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Why Investing in Employee Wellness Resources Is Key to Your HR Strategy

Ross Simons

Ross Simons

Director of Inbound Marketing
Why Investing in Employee Wellness Resources Is Key to Your HR Strategy

If you want to know what’s on the minds of HR professionals around the world in 2023, look no further than a recent report unveiled by Gartner. The consulting giant surveyed over 850 human resources leaders across 60 countries and every major industry to gauge their priorities, understand their challenges, and discover trends.

Among other fascinating findings, the report revealed that 70% of companies have introduced new wellness benefits or expanded their existing wellness benefits. Once an afterthought — if it was thought about at all — employee wellness has become central to the HR mission.

Investing in employee wellness resources makes good business sense; happy, healthy, well-balanced employees tend to be more productive and collaborative, miss fewer days, and decrease health spending. Employee wellness programs can also help HR teams achieve their objectives.

What are those objectives? Let’s return to the Gartner report. According to the survey, HR teams in 2023 are prioritizing:

  • Leader and manager effectiveness
  • Organizational design and change management
  • The employee experience
  • Recruiting
  • The future of work

Employee wellness resources are crucial investments because they can help your HR team achieve each of these goals. Let’s explore each one to learn where employee wellness resources fit in.

Priority #1: Leader and Manager Effectiveness

The workplace and attitudes toward the working life are shifting rapidly, and HR teams want to ensure their organizations’ leaders are up for the challenge. According to the Gartner survey, 24% of HR leaders say their leadership development approach does not prepare leaders for the future of work.

The modern manager is human-centric, not merely focused on their team members’ work needs but also their life needs. Employees expect — in fact, demand — concern and support for their wellbeing.

How employee wellness resources can help:

Employee wellness resources give managers tools to support employees’ holistic wellbeing. For example, if an employee is experiencing high stress — from life, work, or both — an empathetic manager could direct them toward the company’s morning meditation gatherings or suggest a free video therapy session.

Wellness programs can help leaders bring their teams together, too. For example, a manager could volunteer to take point on a monthly steps challenge, which would focus the team on a shared goal, demonstrate leadership, and model healthy behavior.

Priority #2: Organizational Design and Change Management

The past few years in the workplace have been nothing if not disruptive. Rapid technological advancement, political shifts, economic turmoil, and of course, a world-spanning epidemic have employers and employees reeling.

One day, you’re setting up your home workspace; the next, you’re being asked to return to the office. One day, your company is thriving and growing; the next, layoffs are imminent. One day, you’ve mastered your work duties; the next, AI threatens to make your job obsolete.

For employees, all this turbulence can instill a sense of “change fatigue.” According to the Gartner report, 45% of HR leaders say their employees are experiencing change fatigue, which is a problem because fatigue drives attrition. Only 43% of employees experiencing high levels of work friction intend to stay with their current organization.

How employee wellness resources can help:

Experts say that rituals or habits can serve as reassuring anchors during periods of instability. Whether it’s a good night’s sleep, a regular (and nutritional) family meal, or a daily exercise break, wellness programs can teach employees to develop healthy habits that will give them a sense of normalcy and control while the world swirls around them.

Wellness resources such as mindfulness classes and apps, free video counseling, and yoga can help employees learn to handle stress and react positively to change.

Group wellness challenges can also promote feelings of constancy and connection. For example, if your hybrid or remote team has started to drift apart, these virtual wellness program ideas can make them feel like a cohesive unit with a shared goal again.

Priority #3: The Employee Experience

Data from the Gartner report indicates that a mere 25% of employees are confident about their careers at their current organization. Three out of four employees considering a new role are looking externally. During this period of unprecedented churn and “quiet quitting,” HR teams are focused on retaining their top employees.

How employee wellness resources can help:

Employees appreciate knowing that their employers have their backs — at work and in life. The impact of supportive wellness programs is measurable. According to one landmark study, 45% of Americans working at small- or medium-sized companies said they would stay at their jobs longer because of employer-sponsored wellness programs. Wellness programs are also associated with higher degrees of employee engagement, a critical metric for preventing turnover.

Because the modern conception of wellness is holistic, encompassing much more than physical health, wellness resources can also help employees achieve their professional goals. Free life coaching, for example, can help employees chart a course forward and remain focused on their objectives. Financial wellness options can help employees plan for retirement, buy a house, pay down debt, and address other money-related worries that distract employees from work and send them searching for higher-paying positions.

Priority #4: Recruiting

Entrenched in a “war for talent,” HR teams in 2023 are looking for every recruitment edge they can get. For modern job seekers, it’s not all about the paycheck. While fair compensation is critical, other factors are nearly as important.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 61% of workers said they want greater work-life balance and better personal wellbeing from their next position. (That’s nearly as many as the 64% who said they were interested in a significant pay increase.)

How employee wellness programs can help:

Wellness programs help foster the positive attitudes and workplace camaraderie that attract job seekers. But more than that, the wellness resources themselves can be powerful differentiators.

Younger working generations are particularly drawn by wellness offerings. Over half of Gen Zers and nearly 60% of millennials consider wellness programs important or extremely important when choosing employers.

Group wellness challenges can also help with onboarding — a critical make-it-or-break-it period that can determine whether a new hire stays with the company. Through shared wellness challenges, new hires and veterans alike can quickly become acquainted, gain trust in each other, and become closer as a team.

Priority #5: The Future of Work

The last few years have proved without a doubt that the future of work is uncertain. As the Gartner report points out, HR teams today struggle with workforce planning because the old assumptions no longer hold up.

Among other things, HR teams cannot accurately predict their future need for skills, expect to fill future talent gaps through buying and building, or dictate where, when, and how employees work. In this context, Gartner says, “We need a new approach that unlocks new strategies.”

How employee wellness programs can help:

The workplace of the future — even just a few years from now — might be unrecognizable to contemporary eyes. But one thing will never change: Your Employees are humans with human needs, drives, challenges, and desires.

By helping employees become their best selves, your company’s wellness resources can ensure that your workforce has the focus and clarity to take on whatever the future holds. Physical and emotional wellness unlocks the creativity within your employees, spurring the innovations that will sustain your organization through the next decade and beyond.

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