Louise McNab, VP Account Management
The evolution of employee wellness
Employee wellness programs are essential to the overall employee experience, especially at a time when budgetary restrictions mean greater focus on employee retention as opposed to investments in hiring and training, which can be expensive.
If you have unhappy employees, you’ll have high turnover rates, regardless of the industry or difficulty of the position. For a long time, employee “wellness” was more geared towards employee engagement, with organizations surmising that if they could at least make their employees feel seen, that would be enough to make them stay. The pandemic, though, made organizations rethink their approach to the working environment. Most people had only ever worked in an office setting until they were sent home to work remotely. Now tasked with figuring out how to keep teams engaged, picking up on how they are feeling and creating a desirable workplace environment, employers have come to fully understand how critical employee wellness is for the business’ overall health.
This shift has created an evolution from employee engagement into employee wellness. It’s not enough to make employees feel seen, organizations must also make them feel heard- and taken care of. A classic example of not seeing eye to eye with employees is organizations using a pizza party as a “reward”, even if pizza isn’t what employees are after. Employee wellness is no longer about frivolous office parties or companywide congratulatory emails. Instead, it’s about actually hearing your employees and delivering what they’re asking for an approach that isn’t one-size-fits-all for organizations and one that considers all workplace environments, whether that’s in the traditional office setting or a home office.
At Majorel, we’ve committed to a “roadmap” that remains agile and flexible as different employees raise their needs. With a presence in 45 countries, and remote work opportunities, we’ve come to balance the differing needs of our 82,000+ member team. As part of our Feel Good Program, we developed a wellness program that includes both in-person and remote counseling with trained psychologists. It would be foolish to assume that all employee stressors are related solely to work, and therefore we shouldn’t address problems as only work problems, which is where the counseling comes in. Employees have a variety of responsibilities in and outside of the workplace, and remote counseling helps address all issues in an accessible, affordable way that suits their personal needs. Offering virtual opportunities to speak with licensed professionals also creates more comfortability for some people and helps meet them where they are.
This same commitment to accessible counseling has led to support tailored to each location based on employee demographics and cultural specifics, piloted by trained psychologists. With deeper, educated insight into these details, Majorel has been able to offer accommodations whenever and wherever necessary. This is particularly advantageous when it comes to the latest plague: burnout. By deepening our understanding of the people that make up our different teams, Majorel has been better able to accommodate and respect work hours, paid time off requests, and vacation time specific to local cultural holidays and traditions.
Remediating burnout goes beyond just giving employees time off, though. In addition to appropriate PTO and acknowledgment of holidays, employers should ensure that employees are equipped with manageable workloads and given the time to complete their tasks within working hours. At Majorel, we’ve made a shift to shorter meetings, and keeping calendars free on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. Wrap-up and preparation time are just as important as the meetings themselves, and without adequate calendar space for those things, employees can find themselves feeling overwhelmed.
If your organization hasn’t built a robust wellness program yet, now is the time to get started. The first step involves listening to your employees, and it’s important that when doing so, you are fully prepared to digest their answers. More importantly, employers must take action and execute on employees’ requests or feedback. The worst thing you can do is ask for feedback, and then do nothing with it. With open employee communication, you’ll see more engagement, and a more personalized program in the long run. Once you’ve had a chance to initiate listening sessions or anonymous companywide surveys, the next step is incorporating their feedback and executing a wellness program that meets your team members’ needs. Each company and region is different and will bring about unique employee wants and needs. Engage with your employees, invest the time in speaking with them, and do regular check-ins to make sure they feel more than seen, and feel truly heard. With that, you will be well on your way to improved retention rates and happier employees.