Article: Wellness-driven productivity: Strengthening employee assistance programs

Corporate Wellness Programs

Wellness-driven productivity: Strengthening employee assistance programs

HR leaders from diverse industries explain how to balance employee expectations and increase usage when designing EAPs.
Wellness-driven productivity: Strengthening employee assistance programs

Employee wellbeing is at a record low level globally despite increased attention and investment. India Inc. is also experiencing this paradox as there is a drop in employee well-being levels. Organisations are increasingly realising that employee well-being is not only a good-to-have benchmark but directly impacts the bottom line and the overall productivity of the organisation.

As the understanding of the interconnectedness between these two aspects deepens, it becomes clear that fostering a positive and supportive work environment is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic necessity.

With a growing emphasis on the mental and emotional health of the workforce, there is a pressing need to manage employee expectations effectively. In navigating this landscape, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have emerged as valuable tools, offering a structured approach to addressing the diverse needs of employees. 

To delve into the question of why employee well-being is abysmally low and how it can be corrected. MediBuddy and People Matters organised a series of roundtable discussions with HR experts and industry leaders where they shared their insights on the topic ‘Wellness-Driven Productivity: Strategies to Improve Employee Experience’.  

In the following article, we will delve into the reasons why organisations should prioritise employee well-being, manage expectations, and provide EAPs to ensure a harmonious and productive work environment.

Tackle fundamentals first

Before designing and implementing sweeping rewards with complex structures or tiered participation, ensure you first target all basic human needs. This includes security (job security), belongingness (social connections), and validation (rewards and recognition). People respond positively when wellness programs appeal to these fundamental needs and expectations. 

Listen closely: Allowing people to voice their concerns, bring their authentic selves to the workplace, and step away from work when needed can make people feel more invested in wellness initiatives. Ensure you have formal and informal listening mechanisms that give reliable feedback across all levels. 

Pay attention to leaders and managers: Middle managers and leaders are the true face of these programs; without adequate training, sensitisation, and communication, leaders in the organisation will find themselves at the bottom of all leaderboards, as saddling them with yet another responsibility will take its toll. 

Develop employee personas: Creating unique cohorts and employee personas can make ideating relevant benefits and employee assistant programs easier. In addition to conventional personas like parents, soon-to-retire, and freshers, try to decode other elements such as caregivers or pet owners to understand their expectations fully. 

How to increase EAP adoption

Here are some ways in which organisations can ensure higher adoption and usage of EAPs through better targeting and delivery: 

Make program integrations seamless

Well-being programs should not be invasive of individual space and fit seamlessly into everyday work routines. For example, when offering mental health assistance to employees, provide in-house or immediate counselling services rather than a list of approved psychologists people can contact. 

Use technology for higher adoption 

A single place to learn about different initiatives, activate them, and check progress can make it easier for people to participate in programs. An integrated dashboard or application that allows people to top-up insurance limits digitally, track completion of fitness goals, volunteer for an upcoming ERG event, or acknowledge the progress others are making is indispensable for higher adoption levels. 

Create feedback-driven programs

Use existing sources to gather comprehensive wellness data about your employees, their preferences and needs. Then, introduce new data points to measure the effectiveness of new programs or changes and keep this cycle going. Try to capture quantitative data (like the number of steps taken) and qualitative data (like individual success stories) for effectively targeting employees with hyper-personalised benefits, motivators and feedback.

Focus on building awareness

When introducing a new program initiative or revising existing programs, emphasise communicating the unique or particular aspects of the change. This awareness-building step is crucial in nudging people toward taking meaningful action. Consistent communication outreach can convey a program's benefit's importance or limited nature, enhance exclusivity, and provide the right motivation.

Nurture program ambassadors

While employee resource groups are pivotal in driving wellness initiatives and increasing participation, supporting individuals with the proper knowledge, skills, or motivation to become ambassadors can have a cascading effect on the entire team. This simple approach, which comes without additional cost, is practical in building interest, clarifying doubts, and gathering authentic participant feedback.

Reward accomplishments

Whether as part of the overall work performance or in isolation, it’s crucial to celebrate individual successes and reward wellness accomplishments. While many organisations have a redeemable points-based system that awards different achievements, others offer fixed rewards for specific goals and results.


HR and business leaders must double down on providing a valuable well-being journey that helps people become better versions of themselves in and outside the workplace. Employers can keep up with changing employee expectations and trends through hyper-personalisation of program offerings and data-driven feedback-based continuous improvement. However, addressing the basic tenets of wellness, i.e., a healthy workplace culture, job security, physical safety, financial well-being, mental wellness and meaningfulness, is the non-negotiable first step organisations must take in this process.

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Topics: Corporate Wellness Programs, Culture, #Wellbeing

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