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3 Ways Benefits Leaders Can Rethink Employee Wellbeing

What do you and your employees consider first when it’s time to consider benefits? Health insurance, childcare, perhaps continuing education credit? Why not wellbeing? You’d think two years into a pandemic, employee wellbeing would top the list and be at the forefront of benefits leaders’ minds. Sadly, that’s not the case for many companies. And that probably has something to do with the fact that wellbeing solutions are falling desperately short of meeting the moment today.

But what if we viewed employee wellbeing through a more comprehensive lens? One that not only takes the whole person into account but a company’s culture as well? Here’s how to start thinking about wellbeing from a different angle:

1- Purpose Is Connected to Productivity. What Matters Most to Your People?

Plain and simple, we’re more productive when we feel like our work is meaningful. When we’re disconnected from this vital ingredient, we aren’t present, and we’re unhappy, it’s next to impossible to concentrate and give 100% to the task at hand. In fact, in this study by University of Oxford researchers, happy employees were found to be 13% more productive. Imagine the impact if every employee at your company was 13% more productive. But how do you know what gives your people meaning? Have you considered asking them directly what they need from you? Close the gaps between what you think your people want and what they actually want and watch engagement with benefits, work, and life soar.

2- Employee Wellbeing Impacts Creativity and Creativity Fuels Innovation

How exactly does employee wellbeing drive creativity and ultimately result in innovation? To understand, let’s take a look at a few companies that make the mark when it comes down to employee wellbeing: Google and Zappos. How many companies connect their musically-inclined employees and offer onsite and virtual jam rooms to explore their creativity as part of their workday? Zappos does, through their innovative Strum for the Sole program. Employees are encouraged to partake in music lessons and play their hearts out. Google takes a slightly different approach, beginning with its talent acquisition strategy, prioritizing individuals who are naturally curious and love to learn new things. Once a Googler has been initiated, they are encouraged to spend 20% of their time on passion projects, and that shouldn’t be a surprise, since passion and purpose in a workforce is shown to produce at 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of retention. Perhaps that’s the inspiration behind some of the most innovative products on the market, like self-driving cars? So, how do you drive creativity and innovation in your workplace through benefits? Help your people express themselves and their creativity by thinking creatively yourself. Consider starting with purpose.

3- Be Open to Change: Approach Employee Benefits as a Work in Progress

All this to say, at the end of the day you, your people’s needs are changing and what you think is best and a top priority may not be what they ultimately need. We all know that employee wellbeing must be a multi-faceted approach and there’s no one size fits all solution. But as the world changes faster and faster, are our traditional benefits cycles keeping up the pace? Is it time to consider not only rethinking what an employee solution should address, but should we also consider implementing new solutions “off-cycle?”

Is Their Motivation Your Motivation?

These days we’re inundated with technology, but it’s time we use it to our advantage. Start by gathering feedback from your people, prioritize what’s important to them, and seek out tech solutions that are backed by experts, scientifically driven, and have proven results. There’s a lot of options out there. Find something that speaks to the culture and needs of your company. Look at successful companies similar in scope and culture to yours. Learn from their mistakes and be open to change.

Employee benefits are more than just benefits. They’re what drive people to work for you, motivate them to stay, support your people when they’re down, and keep them healthy when they’re stressed. Take a hard look at underlying issues that can be tackled proactively with wellbeing solutions, before they become an issue. Change starts with you and your people deserve more. Take care of your people and they’ll take care of you.

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