The week in wellness: Demand rising for wellness skills, proving DE&I progress, and more

The week’s essential content and fresh industry pickings for those dedicated to employee well-being.

By Robby Brumberg      @robbybrumberg      

A warm and hearty welcome to our weekly roundup.

We at Ragan sincerely hope you enjoyed a restful, pie-filled holiday weekend, and that the links below will brighten (and hopefully enlighten) your day.

Please get in touch with any ideas, suggestions or feedback on how we can serve you better. Our aim is to help make your job easier and more enriching, as you strive to make employees’ lives better.

Here are the week’s top links on workplace wellness, HR and employee engagement:

1. Demand for health and wellness skills up 4,000%. CNBC reports that “workers have been devouring virtual training courses that help them learn soft skills to better manage their mental health and wellness.” As you look for ways to support employees through this stressful season, consider offering virtual courses that help bolster emotional intelligence and protect mental health.

2. How to meaningfully support diverse workers. A new McKinsey report finds that just “one in six diverse employees feels supported” right now. The study cites more “acute” challenges for women, LGBT employees, people of color, and parents, but they can be surmounted by policies that prioritize safety, flexibility and “targeted interventions” that meet specific needs.

3. Financial wellness must be a priority for 2021. According to Bank of America’s most recent Workplace Benefits Report, employees “crave” financial guidance. The report also reminds employers to account for huge generational gaps in terms of financial goals and priorities, and that “women need financial wellness programs tailored to their unique financial journey.” 2021 is the year of financial well-being, so plan accordingly! 

4. Using technology to boost wellness. New tools can be a blessing or a curse. TechTarget offers eight ways to “integrate technology and well-being,” including guidance on building the business case, defining an employee well-being strategy, and designing with “purpose.”

5. 10 steps to a happier, healthier workplace. Mental Health America offers productivity pillars and wellness priorities for any company, including work/life balance, manager accountability, and a commitment to transparent communication. (MHA also publishes a Work Health Survey, which features questions you might want to pose on your own surveys.) 

6. Easy wellness hits for 2021. SnackNation serves up 26 “surefire” ideas to lift employee wellness in the coming year. Try incentivizing gratitude, investing in virtual care, providing unlimited maternity/paternity leave, and enshrining flexible work scheduling.   

7. Emerging well-being trends and tactics. Entrepreneur predicts an uptick in robust mental health offerings (such as American Express’ Health Minds program), telehealth services, and the use of AI to predict employee needs.    

8. How are you promoting and tracking DE&I progress? 2021 must be a year of action—and storytelling—on DE&I initiatives. For some inspiration: Here’s how DOW is showing support for its trans employees, how P&G is honoring Native American workers, and how VF Corp is helping working parents amid the pandemic.  

9. Borrowing some great wellness ideas. Instead of reinventing the well-being wheel, why not lift a few ideas that have worked elsewhere? WellSteps offers 18 initiatives that were a hit, including “flex” benefit cards, cash for program participation, and raffles featuring great prizes for those who hit specific goals. 

10. How to thwart remote employee burnout. Gallup data suggests WFH engagement is tied directly to manager performance. Gallup writes, “Fully remote workers can have astoundingly high engagement when they have a good manager and organizational communication that helps them feel connected and supported. They thrive when they have clear expectations and receive frequent, meaningful coaching.” Gallup lists five factors that lead to burnout:

  • Unfair treatment at work
  • Unmanageable workload
  • Unclear communication from managers
  • Lack of manager support
  • Unreasonable time pressure

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