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Employee wellbeing as a retention and engagement strategy

October 3, 2018

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner AsE

The number of job openings continues to exceed the number of job seekers in the U.S., forcing employers to reexamine their strategies for hiring and retaining top employees. Employee wellbeing is a key aspect that employers need to pay attention to when looking at retention strategies. 

A recent report from Gallagher includes recommendations on ways to strengthen key aspects of workplace wellbeing: physical and emotional; career; financial; and organizational.

Physical and Emotional Wellbeing 

Rather than separating their work roles from their personal lives, today’s employees bring their whole selves to work. They’re searching for employers whose cultures support their values, personal goals, and professional endeavors. Because this environment differs based on the makeup of each organization’s workforce, employers can take cues from generational differences. For example, community involvement activities are of special interest to Millennial workers, while flexible scheduling and work-from-home policies enable employees with family needs to have greater work-life balance and integration.  Consider each employee’s needs.

Career Wellbeing

Employers of choice take an active approach to employee attraction, retention, and development. Two key engagement drivers that improve employee commitment and loyalty are fairness and equality. Organizations that develop a clear and meaningful employee experience through timely performance reviews and feedback, formal pay-equity processes, and a safe and respectful workplace will be rewarded with a workforce that steadily contributes to better business performance.  Employees also want to know their employer is invested in their career goals.  Talent Development initiatives can keep your employees engaged and help them achieve their career goals.

Financial Wellbeing 

Financial stress negatively impacts employees’ physical health and affects their performance. Key stressors include rising healthcare costs and student debt. Traditional retirement plans are no longer sufficient to mitigate employee financial concerns. Many of today’s leading workplaces take a more active role in helping alleviate workers’ anxiety by providing budgeting and savings education. In fact, one-third (34%) of employers now provide resources to help employees gain a stronger sense of financial security through financial wellbeing programs.

Organizational Wellbeing 

Individual well-being combined with an organizational culture of well-being can result in increased productivity, health, and employee retention.  Organizations should be sure to integrate a people perspective into their corporate strategy.  Specifically with Millennials, employers can improve their employer brand by establishing an approach to ethics, social governance, and employee engagement based on realistic organizational values.  Leadership behaviors play a critical role in the well-being of the people they lead.

A recent Gallup survey revealed that individual well-being affects future employee engagement. “If people had higher well-being in year one, they would tend to have higher engagement in year two and a more positive change in engagement in year two,” stated Jim Harter, Ph.D., Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and well-being. “People that have high individual well-being are more likely to see their workplace as positive, productive, and engaging. Conversely, if they are struggling or suffering, it rubs off on the workplace and the team.”

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