Article: 4 ways to empower employees to be critical stakeholders in your wellness programs

A Brand Reachout InitiativeCorporate Wellness Programs

4 ways to empower employees to be critical stakeholders in your wellness programs

Empowering employees to take charge of their well-being and making them important stakeholders in wellness programs have multi-faceted benefits. We explore ways companies can do so.
4 ways to empower employees to be critical stakeholders in your wellness programs

The pandemic highlighted the wellness agenda, as employees and employers both realized the importance of maintaining one's well-being holistically. In the new era of remote and hybrid working, concepts such as 'employee burnout' and mental well-being became more than just buzzwords as people and organizations strove to navigate the new world of work amidst uncertainty. With the aid of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, wellness was brought closer to the people and made more digital and thus more personalized and accessible. Still, organizations need help with fundamentals such as adoption and usage across stakeholders such as employees, managers, and leaders. 

Wellness as a core component of the employee experience

The future of organizations will be about taking an employee-centric approach to designing the workforce and workplace. Especially in a remote-first or hybrid environment with a disproportionately high focus on outcomes, a key differentiator to attracting, engaging and retaining talent will be prioritizing the employee's holistic well-being. Enabling and empowering employees to get their entire selves to work and deliver value will prove critical to productivity. Hence, employers must focus on understanding what holistic healthcare and well-being mean to employees to deliver sustained wellness results. This includes not just physical well-being but also mental-emotional and social well-being.

 In India, 44% of employees feel that their employers must be transparent about their efforts to protect health and safety. This area requires greater alignment between employer initiative and employee experience. – PwC Hopes and Fears 2022 report

Hence, building a benefits bag with wellness and well-being as critical components is a top-of-mind business priority for CHROs and CXOs. However, more important is to ensure communication of the available options and create access wherein employees can genuinely feel they benefit from this benefits bouquet. 

How to empower employees to benefit from wellness? 

  • Create easy access to wellness technology: A simple, intuitive, easy-to-use digital wellness platform will break the adoption barrier by encouraging employees to explore the system and avail the available benefits. Design the wellness platform keeping the employee at the centre, keeping the process, sign-up, guidelines, and activities as simple and easy as possible. At the same time, ensure offline access is available too. Giving people 24*7 access to high-quality healthcare is the bare basics of wellness program design.  
  • Customize to employee segments' needs: With a diverse and distributed workforce with various demographics, it is essential that employees feel the 'What's in it for Me' to suit their needs. Use AI and ML to analyze employee data, understand what different segments genuinely want and need, and customize the wellness offerings to meet their specific requirements. Wellness should touch upon all facets-physical, mental, financial, social, and spiritual. Only when employees feel they can benefit from the wellness programs will they own it up proactively. 
  • Communicate and involve stakeholders: Communicate clearly, concisely, and continuously through a well-planned campaign. Create a sense of ownership by assigning wellness coordinators across levels and departments, not just limiting them to the HR team. For example, appointing a senior leader as a 'wellness champion' is a great way to evoke inspiration and participation. Leadership walking the talk on wellness is an excellent enabler for wellness adoption. 
  • Reward and recognize adoption: The single biggest challenge is driving the adoption of wellness programs on the desired scale. Incentivizing adoption and usage through financial and non-financial programs can help create an initial buzz and get traction. Financially-focused rewards can include bonuses, gifts, or reduced monthly insurance premium costs. Gamifying participation, such as steps-challenges or triathlon team competitions, can generate collective interest and drive engagement. Fitness-related incentives like free gym memberships or workout apparel or gear can also help motivate participation. An initial push mechanism will help create a pull to wellness over time. 

Cultivating a Culture of Wellness

True wellness success stems from making wellness a way of life for all stakeholders and not just an ad-hoc initiative. A culture of well-being can help create a solid and safe psychological contract between employees and employers, thereby aiding retention. Employees already do understand the importance of wellness post the pandemic: 

The key to wholeheartedly embracing it for immediate and future health needs is to integrate it into peoples' day-to-day work and life effortlessly. To create a permanently sustained behaviour change in terms of cultivating healthy habits and healthy living in one's workforce, organizations must also ensure continued investment, both resource-wise and commitment-wise. This is possible only when HR measures the wellness outcomes and highlights the business value to the CXO suite. Wellness professionals must, therefore, define the desired wellness metrics and use HR analytics to showcase continuous traction to leaders, managers and employees. At the core, leaders must understand and accept that wellness improvement is not possible overnight but demands a long-term 360 degrees outlook. 

 

References

1.https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/the-next-normal/wellness 

2. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221028005280/en/2022-Report-on-the-World-of-Wellness-Exploring-Trends-that-are-Here-to-Stay---ResearchAndMarkets.com 

3. https://www.pwc.in/assets/pdfs/hopes-and-fears/india-workforcehopes-and-fearssurvey-2022.pdf 

4. https://www.pwc.in/consulting/transformation/hr-transformation/yesterday-today-tomorrow.html 

5. https://www.ey.com/en_gl/workforce/work-reimagined-survey

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Topics: Corporate Wellness Programs, #EmployeeExperience, #Wellness First With MediBuddy

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