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WORKSPAN
WORKSPAN DAILY |

Well-Being Programs See a Surge in Usage


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fizkes/iStock

Employees are increasingly turning to workplace well-being programs, according to a just-released WorldatWork study.

The “Workplace Well-Being Trends” survey found that most HR leaders (61%) said demand for well-being programs has increased in recent months, as has employee utilization (63%).

Designed to nurture a positive and productive organizational culture, workforce well-being programs support such areas as an employee’s physical, emotional and financial health, and are distinct from health care benefits.

The survey gauged employer vs. employee opinions of nine well-being offerings; gender and generational attitudes toward various well-being initiatives; factors that influence an organization’s support of programs; leadership’s role in supporting a culture of well-being; manager training to identify mental health challenges; and other employee well-being factors.

“For HR professionals, executives and managers, there’s a wealth of data in this research to help assess your organization’s well-being initiatives and benchmark what the best places to work are doing,” said Scott Cawood, WorldatWork CEO.

“This survey highlights that a culture of well-being plays a far more critical role than any one benefit program to the long-term success of an organization. In fact, it is this type of culture that elevates the employee experience and ultimately leads to a more resilient workforce.”

Among the key findings:

  • Three factors have similar influence in driving an employer’s decision to invest in well-being programs: culture/well-being goals, 66%; perspectives from executive leadership, 61%; and a desire for enhanced workforce productivity/engagement, 60%.
  • Well-being programs often include diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Sixty-eight percent of organizations include DEI in their well-being offerings while 59% of employees said that these programs improve their work experience.
  • Not all well-being programs are driving the intended impact on culture or worker health. Almost all responding organizations (96%) have programs, with all but a few (92%) saying they make workplace well-being a priority. But there is a 20-plus percentage point disconnect with employees, as 70% agree their employer cares a great or good deal about their well-being.
  • While mental health benefits comprise the most prevalent well-being programs, being offered by 92% of the organizations, 61% of organizations do not provide managers with training to help identify and support employees experiencing mental health challenges.
  • The seismic increase in remote work because of the pandemic has apparently helped productivity, with 43% of employees self-reporting an “increase” or “significant increase” in productivity and 53% citing no change. Yet, about one-fourth (26%) of employees said they are perpetually burned out. Burnout can undermine not only productivity but also engagement, innovation and well-being.

The survey was based on more than 1,100 responses — 640 from WorldatWork’s member and customer base and 501 full-time professionals who replied to survey questions on Market Cube, an online panel.

The data was collected during a 15-day period in March, and the timing may have contributed to one of the survey’s surprising findings. While there is consensus that the pandemic has taken its toll on mental health, a vast majority (77%) of employees said their mental health is the same or better than it was two years ago. That breaks down to 15% gauging their mental health as “much better”; 24% “better”; and 38% “the same.”

Those self-assessments may have been buoyed by some long-awaited positive news, such as expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine availability, the release of $1,400 economic stimulus checks and the early weeks of a new presidential administration, while the survey was in the field in March.

About the Author

Jim Fickess Bio Image

Jim Fickess writes and edits for WorldatWork.