It's no secret that sleep, health, and nutrition are fundamental building blocks of a high quality of life. And until recently, it was something generally left in the purview of an individual employee. But as the competition for top talent continues, high-performing companies seek out new ways to invest in their people's wellbeing, engagement, and loyalty - and they're seeing great results from investing in employee wellness benefits.
The connection between employee wellness and employee engagement is obvious on the surface: happier, healthier employees are much more likely to engage in their work and workplace culture than employees struggling with sleep, health, and nutrition. But the extent to which employee wellness programs can help improve employee engagement goes much, much deeper:
1. Work-Life Balance Is More Important to Talent Than Ever
Due in part to higher rates of stress and burnout, work-life balance has become more important to talent than ever before. According to Glassdoor research, 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments. Employees further indicate that several work-life balance changes would help them avoid burnout, including reducing the number of hours spent working (30%), receiving more paid time off (30%), and having a supportive and understanding manager at work (26%).
Constant access to digital work technology and a never-ending list of to-dos is draining. Companies that want to attract and retain the best talent and improve employee engagement have made the connection between health and happiness and high levels of resilience and loyalty. They support flexible schedules and firm boundaries for off-hours in the office, and they deploy employee wellness programs to help employees build better sleep, health, and nutrition routines at home.
[Keep reading: 5 Awesome Job Benefits That Attract Quality Candidates]
2. Stress Is A Major Productivity Inhibitor
Many companies are increasingly aware of the relationship between stress and employee performance, to the extent that the number of employers measuring the stress level of their employees is on track to more than triple by 2021, from 16% to 53%. And employees want the support: a large-scale survey from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) found that 27% of employees would like their employer to provide additional support for stress and mental health, including help coping with burnout.
Measuring stress in the workplace has yielded interesting results. One survey by Quantum Workplace found that 16% of employees report work situations that negatively impact their sleep on a regular basis and, after an average day's work, 25% of employees frequently feel physically drained or exhausted and another 25% feel emotionally drained or exhausted. Overall, about 76% of employees surveyed by Burnout Nation are experiencing worker burnout.
Employee wellness programs can help employees build healthier habits at work that support stress management and self-care in the long-term. And the results are compelling, especially among Millennial talent: 61% of employees surveyed by Aflac have reported that they've have made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company's wellness program and that Millennials, more than any other demographic, factor in employee wellness benefits when deciding whether to stay with a job.
3. Healthy, Happy Employees Experience Less Absenteeism
Absenteeism, or the pattern of absences at work that don't have a meaningful reason, often arises from a lack of focus, clarity, and attachment to one's work - the very same markers of high stress, burnout, and low engagement. There are obvious costs to absenteeism that add up to as much as $1685 per employee, according to Kaiser Permanente. But there are also less obvious, indirect costs when it comes to employee engagement because you can't interact with your co-workers or contribute to a culture of engagement if you're not attending work.
When employees have access to wellness programs that enhance their ability to manage stress, eat and move well, and sleep better, they become more present in the workplace literally and figuratively. Absenteeism and its associated costs fall, and engagement rises because employees are better able to bond and develop trust with their co-workers and teams.
[Keep reading: Making Sure the Cup Stays Full at Starbucks]
Invest in employee wellness to improve employee engagement
In an increasingly stressful and demanding world of business, employees want to work for employers that care about them. If you want to improve employee engagement and work-life balance while reducing stress and burnout among your staff, consider which employee wellness programs will be the best fit for your organization in the coming year.
Your people will remember how you supported them during COVID-19. To get involved in the conversation on Glassdoor and start managing and promoting your employer brand reputation, unlock your Free Employer Profile today.