What to include in an effective employee wellbeing program

A woman in a bright orange tank top does yoga. A dog lays on his back watching her curiously.
  • Date posted

    Jan 20, 2023

Employee wellbeing programs are now the norm—and an expectation among workers.

Today, an overwhelming number of companies include an employee wellbeing strategy in their organizational planning. But what should a successful wellbeing program include? And how do you prioritize which features to add and what you should leave out?

In this blog, we outline our top tips for creating effective, engaging employee wellbeing programs that deliver results.

Start your wellbeing program with employee feedback

When developing an employee wellbeing strategy, it’s easy to get lost in such a large project. Before getting too far into the process, consider the ways you can leverage feedback from your people.

Ask for their feedback early in the process to make sure your wellbeing program addresses the top priorities of your population. This helps set you up with an employee wellbeing strategy that’s truly effective and engaging.

Company-wide surveys are a great way to check in with your workforce. You can also empower managers to ask for employee feedback in their one-on-one meetings.

Consider all aspects of employee wellbeing

The best, and most effective, employee wellbeing programs go beyond one or two areas of wellbeing. When helping a client build their employee wellbeing strategy, our team recommends a holistic, people-first approach. That means considering all the areas of wellbeing that make your people healthy, happy, and whole—then offering resources to support each of these areas.

This helps improve employee health across the board, rather than focusing on just one aspect. That might seem like a lot to consider, which is why we broke it down into our 8 Pillars of Wellbeing:

  1. Balance

    Provide resources that help employees find balance and decrease the risk of burnout. This could look like flexible working hours or a generous time off policy. For example, in addition to paid time off (PTO), Navigate encourages our employees to log off for three hours every week. This time is separate from PTO and is designed to help employees focus on their personal wellbeing.
  2. Community

    Encourage wellbeing at work by offering flexibility for community involvement or volunteering. Why does community involvement matter for the workplace? A 2017 Deloitte study found that 89% of employees believe companies that organize volunteer activities offer better work environments than those that don’t.
  3. Financial

    Conversations around financial health can be uncomfortable, but providing financial resources for employees can help them manage financial stress, pay off debt, and save more effectively. Trusted experts, like our partners at Your Money Line, are perfect for providing employees with more financial education, resources, and peace of mind.
  4. Mindfulness

    Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness influences two different stress pathways in the brain, changing brain structures and improving attention and emotional regulation. Mindfulness can be especially effective for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
  5. Nutrition

    Nutrition is an important part of physical health. Adjusting physical diets can be challenging, but learning how to incorporate healthy habits in a scalable and achievable way can help employees make changes that last.
  6. Physical

    Encouraging physical activity not only improves biometrics and other health outcomes. According to the CDC, physical wellbeing programs can increase employee productivity, reduce absenteeism, increase employee morale, and help employers attract and retain high-quality employees.
  7. Purpose

    Helping employees connect to their purpose creates more productivity and happiness. Some people find their purpose or calling in their job, while others feel called towards external joys, like parenting or volunteering in the community. It’s important to help employees discover their purpose and act on those passions.
  8. Social

    It’s essential that employees feel connected to others on their team. Studies have shown that employees who feel more socially connected at work are happier, less stressed, and have more loyalty for their company.

Struggling in even one of these areas of wellbeing can lead to an unhealthy chain reaction. Luckily, the same can be said for when we show improvements in one area of wellbeing.

With a holistic wellbeing program, employers can provide personalized paths to wellbeing for each employee. This can lead to positive results like increased productivity, reduced levels of burnout, lower healthcare costs from chronic physical conditions, and more.

Address social determinants of health

When building a wellbeing program, it’s important to understand how each employee’s personal experience impacts their wellbeing at work and beyond.

Social determinants of health look different for everyone. They are the conditions where we live, learn, work, and play that affect our overall health and quality of life. And while many of these determinants seem outside of an employer’s control, team leaders are actually in a unique position to provide meaningful support.

When considering a wellbeing solution, seek out features that can make an employee’s work experience more accessible. For example, Navigate recently partnered with America’s leading social care network, findhelp. This partnership connects 1.7 million Navigate users with a network of free and local programs designed to address social determinants of health—all at zero cost.

Set employee wellbeing program goals and objectives

There’s a lot to consider in an employee wellbeing strategy, especially a top-notch program that considers the whole employee. That's why it’s important to set goals and monitor your progress before, during, and after launching an employee wellbeing program.

With a thoughtful and holistic wellbeing program, you can improve employee health to lower healthcare costs, reduce absenteeism, increase retention, and more. Regardless of what you would like to achieve, it’s important to set smart goals and revisit them throughout the life of your program. Our Navigate account managers are experts at helping clients meet their goals and provide helpful recommendations along the way.

Bring all the aspects of your wellbeing strategy under one roof with a single, easy-to-use platform. Chat with one of our wellbeing experts to learn more.

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