Workplace health and well-being programs transform every day, so employers’ wellness initiatives will continue to grow this year. All signs indicate that employee well-being will become a primary focus for employers in 2023. And in a general sense, many organizations will have a renewed focus on employees as people. Employees want to be treated like human beings—not just resources. More than ever, workers want to feel like they belong in the workplace and feel recognized, appreciated and safe. Correspondingly, when employees’ well-being is thriving, they often take fewer sick days, increase their job performance, manage stress better and experience less burnout, all of which directly impact organizations. Thus, employers can yield positive benefits by caring for their people.
Here are four popular employee wellness trends to look out for in 2023.
Many workers continue to battle stress, anxiety and other mental health conditions in their personal and work lives. Fortunately, the mental burden of the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled more transparency and empathy around the topic, especially in the workplace. As attitudes about employee mental health have dramatically shifted for the better, employers are poised to bolster their mental health support for employees through benefits and other workplace resources.
The American Psychological Association’s 2022 Work and Well-Being Survey validated that employee expectations related to mental health support are shifting, with 71% of workers reporting that they believe their employers are more concerned about employee mental health than in the past. More than 80% of workers agreed that how employers support employee mental health will be an important consideration when they evaluate jobs.
Employers who are invested in their employees’ mental health often yield healthy employees who take fewer days off, contribute to positive workplace culture and are more productive. One way to address employee mental health is by ensuring mental health is an essential part of overall health care offerings. Additionally, employers may expand telebehavioral health and employee assistance program (EAPs), as well as increase the use of mental health apps. Employers who provide diverse health care resources that deliver behavioral, emotional and social services are in a great position to improve their workforce’s overall well-being.
The pandemic undoubtedly shed light on health disparities. Several underlying social and economic challenges (e.g., health care, income and childcare) can influence overall well-being. To tackle health inequalities, some employers are making employee benefits and wellness programs more affordable and inclusive. The goal is to ensure all employees have access to the health care they need. That can look different for every employee, so employers may start with focusing on general goals to help employees manage any chronic conditions or severe acute needs, such as cancer, or receive recommended prenatal care.
Furthermore, some health insurance providers are working with local, state and federal governments to improve health equity to ensure Americans have an equal opportunity to thrive and achieve their best health. Employers can select providers striving to make health care more affordable and accessible to all employees. Employers have a great chance to help employees maximize their full health potential by supporting efforts that advance health equity in the communities where employees live and work.
Employee wellness programs must continue to evolve to meet the demands of the current workforce. Remote and hybrid work arrangements are here to stay for many organizations. As the boundaries between work and home are blurred, employees may experience burnout or undergo a decrease in their physical or mental health.
A healthy work-life balance seems like an unattainable goal for many Americans. Still, employers can do their best to help and offer robust resources and support, especially for hybrid or remote employees. A holistic approach helps address all aspects of the body and mind. Health plans may include access to mental health professionals and assistance dealing with stress and depression. To support varying personal responsibilities, organizations may also consider how to increase schedule flexibility or time off for mental health or recharging. Such companies may also be focusing on key performance indicators like employee satisfaction and retention. As more organizations operate in hybrid or remote settings, employees are more likely to expect such comprehensive wellness offerings from their employers.
Money is a top stressor for employees, and recent economic uncertainty has only exacerbated that. With the possibility of a recession on the horizon, employers are uniquely positioned to support employees with much-desired financial guidance and educational resources. First, employers should be aware of the most common financial goals of employees:
- Building an emergency savings
- Navigating cashflow changes
- Choosing the proper health insurance and benefits
- Preparing for significant life events
- Saving for retirement
Many organizations employ a multigenerational workforce, which means employees often face unique financial stressors. To provide relief, some employers offer financial wellness programs that vary in complexity but can include virtual personal financial planning meetings, tuition reimbursement and seminars. The idea is to provide a wide variety of services for the workforce. Employers can help reduce employee financial stress by exploring financial wellness resources and support options and offering attractive programs for current and prospective employees. Financial wellness is a critical component of wellbeing and can be a competitive offering in today’s labor market.
All signs indicate that mental and financial wellness will become significant pain points in 2023. The pandemic further exposed health inequalities and an unattainable work-life balance for many American workers. The most robust 2023 employee wellness offerings and programs will likely be employee-centered, focusing on how to provide the most comprehensive, attainable and affordable benefits. Many employees will not only need resources for handling mental and financial challenges but also support for working in a remote or hybrid setting with blurred lines between their home and work lives. This year, employers are expected to explore programs and initiatives that ensure all employees have access to the physical, mental and financial benefits they need to address the short- and long-term impacts of the pandemic and the current economic landscape.
Organizations can start by evaluating current wellness initiatives and thinking about ways to improve them. To ensure offerings and investments will resonate with the workforce, it can be helpful to survey employees first and see what they find most valuable and necessary for their overall well-being.
Contact Brookshire Benefits today for more wellness program ideas or ways to get started.