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Revealed – Survey Responses about Employee Wellness and Benefits

The connection between employee wellness and the benefits of the job might seem obvious. But the conversation should be more nuanced than merely a discussion about health insurance, access to mental healthcare like employee assistance programs (EAPs), and well-being apps to reach zen.

Indeed, Human Resources professionals must reconsider their definition of benefits. It must extend to all the pros of working at a company. This includes the compensation and benefits packages but also other benefits like the team vibe, how managers treat employees, the expectations of employees, the ability for work-life balance, etc.

The New Human Resources

Thinking about this link between wellness and benefits is a key differentiator between traditional approaches to HR and the transformational employee-centric approach of the here and now. In the wake of the pandemic and the arrival of Gen Z employees to the workforce, expectations of employment have changed. HR must put emphasis on empathetic leadership, collegiality, and support for the health and wellness of the team for both recruiting and retention purposes.

HR’s Desire to Support Employee Wellness

The will to support employee mental health and wellness is there. Dating back to the State of HR 2022, when HR leaders who responded to the HR Exchange Network survey made employee engagement the top priority, organizations have been clamoring to improve recruiting, engagement, and retention. The foundation for this crusade is focusing on employee wellness. After all, at the heart of these efforts is job satisfaction.

Many HR professionals have great intentions when considering a broader definition of benefits of a job. A whopping 98% of respondents to an HR Exchange Network LinkedIn poll say they consider the impact of schedules, compensation and benefits packages, and other work-life balance issues when supporting employee wellbeing.

Is HR Living Up to Its Ambition?

While most in HR say they want to help employees manage their mental health and wellness, they know employees might not have realized their efforts yet.

More than 75% – an overwhelming majority – of respondents to another HR Exchange Network LinkedIn poll said that the benefits most organizations offer do not truly address the mental health and wellness of employees. In addition, 78% in another poll on LinkedIn said employees were not satisfied with their salary and benefits packages.

Clearly, most in HR have more work to do when it comes to wellness and benefits. The first step would be to evaluate the company’s offerings. In 2022, respondents to the State of HR said the following were the top five benefits to offer or under consideration:

  1. Medical, dental, or vision insurance (55%)
  2. Wellness programs (53%)
  3. EAPs (45%)
  4. Mental health coaching (38%)
  5. Retirement savings (33%)

Worth noting, in the 2023 survey, 20% said they planned to invest in EAPs. In addition, the respondents of that survey shared their top priorities for addressing mental health and wellness:

  1. Creating a supportive environment for employees to talk about mental health concerns (40%)
  2. Implementing policies and procedures that address mental health in the workplace (37%)
  3. Providing accommodations for employees with mental health conditions (34%)
  4. Encouraging employees to take time off or seek medical attention (33%)
  5. Gyms/partnerships/fitness apps/fitness classes (27%)

Next Steps

Transformation requires effort and can be slow. Human Resources realizes that employees expect employers to support their mental health and wellness. Until now, that expectation – if ever met – was simply about offering the right kind of insurance and access to mental healthcare. Now, leaders and managers are meant to be empathetic and able to recognize those in need of help. Frankly, most have not had any sort of training, and it’s probably unfair to expect this of them. HR professionals are honest about the lack of support managers are receiving:

Presumably, the next step is to better train managers to provide mental health and wellness support and ensure the business builds itself around a people-centric culture. Certainly, the top priorities of HR professionals in 2023 suggest that employees are gaining leverage with HR:

  1. Developing and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives (22%)
  2. Improving employee engagement and retention (21%)
  3. Recruiting and retaining top talent (15%)

In fact, DEI is directly related to wellness at work because those efforts contribute to people feeling as though they are treated fairly and included. Providing that sense of belonging is an essential part of wellness, as is improving engagement and retention. To recruit and keep top talent, employers must continue to care for employees and lead HR with heart.

By Francesca Di Meglio

Orignally Posted on HR Exchange Network






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