Jan. 11, 2021, DENVER — As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces are at a crossroads of how to create workplaces where people want to work and stay and advance. Less than one in five employees say that their employer supports their physical and mental health, and many are left feeling burned out from workplaces that don’t support, sustain or restore their well-being. An unhealthy workplace environment can lead to higher turnover, lower productivity, and an unhealthy, unstable and unreliable workforce. Here are some holistic ways to put your employees and their well-being first in 2022:
1. Do more than listen. Take action.
Holding a quarterly all-staff meeting is a nice effort, but what do you do with the feedback you receive? Taking action on what you learn from your team demonstrates that you value their input and satisfaction with their workplace. Identify areas of opportunities to improve the employee experience, make a plan and communicate your plan to employees so they’re aware of the progress the company is making and can hold you accountable.
2. Commit to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB)
Organizations that prioritize, educate themselves, and implement diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) policies are a key differentiator in what creates the employee experience. Eighty-three percent of employees that have DEIB practices say they feel a sense of belonging at their organization.
3. Implement consistent, predictable and stable work schedules
A recent study found that stable scheduling increases productivity and sales, benefiting both the workers and the businesses that employ them. Employees whose schedules fluctuate often experience a lack of flexibility and impacts on their work-life balance as they are not able to plan for doctor’s appointments, organize childcare arrangements or make time for other life necessities. Providing flexibility and stability in scheduling gives employees the time, space, and ability to navigate the unexpected.
4. Evaluate your benefit options
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is no longer operating as “business as usual.” As such, benefits that suited your team three years ago may no longer adequately fit their needs of today. What’s more, is the onset of the pandemic has transformed the status-quo for benefits with more and more options and offerings now available for workers. It is important to keep in mind that each of your employees is unique and shows up differently in the workplace, and a one-size-fits-all benefits solution is no longer a relevant business strategy. Seek out benefits that consider the social determinants of your employees, like their particular communities, access to health care, quality of education and more.
5. Educate and remind your employees of the benefits you offer
A one-time onboarding session might not drive home the value of the benefits you offer, and how accessing them can improve your employee’s quality of life. Consider giving employees regular reminders to take advantage of their benefits. People learn in different ways, so try sending emails or texts, posting information in break rooms, and having supervisors explain an underused benefit in a staff meeting. Offer your employees a small reward for referring coworkers and disseminate periodic employee surveys to find out which benefits they know about, which they’ve used, and how helpful they found them.
6. Embrace the hybrid model
While there are many kinds of workplaces where hybrid work is not possible, for those that can, embrace the hybrid workplace and make sure your benefits are ready for a hybrid environment. According to Qualtrics – 2022 Employee Experience Trends Report, employees are going to be demanding better physical and digital workspaces in the coming year. In fact, employees that are happy with their company technology are more engaged at work. There seems to be a gap between what organizations think they’re delivering and what employees actually want when it comes to hybrid work enablement. For example, 93 percent of employees feel their physical workspace allows them to be more productive. The employee experience is connected to the digital experience.
7. Provide meaningful, holistic employee support
Valued employees value their workplace. WorkLife Partnership is a benefit provider and nonprofit organization that helps companies raise the standards of their employee’s well-being by connecting them one-on-one with a Resource Navigator who can assist them with real-life challenges. For example, a Resource Navigator can help an employee find or maintain affordable housing, interpret a medical bill, or research and secure child or elder care. WorkLife partners with national employers like Starbucks, FirstBank, American Furniture Warehouse and Hamra Enterprises, which operates three restaurant brands and one hotel brand in nine states.
In 2021, 75 percent of employees supported by WorkLife Resource Navigators say they’re more likely to stay at their current employer because a Navigator is available. Plus, 91 percent reported they feel good about working for a company that offers the Resource Navigator service. Businesses that work with WorkLife find that when they give their employees access to the kind of compassionate human support and invaluable resources that WorkLife provides, employees see their employer as caring and feel good about where they work. And because we help employees solve exactly the kinds of challenges—with health coverage, childcare, transportation, housing, financial health, mental health, and much more—that can be barriers to work, WorkLife Navigators reduce turnover so you can hire less.
About WorkLife Partnership: WorkLife Partnership, founded in 2009, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to economic equity and thriving workplaces across the country. WorkLife deploys its Resource Navigator benefit inside of businesses to provide personalized, immediate, one-on-one assistance when workers need it most. WorkLife Resource Navigators minimize work disruptions, decrease absenteeism, improve workers’ financial stability and ultimately increase employee retention and engagement. Currently, more than 65,000 employees across 36 employers are eligible to receive support from WorkLife, and 91 percent of those surveyed by WorkLife said that they felt good working for a company that offers this benefit. WorkLife is guided by its vision that prosperity is possible for everyone through work.