness plans are those that can be tailored and shaped for each individual. If a wellness initiative isn’t set up in a way where it can be relevant to each individual’s lifestyle, it’s not as likely to cultivate lasting behavior change or impact their level of engagement.

Wellness Programs Require More Than Just Education

For the employee-employer commitment to run deep, employees need to be equipped with the skills and tools to better manage all aspects of their health. That’s for when they are in the office, and for when they aren’t. Whether it’s stress resiliency skills or the ability to improve their personal effectiveness through improving their health, employers have the ability to help them adopt and sustain these positive behaviors. The cost to employers to not do so is far too great.

When employers are able to provide actionable tools and ongoing support for employees through their wellness plans, the benefits include:

Retention: Healthy employees like to stay with a company that supports their healthy behaviors. Research shows that companies with highly effective wellness programs have significantly lower voluntary attrition than those without.

Recruiting: Word travels when it comes to effective employee wellness programs—and it tends to attract employees that are…well, healthy. Who wouldn’t want to recruit employees that are more likely to be engaged and productive?

Improved safety: Research says that wellness plans directly support not just the entire employee experience, but they also support business priorities. This can be seen with Chevron, which has developed a wellness program focused on cardiovascular health and injury prevention. Chevron sees the benefit to their safety, citing how 60 to 70 percent of all its jobs are considered safety-sensitive. Since health and fitness is important for employees to perform, having healthier employees directly supports their ability to be safe and effective on the job.

Cost savings: J&J is another company that sees the tie between investing in employees’ health and the short- and long-term benefits it brings to the company. One added benefit: J&J’s leaders estimate wellness programs have saved the company $250 million on health care costs over a ten year period. The company also reports that they had a return of $2.71 on every dollar spent in the program.

Boost to engagement: Performance, morale, productivity, and absenteeism are all directly impacted by an employee’s health and well-being. It’s not surprising to learn, then, that there is also a strong tie between employee wellbeing and employee engagement. The healthier your employees are, the more likely your organizational culture will thrive overall.

Why Every Leader Should Make Improving the Employee Experience a Priority

Among HR and Benefits leaders, there’s a strong consensus on the elements of wellbeing that impact employee engagement. High stress can negatively impact employee engagement, and nearly all – 97-98 percent of leaders – believe this to be the case. All statistics are pointing to the fact that employees are stressed, and that it’s negatively impacting their work performance and culture. So now what?

Download our latest white paper, The Employee Experience: Why Engagement and Wellness Go Hand-in-Hand, to learn what leaders must do next to make improving the employee experience a priority. In the white paper, you’ll learn:

  •      Why (and how) emotions should be managed at work
  •      One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of wellness programs
  •      How to overcome the top engagement challenges faced by organizations today

Take steps to improve your employee experience. After downloading the white paper, reach out to Talmetrix to learn how measuring and improving your employee experience can improve business outcomes and help you reach your goals. To learn more about engagement, wellness, or attracting and retaining talent at your organization – contact us today.

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