This month, the team at Gympass had the pleasure of hosting a session alongside Peakon, a Workday company, at HR Exchange Live (hosted by the HR Exchange Network). Together, Gympass’ Kyle Poll and Peakon’s Patrick Cournoyer shared valuable data and insights surrounding employee health and well-being in the wake of COVID-19. Here are some of the key takeaways.
What We Learned
The focus of our session was employee wellness as a whole, and in order to do a deeper dive, it was important to identify not only how employees have been feeling, but also what companies need to do to garner improvements.
A December 2020 study from the U.S. Census Bureau found that 42% of Americans reported new or worsening symptoms of depression and anxiety. This amount, which is an increase of 11% from 2019, serves as a valuable reference for the current state of the union, as well as the need for comprehensive wellness programs in the corporate world.
The webinar also uncovered that although this number, in total, points toward a wide-spread issue, it’s important to recognize the different states of mental health and wellness across varying verticals. For example, those working in the educational sector made up 59% of the total respondents indicating a need for mental health support. This is based on Peakon’s extensive database of over 150 million employee survey responses, and 30 million employee comments and should come as no surprise when you consider the stress educators have endured during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a direct contrast to the responses collected from those in the financial industry. Unsurprisingly, 56% of those employees focused their responses on financial wellbeing over physical or mental health.
So, what does this mean for corporations looking to buckle down and drive employee wellness? To start, a greater commitment to customized, targeted wellbeing programs is needed; luckily, many organizations are already working toward just that.
“We recently conducted a survey of 2,700 benefit managers and HR leaders globally to get a better understanding of their organization’s current commitment to wellbeing,” said Poll from Gympass. “From this, we found that more than two thirds (about 68%) of HR leaders surveyed strongly agreed that their organizations were committed to employee wellbeing.”
Poll went on to state, “Most organizations are committed to employee health and wellbeing, but often find it challenging to establish clear links between employee needs, individual offerings, and business outcomes. There are often clear expectations about what wellness programs should contribute to — e.g. talent acquisition, lower healthcare costs, and increased engagement, retention, and productivity — but how do you know for sure?”
So, what does all of this mean? Here are 5 key takeaways that will help your leadership team better understand the impact employee wellbeing programs can have on your organization…
- Leverage data to truly understand what your employees feel and need. Ensuring that you have accurate and ongoing feedback about employee health and wellbeing will help inform your programs and their outcomes. Using this data will also empower the employee voice, engage executives, give you credibility, and allow you to measure the impact of your wellbeing initiatives.
- If you’re moving to a hybrid workforce, implement a hybrid wellbeing program. Having a mix of in-person and virtual solutions that enable your employees to improve physical and mental health at work, at home, and on the road will help meet employees where they are.
- Implement plans that are flexible, broadly applicable, and have low barriers to engage.
- Communicate the importance of wellbeing to leadership and employees (start with WHY).
- Get leadership involved. Those in the position to enact change must be aligned with your wellbeing plans. The success of your programs can depend on the buy-in from leadership. Look at the bigger picture and link any future business goals with the wellbeing goals that arise from your data.
With companies embracing new and varied ways of working — whether it’s remote, hybrid, or on the frontlines — employee health and wellbeing needs to be at the forefront of business agendas. And, to help make this happen, it will be important to establish a link between the health and wellbeing of your employees and core KPIs such as sales, customer satisfaction, and turnover.