There’s no downplaying the benefits of employee wellness and wellness programs. Workplace wellness initiatives can improve morale, boost productivity and lead to overall healthier employees.
Recently, employee wellness has taken top priority as workplace stressors like inflation and layoffs rise, leading to increased stress in the workplace. All HR needs to do is implement wellness initiatives and provide these resources to employees, right? Not so fast.
Even with a solid wellness program in place, employees aren’t always using wellness benefits when they truly need them.
Employees are stressed, but that’s not the whole story
It’s no secret that employees are stressed. Almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents said they experience moderate or high levels of stress, according to Alight’s 2022 international workforce and well-being mindset report.
The study also found that:
- 34% of workers reported symptoms of burnout
- One in three employees felt that their employer does not care about their well-being
- Only 15% of U.S. and U.K. employees are aware of employer-sponsored stress-management programs
- Of those who were aware of stress-management benefits, only 23% used it, and
- More American respondents (43%) are stressed about long-term financial planning than any other country.
“These sentiments demonstrate a disconnect in employees’ views of their workplace well-being benefits, as large employers have continued to make significant investments in workforce well-being benefits and programs,” said Ellen Kelsay, president and CEO, Business Group on Health, in a press release.
How to help nudge employees toward wellness programs
If employees aren’t utilizing the resources they need, how can HR help to push them in the right direction without overstepping boundaries? Here are a few tips for helping employees find the mental health resources they need:
- Make employees aware of available wellness programs: Programs that are created with employees in mind and personalized to the needs of your workforce are a great step forward – but make sure employees know about what your company offers with reminders and training for online resources.
- Continuously educate employees on mental health and resources: There is still a stigma around receiving help for mental health, so employees who are aware of resources may be apprehensive to use them or think they can’t help their situation. You may want to provide education in a quarterly or bi-annual meeting to remind employees that it’s OK to seek help and ensure they know where to find it.
- Be on the lookout for signs of struggle: An employee in the throes of stress or burnout may not even be aware of the effect that it’s having on their mental health. Stay on the lookout for signs that an employee may be struggling and offer resources when appropriate. But be careful not to push employees toward a single solution for their mental health. Instead, offer what you can and give them the autonomy to decide what’s best. Sometimes just a simple reminder about mental health resources can help give on-the-fence employees the push they need to seek help.