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3 Ways to Improve Employee Well-Being Benefits (& Retention)

April 13, 2022
By Pivot
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LinkedIn’s chief economist Karin Kimbrough recently told CBS News that one person is hired every 15 seconds – an eye-opening statistic, to say the least. That’s faster than many people can even read a job description from top to bottom. Employers are clearly desperate to rebuild their workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic resignations that have occurred, a time beginning in early 2021 that’s been referred to as the Great Resignation.

During this time, many people – including four million in July 2021 alone – quit their jobs, the majority of them mid-career professionals between the ages of 30 and 45. Among the hardest-hit industries? High-tech and healthcare, though virtually no industry has been left unscathed.

There could be a multitude of reasons why employees call it quits, and employers oftentimes don’t have a lot of control over those decisions. Sometimes there’s nothing an employer can do, for example, when an employee wants to live in a different—more affordable—city or decides to switch careers entirely. However, there are things that employers can control and provide to their workforce that might incentivize them to stay.

Offering comprehensive employee well-being benefits is one of them.

The importance of workplace well-being benefits

Let’s face it. No employee wants to work for an employer that doesn’t value them and their contributions. A competitive salary is paramount; however, these days, people are also looking for more. They want to know that their employer has their best interests in mind.

They want to feel cared for and appreciated. This is where well-being benefits play an important role. For example, companies can provide tobacco cessation programs, ergonomic equipment to ease workplace stress, discounts to local gyms, free subscriptions to mindfulness apps, and so much more.

Benefits of employee well-being

When employees see that you want to do things that encourage a better version of themselves – including helping them quit smoking – and live a healthier lifestyle overall, that can be a huge employee retention builder. Why? It shows you care about them not just during business hours but during all their hours outside of work as well and as people.

Healthier, happier employees also benefit employers directly, and it’s not just about retention. Focusing on employee wellbeing can also lead to reduced healthcare costs, higher engagement, improved productivity, reduced absenteeism, easier recruiting, and more.

Why employee well-being benefits are a requirement

For today’s job seekers, well-being benefits are no longer a ‘nice to have.’ They’re a ‘must-have,’ and most applicants will assume your company offers some type of benefits to help them lead a happier, healthier life. In fact, six out of 10 employees say well-being benefits are a top priority when applying for a new job.

Enhancing individual and family life experiences

Well-being has expanded beyond focusing on the individual employee to the include entire family unit. For example, it might include educational resources for working parents on how to manage homeschooling or additional tools and benefits that help employees enhance their family life experience.

This could include onsite childcare, cinema tickets, or family restaurant vouchers. There are many ways in which employers can support their employees with families. It’s all about being creative and thinking outside the box.

3 ways to improve employee well-being

Increasingly, employers are moving away from a one-size-fits-all benefit solution to a personalized approach that includes well-being benefits for all workers. Consider these steps to enhance the well-being of your employees:

  1. Build a ‘culture of care.’ This includes providing a full range of inclusive well-being benefits for each member of your workforce. It also includes steps to destigmatize certain topics (e.g., mental health or smoking) so employees feel comfortable seeking help when needed.
  2. Be clear about the health and wellness benefits you offer and how employees can take advantage of them. If people don’t know about their well-being benefits, they won’t use them—and you may not see a return on investment in terms of employee retention.
  3. Conduct employee wellness surveys. This could be an annual survey as well as various pulse surveys throughout the year to better gauge employee sentiment. Where are the gaps and opportunities?For example, ask employees whether they use tobacco. If so, would a tobacco cessation program be helpful? Similarly, are they interested in saving more money or preparing for retirement? If so, would financial resources be helpful? Use this survey to gain valuable insights on how you can improve the health and well-being of your employees.

Employee wellbeing benefits are critical to retaining a talented workforce, and sought-after benefits like tobacco cessation may be one of many that make sense for your workforce.

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