The evolution of employee wellness: Key takeaways from Empathy’s webinar

Published on Oct 31, 2023

On October 19, we hosted a webinar, “The evolution of employee wellness: Supporting whole person health,” sparking an engaging discussion on the significance of prioritizing well-being in the workplace.

Moderated by Kyle Daquanna, Director of Partnerships at Empathy, we were proud to host Jackie Ishibashi, the Global Wellbeing Consultant at Sequoia, and Samantha Reid, the Director of Wellbeing, Innovation and Strategy at Wellright.

Together, they shared their experiences and professional insights on this important topic and offered actionable steps leaders can take to see real impact. 

1. Determine the well-being culture you want to foster

Samantha highlighted the importance of not only creating well-being culture, but a well-being climate within an organization. She explained, “A company can say they have a culture, but when their leaders and other staff are doing something different, then that’s not a well-being climate.”

Jackie went on to point out that merely adding a benefit and program is not enough. “You need to have the work culture and environment that supports the use of it. So for example, if you offer Empathy that supports bereavement, you need to have a very supportive bereavement policy.”

2. Conduct a comprehensive benefit and well-being inventory

By gathering all benefits, components of benefit programs, total rewards offerings, and internal initiatives in one place, employers gain a holistic view of their strengths and areas for improvement.

This approach aligns with the five essential elements of well-being, developed by Gallup through decades of research: career, social, financial, physical, and community. It also recognizes that all these aspects are interconnected and crucial for employee productivity and retention.

Samantha shared a valuable tip, advising employers to “pick a pillar of well-being each quarter of the year and promote all of the great resources that you have available. It’s kind of a quick and easy and no-cost way to promote what you already have going on, but in a very meaningful way showing your employees and your team members that you’re looking at them from a whole person perspective as well.”

3. Think about what employees are going through at each stage of their career

The workforce is witnessing significant changes, with new trends such as concierge-type benefits for caregiving, personalized support for employees’ unique needs, and an increased focus on happiness and well-being. The presence of multiple generations in the workplace requires tailored benefits to cater to diverse needs.

As Jackie explained, “When you’re looking at your company benefits package, really look at the employee life cycle. What is an employee going through when they’re hired? What will they go through throughout the time that they’re employed with you?”

4. Seek quality feedback about employees’ needs

To gain a more accurate and holistic view, benefit leaders should actively seek feedback from various sources outside of traditional data. One effective approach is leveraging Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Manager Resource Groups to gather both positive and constructive feedback. 

“I feel like ERGs are just a really great resource,” Jackie said. “I‘ve had personal experience working with them and they can have a lot of influence on how you design your wellness programs.”

Wellright has a well-being committee, and Samantha said she has learned what constitutes an effective one: “Multiple job types, levels in the organization, even including some naysayers, to make it interesting and to make sure that you’re thinking about all of the aspects of well-being and why individuals may not participate versus participate.”

For more insights and information, watch the full webinar here.

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