Common Mistakes in Workplace Well-being

1: Wellness benefits don’t match employee needs

Each employee walks into the workplace with different needs, struggles, and perspectives. For wellness benefits to work, there can’t be a one size fit’s all approach. To engage more of your workforce, there needs to be a variety of content and delivery formats, designed with company demographic and employee personas in mind. 

Historically, there is very low utiliazation rate for wellness benefits: the average utilization rate is less than 10 percent. This is a result of employees not viewing the benefits as useful, applicable to their lives and/or distrusting the source.

2. Wellness benefits only address employee health outside work

Many corporate wellness programmes, put the onus on the individual to use apps and resources out of office hours. Whether companies mean to or not, this sends a clear message: Wellness is a way to counteract the stressful effects of work, not a way to feel well at the virtual or physical office. 

3: Leadership don’t have the right promotional tools or capability

Managers need ongoing education and guidance. The average manager is not equipped to support an employee who discloses a mental health symptom.  Their job is not to diagnose, but they need to be equipped to respond to someone or even to identify a person who might be experiencing a mental health crisis.

Mangers need training on the benefits that are provided by the company and to be kept updated. They need resources and promotional tools, to help them communicate the benefits on offer, easily.

Managers also need backup from executives. For example to approve an employee’s request for flexible working or to schedule a mental health day. Ideally managers will be setting a good example, by looking after their own health and respecting employee boundaries, by not emailing at inappropriate times, when employees are not at work. However they need support to from executives to be able to roll this out.

4. Benefits are not communicated effectively

The best employee benefits still fall flat if they are not communicated effectively. Employees need to stay in the loop and be made aware of the value to them personally. This needs an ongoing and personalised approach. If employees are unaware of benefits it is a downward spiral to decreased engagement, reduced employee retention and loss of top talent.

5. A genuine culture of well-being isn’t established

For all employees to engage in well-being they need to understand that it is encouraged by their employer. Wellness needs to be in embedded into the fabric of organisational culture, not just ticking boxes. Content needs to meet employees wherever they are in their well-being journey and reach them wherever they are most receptive. For example this could be on-site, in-app, in webinars or CPD. There needs to be a constant stream of communication that addresses the barriers to establishing healthy habits and routines. These barriers are different for every individual, it could be time constraint, confidence, injury or illness that is holding your people back. Once a routine is established setbacks are natural and also need to be addressed so that motivation continues.

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