Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Value of Employee Well-Being

Employers often deploy wellness programs in a vacuum, limiting the focus of what they address, such as a “know your numbers campaign” or a financial wellness plan. A total well-being strategy is a holistic view of well-being, breaking down benefits that were previously viewed separately. Health, financial wellness, life, and the workplace are all intertwined to improve overall effectiveness. An effective well-being strategy and measurement plan connects the dots between health, financial, work, and life (see Figure 1).

Heathy and less stressed employees are more productive and more focused or “present” employees. This productivity and presenteeism leads to a healthier bottom line.

comparison chart of health, life, finances, work
Figure 1

According to a Willis Towers Watson survey, companies with higher levels of well-being:

  • Achieve levels of employee engagement that are two times higher than those of other companies
  • Report higher revenue per employee, lower health care costs, and fewer days lost
  • Have fewer than 70% stressed employees.

Read my previous blog, Current State of Health Benefit Strategies, to learn more.

Employers continue to report that employee well-being is extremely important:

  • 82% of employers think it is important to enhance well-being over the next three years.
  • 41% of employers say they have made progress on enhancing employees’ total well-being over the past three years.

The lack of health and/or financial wellness is the foundation of causal relationships. Financial stress and poor health extend to other facets of well-being, causing low levels of happiness and engagement.

According to an article from Fidelity, employee debt is strongly associated with workplace productivity:

Employees with the highest levels of debt have twice the absenteeism of those with low debt.

People with poor health are also more likely to be absent from work and less likely to be financially well (see Figure 2).

The most effective way to implement and measure total well-being strategies and plans is to unlock data from each of your benefits programs. Analyzing integrated data will help you quantify the true cost of employee well-being, and will indicate the optimal strategies to address problem areas.

clip art of average number of days missed at work
FidelityFigure 2 | Source:

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