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Blog Mar 24, 2021

Companies across the country are focusing on improving their employees’ well-being as they chart a strategy for operating in a post-pandemic world. A new study by Willis Towers Watson surveyed nearly 500 businesses employing a total of 6.4 million workers, and the results are illuminating. More than half of respondents report rising stress and burnout as the biggest challenge they are experiencing, with 68 percent of employers citing well-being programs as a top priority over the next six months.

We are also seeing a significant shift from a consumer standpoint: in light of the pandemic, 75% of Americans are prioritizing their mental health and emotional well-being over material possessions, a survey from Ipsos/Voya reveals.  

It has become undeniably clear that health and wellness should not be treated as trends. When people’s mental health is deteriorating as a result of stress and burnout, short-term solutions are not enough. You need meaningful change that addresses all symptoms and implications, covering physical, emotional and social well-being. Not only are these needs vital, but the well-being of your employees will affect the long-term health of your business.

The future of health and wellness is being shaped by a set of new needs and radically different expectations. For agile companies willing to transform their culture and usher in a new era for employee well-being, new possibilities abound. But how do you create a good wellness program—one that reflects today’s needs and positions you for future success? Here are four principles to apply.

1. Keep it simple. Start by asking: What would your company’s wellness program look like if you built it today? Ensure that it is easy to use, accessible to everyone and available on-demand at people’s fingertips. Most employees are unaware of all the benefits available to them and lack the time to scour through handbooks or intranet sites for various services. Having 10 resources with 10 different platforms will never equate to an effective program. Signing up for a new provider or downloading a new app every time they want to take advantage of a company perk defeats the purpose, because it leads to low adoption and low satisfaction. Instead, implement a streamlined, cohesive solution.

2. Personalize it. The employee should always be at the center, actively driving the experience. Nothing is more personal than health and wellness, so people should be able to select and customize every element of the program based on what works for them. Across the board, we have witnessed the rise of customer-centric experiences, driven by self-directed consumers. From exercise classes to meditation courses to one-click tele-medicine appointments, providing a variety of options for people to choose from and seamlessly schedule is essential. Everyone has different needs, concerns and preferences, and the wellness program of the future will need to appeal to the empowered employee.

3. Diversity and inclusion is well-being. Creating a safe space for inclusion is critical, because diversity cannot exist without inclusion. Given the painful reality of rising violence against minorities, the mental health of employees should be top priority. It’s essential that your team has a space to share their feelings and support one another. Employees should feel assured that the organization’s support extends to their personal lives, and that their managers and colleagues are trusted allies. In addition, when it comes to wellness programming, leaders should ensure that all content reflects their team’s demographics and resonates with the entire employee population. Representation is critical, from the instructors and speakers featured to the range of resources offered. As we progress towards a more equitable future, diversity is our biggest strength, the fuel that accelerates our growth, and inclusion is what makes it possible.

4. Integrate, integrate, integrate. We live in a world where the boundaries between healthcare and wellness are increasingly blurring. A fundamental shift is emerging: from treating and responding to illness to proactively creating well-being. People are seeking preventative care, along with ways to sustain their wellness. In addition, there is more awareness around the impact of healthy habits, including exercise, nutrition, mindfulness and self-care, on total well-being. For companies, this means that a successful program will fully integrate all aspects of health and wellness. Tele-well appointments should coexist with fitness and wellness classes for the mind, body and spirit. Mental health and emotional support should also be incorporated, along with social activities, team-building events, parental support for distance-learning and home schooling, and personal development courses. Having a centralized, connected, smart platform for physical, mental, social and emotional health, will be key to driving higher adoption and impact in your organization. 

At AccessElite, we strive to make health and wellness as easy as possible while delivering tangible results. To learn more, reach out to np@accesselitenow.com.

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