The world of employee benefits experienced significant growing pains since the pandemic hit over a year ago. With all the new challenges employees began experiencing (job loss, loss of childcare, financial instability, mental health, and so much more), employers learned, fast, that ensuring the wellbeing of their employees is essential.
Let’s break down some of the factors contributing to employee resilience and wellbeing that employers can effectively take action on.
It’s important to understand that while the term ‘wellness’ is singular, it encompasses a variety of factors that contribute to it. While someone may have good physical wellness, their overall wellness will be affected if they are experiencing hardship in other areas of their lives. In this way, employers need to approach wellness holistically, focusing on more than one contributing factor in an employee’s overall wellbeing.
A 2018 report by the Federal Reserve found 40% of adults would struggle to pay off a $400 unexpected expense. According to the MetLife Employee Benefit Trends Study 2021, financial stress is both the top concern and the leading factor contributing to poor mental health among employees. A staggering 86% of employees reported financial stress was a leading source of anxiety now and going forward.
Many employers function under the misconception that their employees are financially stable, but there is no way of knowing what kind of financial burdens employees may carry. They may be a single parent, a caregiver of a family member with medical needs, or struggling to pay off staggering student loan debts. Whatever the case, employers that offer financially focused benefits can help make a significant difference in their employees’ lives.
Consider offering financially focused benefits aimed at developing financial stability for your employees now and into their future:
- Student loan support
- 401(k) and other retirement savings
- Monthly wellness stipends
- Financial coaching and education
- Childcare support
One of the positive side effects created by the pandemic has been the increased availability of accessible mental health support. More and more organizations provide access to qualified therapists who provide therapy services online or over the phone. These services have taken off over the past year as more Americans have reached out for assistance with mental health concerns. Offering programs designed to overcome cost barriers that may deter employees from accessing mental health services is a great way to help support your employees’ wellbeing.
Another way to provide support to employees is to offer flex time. According to the same MetLife study referenced above, 76% of workers are interested in continuing alternative working arrangements developed during the pandemic such as remote work and flexible schedules, but 90% of employers who implemented these alternative solutions are planning to go back to pre-pandemic working arrangements when possible. That is a concerning disparity that may result in employee frustration when they are forced back into the office and have expensive commutes and less flexibility to manage their personal lives.
68% of employees working remotely want their employers to allow them to decide for themselves. Over half of workers in their 20s are happier with their working arrangements now than before the pandemic.
Flexible scheduling, remote options, and unlimited PTO programs allow employees to better manage their personal commitments with less stress, enabling them to maintain their overall wellness with greater ease.
Planning long term
Employee wellness was a critical issue long before the pandemic and will continue to be one well into the future. Employers who are serious about developing a company that can drive growth, attract, retain, and engage employees, and leave a positive legacy behind them need to be considering these issues consistently throughout the years.
What’s good for your employees is good for you: employees who identify as mentally and physically healthy are 37% more productive than those that aren’t. And that’s just one statistic that shows how caring for your employees creates a positive ripple effect within your organization, their community, and the world.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Raffa, we build cost-effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health.
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