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How to improve employee wellbeing and engagement


Supporting employee wellbeing has long been a cornerstone of any successful benefits strategy. But offering a holistic wellbeing program is one thing – getting your people to consistently engage with it is another.

Our research shows that while 81% of workers feel that their employers’ wellbeing programs enhance their overall employee experience, even before the pandemic only half of employees had a positive perception of their overall wellbeing. The social, emotional, financial and physical impacts of COVID-19 will likely only continue to drive that percentage down, making employee wellbeing more important – and challenging – than ever. What can you do to close the gap and ensure your people don’t just appreciate your wellbeing offerings, but actually use them?

Here are five things every organization can do to improve employee engagement and drive action in their wellbeing programs:

  1. Identify and address gaps in your wellbeing program
    The idea of wellbeing has evolved well beyond the traditional boundaries of physical health, and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic its more important than ever that your total wellbeing offering evolves along with it. Take inventory of your current benefits and wellbeing programs. In today’s climate, are they still meeting the physical, mental, career and financial needs of your workforce? If not, it may be time to adjust your offerings. Analyzing your current employee benefits utilization data is a good place to start, as it could reveal trends and unmet areas of need across your total workforce.
  2. Make wellbeing and benefits recommendations personal and data-driven
    When it comes to total wellbeing, every employee is at a different place in their journey – and your wellbeing and benefits recommendations should reflect that. The most effective wellbeing programs make it personal, taking benefits, biometric and self-reported data into account to recommend goals, challenges and a personalized action plan that can help guide employees on the path to improving their holistic wellbeing.
  3. Communication is key
    If your wellbeing communications are only aiming to educate, it might be time to revisit your strategy. Today’s workforce is inundated with information and our research shows that employees are looking for clear, timely calls to action to help them take advantage of the relevant tools and programs they can utilize right now. For maximum impact, communications should be personal, segmented by population and delivered in the channel of preference (mobile, email, etc.).

    For those organizations that haven’t brought their people back to physical workspaces, consider adding additional communications or replacing traditional onsite channels with alternatives, like direct mail or text. By taking an omni-channel approach with multiple touch points, you’ll ensure employees are seeing communications no matter their location or current work situation.
  4. Make employee wellbeing fun - even from afar
    Struggling to engage employees in your wellbeing programs from afar? Consider gamification. Gamification can help employees achieve both their short- and long-term wellbeing goals by encouraging them to complete challenges, either alone or with their peers, and consistently track their progress towards milestones. Real-time feedback, recognition and rewards will help keep your people motivated and engaged with their wellbeing, even while social distancing.  
  5. Encourage results through rewards
    If you want to drive behavior change, think about tying results to rewards. Consider incentivizing your people to make healthier lifestyle choices with things like points, gift cards, HSA contributions or even premium differentials. Rewards could give your wellbeing program a broader appeal and give you a happier, healthier workforce.

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