Balance your wellbeing strategy with professional wellness

A middle-aged woman with glasses reviews professional wellness opportunities on her desktop computer in a home office.
  • Date posted

    Apr 10, 2023

  • Estimated reading time

    6.5 minutes

Human resource professionals are constantly being sold on new trends designed to make their problems disappear... But life and work are often more complicated than that.

Ping-pong tables, happy hours, office dogs, massage chairs—you name it, and a company has likely tried it. HR teams need engagement drivers that enrich all the areas of employee wellbeing.

Amazing perks are a great bonus, but they are not enough. In addition to these creative rewards, encourage investment in long-term solutions that are easy to commit to and won't add additional leg work.

The value of engaged employees is no secret. They’re often more productive, more creative, and more likely to stay with their company. Engagement is not only a productivity driver but also a valuable tool for combatting employee turnover.


The average amount U.S. businesses lose annually due to voluntary turnover.


Replacing one employee can cost one-half to two times their annual salary.

On average, voluntary turnover in the United States costs businesses $1 trillion. That means a 100-person organization with an average salary of $50,000 could experience turnover and replacement costs from $660,000 to $2.6 million per year.

This makes employee engagement strategies valuable cost-saving tools for businesses of all sizes across every industry. But what is one strategy that is often overlooked when it comes to employee retention and engagement? Career development.

Employees who feel like they are growing and developing in their careers are more likely to be engaged and motivated.


of HR managers said training is beneficial for employee attraction.


of HR managers said training is beneficial for employee retention.

Human resource professionals play a key role in creating an engaged workplace with paths for career growth. The following strategies can help human resource departments keep employees engaged with their career development. And keep those talented employees within the company.

1. Create unique paths for professional wellness

We’ve all heard of the concept of a career ladder. Employees need opportunities to learn and grow to stay engaged and motivated. However, this is often more complicated than it sounds.

More and more the concept of the career ladder is outdated. Today's companies are scaling quickly. Linear growth might not be what’s best for an employee's professional wellness or the company’s overall wellbeing. It’s time to take the rails off the side of the ladder and open more creative paths for growth.

Instead, try to focus on the overall employee experience and reframe the idea of upward mobility. Instead of constantly reaching for the top rung, encourage a mindset that helps build a firmly rooted foundation. One that supports and prepares employees to grow in multiple directions based on their personal goals and the opportunities that arrive.

Of course, there is still room for traditional upward growth, but a more flexible mindset allows for lateral moves as well. For example, helping a sales specialist transition into an account manager role.


of employees say it’s more or equally important now than before COVID-19 to develop skills outside their roles.

This is a big job that starts with individual development planning. Find out who people are, what they enjoy, and what they’re good at—and then meet them there. Provide them a path to grow that combines individual employee desires with the needs of the organization.

That means offering employees a seat at the table where they can learn. This is also an opportunity for managers to model the way forward for the next level of leaders.

This might sound daunting, but tools like personality assessments and your wellbeing program are there to help. For example, this year the Navigate team rolled out our NavgiateYOU personality assessment to all employees.

This new tool is fully integrated into our wellbeing program, so we can easily incorporate it with any existing initiatives. The results of this assessment will provide exciting insights into our employee workstyles, communication preferences, and more.

These insights will help us foster an even more inclusive culture, and they will guide conversations about professional wellness.

2. Establish psychological safety at work

The idea of supporting a positive culture and employee experience has always been top of mind for HR professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified for the rest of the world what was already a critical priority for many.

But fostering a culture that prioritizes psychological safety is easier said than done. It’s a job for those who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Creating a psychologically safe workplace is essential for any organization's success and overall employee wellbeing. Human resource leaders play a critical role in creating that environment. One where employees can share their concerns, ideas, and feedback without fear of being ridiculed or punished.

But this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent open communication, active listening, and empathy among team members.

Establishing psychological safety at work doesn't just benefit the employee. Workers who feel psychologically safe take more risks, learn new skills, and ultimately bring more innovation and value to their jobs.

This encourages career development, inspires more employee engagement, and helps workers feel valued by their company.

3. Provide training and mentoring opportunities

Does your workplace culture accommodate continuous learning? If the answer is “no” it’s time to make some changes. Continuous learning helps employees stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies, develop new skills, and improve their performance.

That’s where training and mentoring opportunities come into play. By providing regular training sessions and mentorship programs, human resource leaders can help employees develop new skills and knowledge.

This empowers them to take on new challenges and responsibilities within the organization—and ultimately grow within their careers.

Encouraging mentorship opportunities (in or outside of the organization) can also help employees receive guidance and feedback from more experienced individuals. This helps them to grow professionally and gain valuable insights into the organization or field they’re interested in.

What does this look like in practice? At Navigate, we offer training stipends for all of our employees. This allows them to explore professional development opportunities without funds standing in the way.


of employees would quit their job to work for a company that invests in employee development and learning.

If you’re not in a position to offer training or stipends, company committees can also help employees gain leadership experience. Our Navigate employees lead three committees: our Wellbeing and Social Committee, our DEI Committee, and our Women’s Health Initiative.

Each committee member gains valuable experience in leadership, which helps them excel in their careers. It also provides value to the company by fostering an engaged culture with diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at the core.

Regular one-on-one meetings are also an effective and low-cost way to support employee professional wellness. On-the-job training plans, coaching conversations, and cross-functional collaboration meetings can also achieve the same goal.

HR leaders can leverage a combination of these strategies to help employees feel more supported in their careers.

4. Reward employees with professional wellness incentives

Employees who are recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments are more likely to be engaged and motivated. But when it comes to recognition and rewards, career development might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

From creative lifestyle rewards to crowd-pleasing gift cards, there are many ways to recognize employees for a job well done. And while these are great, it is possible to move beyond material rewards with exciting career development opportunities, too.

Reward employees and encourage their development by funding conferences, workshops, and other learning opportunities, even if they fall outside of their current roles. This shows employees that the company is invested in their overall wellbeing—not just their professional growth.

Another way to use career development to recognize and reward employees is to provide them with opportunities for advancement. Promotions, compensation increases, or the opportunity to lead a project can all be exciting career opportunities. You can also consider transitioning them to another department if that is their goal.

When employees are given opportunities to grow and develop in their careers, they feel valued and appreciated. This ultimately leads to increased job satisfaction and employee engagement.

The employee engagement and professional wellness connection

Employee engagement and professional wellness are two sides of the same coin. When employees are engaged in their work, they are more likely to be interested in learning and growing. They are also more likely to be motivated to achieve their goals, which can lead to career advancement.

Your employees know your business best. Keeping your top talent challenged and engaged helps more than just employees. It also serves the company by sparking innovations from employees who are invested in your mission, culture, and values. This in turn benefits clients, who can feel the impact of working with a team that loves what they do.

This might sound like a lot to process. That’s why we recommend teaming up with a partner who can help.

Want to collaborate? Have a topic you'd like to learn about?