Employee wellness starts with culture and communication

Lost productivity from employees missing work costs companies $225.8 billion in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a lot of money.

But companies can cut these costs while having happy, healthy employees if they design their company’s wellness initiatives around people, not programs. The best way to get started is to look at company culture and actively seek feedback.

Here’s what this effort looks like:

Survey employees.

Have a third party conduct an anonymous, all-employee survey so employees feel confident they can respond candidly without fear or repercussions. Be sure the survey addresses both strengths and gaps in culture, work-life balance, leadership and professional development.

Review the data carefully and talk about it.

Work with a third-party consultant to review the survey results, then collaborate with Human Resources to collect data like health care costs and claims. Communicate the results and what employees can expect as a result. The only thing worse than not asking for employee feedback is asking for feedback and doing nothing with it. Be sure your company is prepared to address the findings.

Invest your resources thoughtfully.

Use the feedback you’ve received to gradually implement services that are meaningful and helpful to employees. This may mean increasing your financial health initiatives, fine-tuning your leadership development programs or offering challenges that encourage physical activity.

Communicate, and often.

Even after the survey ends, team leaders should create an environment where two-way communication is frequent and candid. This means regularly checking in with team members about their personal wellbeing, asking how they’re feeling about work and supporting necessary change.

Our ViDL model can help companies do all of the above and more. The model addresses personal wellbeing with a holistic range of programs that go beyond physical health and addressing organizational factors like culture and leadership.

If you want more tips for supporting your employees’ wellbeing, check out our recent column in Corporate Wellness Magazine.

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