The week in wellness: How workplaces will change in 2021, Measuring financial wellness, and more

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

By Robby Brumberg      @robbybrumberg      
The week's top wellness stories

Happy New Year, wellness pros!

We at Ragan sincerely hope you had a restorative holiday season. We’re excited for a happier and healthier year, and we are eager to deliver coverage that makes a positive impact on your job. 

We hope you enjoy this week’s fresh batch of links. As always, please get in touch with any ideas, suggestions or feedback on how we can serve you better. Here’s to a better, brighter year!

1. Preparing your vaccine rollout, messaging and strategy. As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, businesses should be sharing updates with workers. The National Law Review notes that employers are mostly allowed to mandate vaccines for employees, though there are exceptions related to disability and religious beliefs. As you formulate your vaccine strategy, consider contingencies such as:

  • What are the consequences of an employee’s refusal to be vaccinated?
  • If more than one vaccination is available, how will the determination be made for which vaccination will be required?
  • If there is a limited supply, how will vaccinations be prioritized?

HR Dive offers five more crucial questions to consider before announcing your vaccine policies and procedures.

2. Pivotal employee benefits trends that will shape 2021. HR Executive posits that employers should plan to invest in mental health programs, emergency savings accounts, WFH-friendly stipends and caregiving support, just to name a few.

3. How workplaces will dramatically change this year. According to The Washington Post, be prepared for the travails to be wrought by “creepier,” AI-assisted Zoom meetings, location-based compensation “adjustments,” and more “forced collaboration.” 

Despite the ongoing pandemic, many businesses remain hesitant to codify permanent remote work. Google, for instance, plans to pilot a hybrid model that sets an expectation of being in the office three days per week. 

4. Getting the most benefit from telehealth sessions. Wired notes that it’s wise to take your time selecting a therapist with whom you’re most comfortable. Once you find the right one, ensure your internet connection is strong, don’t try to multi-task, and make a list of items you’d like to discuss.

Wired also shares several Instagram well-being and self-care resources:

Forbes also shares four post-pandemic mental health trends that will shape the new year.

5. Wellness-themed reads for 2021. Mind Body Green serves up 21 tomes to tuck into in the new year, including “Biohack Your Brain,” “How to Do the Work,” and the aptly named “I’m So Effing Tired.”

6. Measuring financial wellness progress. 2021 is set to be the “year of financial wellness.” But how can you make sure you’re helping employees in meaningful ways?

Plan Sponsor writes that “employee and manager surveys can be used to measure changes in employee morale and job satisfaction, absenteeism, satisfaction with the financial wellness program, financial stress, debt level and confidence in retirement readiness,” and that tracking data to “show changes in health insurance claims and costs, in addition to the number of employee absences and tardiness, the level of employee participation in the employer’s retirement plan, the use of retirement plan loans and in-service distributions and the participation in and use of other employee benefits.”

7. Flexibility remains top perk. A Citrix survey finds that above all else, “employees want flexibility in where, when and how they work.”

Eighty-eight percent of the employee respondents said that while searching for a new position, they seek an opportunity that offers “complete flexibility” in their hours and location.

8. Tying executive pay to DE&I outcomes? A Willis Towers Watson survey notes that companies are attempting to drive more action on inclusion and CSR initiatives by offering cash incentives for hitting targets. HR Dive writes:

“In the interest of improving equity, 73% of employers have implemented at least one diversity and inclusion initiative, while 43% have completed a pay equity analysis and 46% are engaging employees through “listening strategies.” The report also said 3 in 10 respondents created a new executive role focused on ESG strategy.”

The report finds a “stronger alignment of executive compensation plans and ESG priorities, particularly with climate change and environmental measures, inclusion and diversity matters, and overall human capital governance.”

9. The best way to maximize productivity, engagement, retention and profitability in 2021. Gallup says the key is to get managers acting as coaches, not bosses, and to help “develop employees through purposeful conversations through which they clarify expectations, analyze performance, create accountability and build on strengths.” To do so, encourage managers to consistently ask their teams:

  • What do you think is expected of you for each project?
  • What helped enable your contribution during this project?
  • How can I help you align your work with your goals and aspirations?
  • Do you see a future with our organization?
  • How can I support you in forging a flexible, personalized career path?
  • How can I coach you to support your career development?

10. Support working moms in a pandemic. Corporate Wellness Magazine offers helpful reminders on how companies can support the superheroes in their midst.

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