Corporate Wellness Initiatives Need to Change…
Corporate wellness initiatives need to change…
Companies need to prioritize the whole person well-being of employees…
Most companies adopt wellness programs with the achievement of a business goal in mind. For example, they hope to reduce sick days thereby increasing productivity and profitability. In my view, these reductionist programs fail to recognize the importance of employees’ holistic wellbeing. Employees are human beings that cannot be viewed as machines that simply need a tweak to their mechanics to increase productivity.
Wellbeing is comprised of multiple domains. Gallup identifies these elements as career wellbeing, social wellbeing, financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing, and community wellbeing. An employee exists at the center of these domains.
How a person is doing in one area also affects all the other areas. The interconnectedness of all these areas makes it difficult to create a one-size fits all wellness program with a goal of boosting productivity. The pandemic exacerbated the failure of these programs to address the whole person wellbeing of employees.
Brain Solis in his article “Every Company Must Now Become A Wellness Company” writes, “We weren’t really “working from home” as much as we were at home, trying to balance everything from home, while trying to work as best we could. Suddenly we weren’t seeking work/life balance; we were treading water in a new world of work/life blending.” The pandemic proved how interconnected all the elements of wellbeing are. We could no longer escape to the office and work in a vacuum with no acknowledgement of how much the rest of our lives affect our work.
The pandemic took away the vacuum and our work life smashed in the rest of our lives overnight. The convergence of our work lives and the rest of our lives caused many to rethink what they want from an organization and how their work fits in with the rest of their life. Perhaps this explains why surveys are finding that 1 in 4 workers are planning to look for other opportunities as the pandemic wanes.
People are seeking out companies that support their whole-person wellbeing. Employers need to shift from wellness programs that are results focused to wellness programs that empathize with their employees and provide them with the support and tools to improve their wellbeing across all domains of life.
The shift from viewing people one dimensionally to holistically is showing up in my profession as a financial advisor as well. Financial professionals are hearing that they can no longer simply focus on a person’s financial situation or investments but need to understand how an individual’s finances influence and connect to the other areas of their life. I’ve long been an advocate of such a practice and believe that many of the best financial professionals have already adopted this posture. Since I entered this profession, my goal has been to help people utilize their financial resources to live a life that is satisfying to them. I cannot achieve this objective without understanding how financial well-being connects to the other elements of well-being.
In my view, companies will need to prioritize whole person well-being of both their employees and consumers moving forward. A siloed approach will not prove to be durable as more people choose to focus on their well-being. I am encouraged by this trend and hope that it can drive greater life satisfaction in more individuals.
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Alex is a registered representative and investment advisor representative of Securian Financial Services, Inc. 3871145/DOFU 10-2021