Spoiler alert: the most important health and wellness benefit for your employees is a sense of belonging. When employees feel comfortable in the office and come in ready to help advance the company’s goals every day, everyone wins.
The employee health and wellness benefits industry has become an arms race. Organizations are trying to find advantages for their workforces by offering employees a constantly increasing list of wellness benefits options.
Of course, we know by now the benefits of benefits. Employees are more productive when they know if they hurt themselves (at work or otherwise), their insurance will prevent them from losing their house. Employees work harder and help their companies more when employers provide them with ways to improve their health both at and outside of work. Recruitment and retention become easier when workers are climbing over each other to gain and maintain a place at your company with access to your awesome benefits.
Components of Belonging in Health and Wellness
What does it truly mean to belong to a group or community? Belonging in a workplace goes beyond free kegs on tap and foosball. It comes down to whether employees like their jobs and if they trust their managers to help them with their careers.
In many typical organizations, managers and leaders are plucked from the workforce already in place. Hiring from within is easier, cheaper, and offers a smoother transition for everyone involved than bringing in leadership from outside. Another benefit of internal promotion is the wider knowledge among the workforce that they all have similar opportunities to rise and become leaders in the organization.
But, in addition to the simple practice of hiring from within, employees need training and encouragement to do their best work. The fact remains that, at most companies, the majority of workers below the management level will never reach management within the same firm. You can only promote so many workers at a time. Still, employees like their jobs more when they feel they’re completing their duties at levels above and beyond the standard. If you provide the tools to go above and beyond, not only will they elevate their effort every day, they’ll buy into the company’s mission and vision as well.
Managers Fostering Belonging
Managers need to both motivate their workers and foster a sense of trust. Employees in today’s job market are setting their sights above simply finding a position they can stand, co-workers they won’t fight with, and management that doesn’t get in their way. They’re looking for a company and a team that inspire them, a work culture they want to belong to. A work family.
Fostering this sense of belonging comes in many forms, from preaching and practicing the values of the company’s mission statement to working individually with employees to bring them into the company culture. Belonging comes down to the managers and supervisors themselves. They can either kill or nurture cohesion and teamwork through their day-to-day interactions with employees.
If managers don’t hold employees accountable and don’t trust them to do their jobs, employees won’t feel appreciated, let alone like they’re part of a cohesive work family. Managers who have a clear set of goals for their teams and the accountability in place to hold them to those goals can inspire and motivate employees effectively.