Does your well-being program empower everyone within your workforce?

The need for well-being support can feel overwhelming, but the basics are simple. Focus on what people need and make well-being a true business priority.

By Christine Muldoon      

Right now, each individual is going through a different experience that’s impacting the way he or she shows up at work. For example, maybe Deb in accounting lost a loved one during the pandemic, and lately, she’s depressed and unresponsive. Or Jerry in sales learned his partner was laid off, and now he’s stressed over finances and budgeting while he’s on the clock. Then there are those who have worn all the hats for the last several months—working while juggling homeschooling, childcare, healthcare, cooking, cleaning, and much more. We’re all at varying levels of burnout and exhaustion, and we’ve gotten to that point from different situations. But what can employers do about it?

Employers can play a bigger role in addressing—and supporting—their people’s well-being. A quality well-being program can help employees navigate the everyday stressors they’re facing by offering them the tools and resources they need to feel healthier and happier—at work, at home and everywhere in between. And organizations that offer comprehensive well-being support benefit, too—in the form of higher productivity and engagement, better morale, and better retention rates.

It may sound overwhelming to provide enough options for everyone to benefit from, but it truly doesn’t have to be. There are some key ways you can help ensure that your well-being program supports everyone within your organization.

Think about what your people need.

At WebMD Health Services, we consider five core dimensions of well-being—clinical, physical, emotional, social and financial. And they impact other areas of wellness, too. For example, if Deb is struggling with her emotional health, it may negatively affect her eating habits and immune system. Maybe she’s become more reclusive, and a few bills have gone unpaid because she can’t keep track of what day it is.  

And so, we develop holistic programs to improve all areas of well-being. Because when one area of wellness is improved, it positively impacts others.

Some of our clients add more dimensions that support their cultures, such as sustainability, volunteerism, and DE&I initiatives. Think about which dimensions matter to your organization. Then you can start developing a comprehensive list of solutions that everyone can benefit from.

Consider their situation.

People bring different backgrounds, needs, life stages and perspectives to the workplace. Jennifer might want help managing a chronic condition and learning budgeting tips, while Amanda needs help managing stress and eating more nutritious meals. Because there’s such a wide range of needs, it’s important to offer a comprehensive list of solutions so there’s something for everyone. Then you can personalize the program so that each individual receives well-being recommendations based on their unique situation.

At WebMD Health Services, segmentation is built into our architecture, making well-being personalization easy. We can segment benefits and communications by age, gender, health risk and conditions, geographic location, health-plan option and more. That way, each person only receives recommendations that are personalized to their specific situation.

Go through your existing benefits.

Once you’ve considered your population’s needs, go through your benefits to see where there may be room for improvement. Perhaps you can expand your relationships with vendors and partners. Or maybe you’ve identified some gaps in your offerings, and you’d like to add or alter your current benefits to make room for more options—such as mental-health resources, stress management or financial-wellness assistance.

Have some flexibility.

Sometimes, reaching everyone within a population sounds like a real challenge. Those in the warehouse may not have time to take that virtual meditation class you’re offering to office workers. Hourly employees can’t afford to take time off from work for a preventive exam at a doctor’s office. What’s a company to do?

My solution? Create a culture of well-being that empowers managers to offer flexibility for their teams. Leaders should be able to give their teams the support they need when they need it—whether in the form of flex time, hybrid working schedules, allocating time for well-being during the workday, whatever it may be to take care of themselves.

Communicate early and often.

Keep in mind that people can’t use benefits if they don’t know they exist. Make sure your organization is consistently communicating about well-being benefits and where employees can access them. Better yet, make sure that executives and other leadership make well-being a priority. If teams hear their upper-level managers talking about the benefits and focusing on their well-being, they’ll feel more empowered to care for themselves too.

The growing need for well-being support can feel confusing and overwhelming, but the basics are simple. Focus on what your people need, verify that benefits are available to them no matter where or how they work, and make well-being a true business priority. You’ll get happier, healthier, more productive and more engaged workers because of it.

About WebMD Health Services

WebMD Health Services, part of the WebMD family, has been designing well-being programs for employers and health plans for over 20 years. Its comprehensive partnerships, services and solutions empower organizations to offer the best tools and resources their people need to achieve real results: better health, happiness and well-being for all. For more information, visit webmdhealthservices.com