Today’s employees are working harder than ever before on achieving their personal wellness goals. Unfortunately, this extra energy has not yielded desired results. According to the recent Health and Financial Wellbeing Mindset Study from Alight Solutions, employees feel less satisfied with their overall well-being. As concerns rise, workers want more guidance and support from employer programs to navigate health and financial decisions.
The study collected data on more than 2,500 employees’ physical, mental, emotional, and financial health. Results showed that 61% of workers are actively committed to maintaining and improving their well-being, up from 52% five years ago. Employees also spend more effort navigating healthcare spending by researching options and costs before making a health decision.
Despite this proactive spirit, a growing number of workers don’t feel satisfied with their overall wellness. Workers also feel less in control of their health, finances, and other aspects of their well-being compared to previous years.
Perhaps this explains the rising expectations people have when it comes to wellness benefits. Seventy percent of workers responded that wellness programs are one of the reasons they stay at their jobs—a remarkable 20% increase from five years ago. Even more (78%) said these programs make a company more attractive. With three-fourths of employees planning to leave their job within five years, the case for using employee wellness programs as a retention tool continues to strengthen.
Increasingly, wellness programs are viewed as highly-valued benefits; they can recruit and retain the best talent. At the same time, employees have higher expectations for these programs and expect a more holistic approach. With mental health stigmas fading away, workers prioritize their mental fitness and emotional stability more than previous generations.
Growing Concerns, Shrinking Resources
Even with wellness as a high priority, more and more people put off receiving a medical treatment in order to save money. Unfortunately, concerns about resources and money compete with employees’ desire to live healthy lives.
Over one third (36%) of employees said their well-being required more time, attention, and money than they felt they could give— a 15% increase from just five years ago. One in five workers struggle to cover their monthly expenses, and 25% said that debt is ruining their quality of life.
Given this, it’s easy to see why 42% save nothing for potential medical costs not covered by insurance. In fact, roughly one-third of employees have reduced or completely stopped contributing to savings due to healthcare costs.
These circumstances can lead to a vicious cycle of poor well-being and strained budgets, as sacrificing health or delaying treatment to save money can result in higher costs long-term.
Improving Employees’ Wellness Program Experience
More than ever, employees need effective, multi-faceted support from wellness programs. Likewise, a company’s productivity improves when their workers can take care for themselves well. By implementing an accessible and holistic wellness program, employers can attract top-performing talent, retain current employees, and maintain a more productive team. Try the strategies below for wellness program success!
- Make it convenient to access information about available resources. Employees are 2.5x more likely to have a positive outlook on their health if the program is convenient.
- Personalize communications to employees. Making resources easy to understand while targeting a worker’s individual needs can boost engagement.
- Keep it simple. Workers are stressed by the amount of time and energy it takes to maintain their well-being. Clear communication can facilitate participation with employer-sponsored resources.
- Be sure wellness resources are holistic and multi-dimensional, and go beyond physical health and retirement plans. Workers want (and many younger employees expect) support for their mental, emotional, and social well-being. Stress management tools can also support their financial and health-related goals.
- Ensure that those in leadership roles understand how to identify concerns and support mental well-being. As mental illness stigma decreases, workers and especially millennials (57%) report feeling more comfortable opening up to a colleague and asking for help.
- Provide tools to help better navigate and research healthcare options. Millennials (80%) specifically desire a service that provides transparency on costs. Aside from getting a financial break and finding health services in-budget, price transparency can also eliminate the stress that comes with managing these tasks alone.