What Taking Care of Your Employees Really Means

HR is evolving with more focus on employees. But what does taking care of employees really mean? My company, LifeWorks, teamed up with HR.com to find out.

Our research found that building a workplace culture around employee well-being is the best way to truly develop and support talent. While employers are making strides in helping employees live happier, healthier lifestyles, piecemeal wellness benefits and programs aren’t cutting it.

Here’s what employees are thinking and how you can improve their overall well-being:

I Want To Be Healthier

Step challenges and healthy snacks are increasingly common in today’s workplace. But is it enough?

We found a major disconnect between employer and employee perspectives — almost two-thirds of HR professionals think they are helping employees manage their health and well-being, but only half of employees agree.

Go beyond the break room fruit bowl. Build your culture around overall employee well-being, which includes both physical and mental health.

Start education initiatives to show employees how to cook healthy meals. For example, host cooking demonstrations or provide employees with discounted memberships to meal kit services like HelloFresh.

Align education initiatives with monthly, health-related themes to engage employees in fun fitness challenges. If you focus one month on weight loss, host a month-long weight loss challenge.

To help employees set and track their own health goals, assign health action plans and give each employee a notebook. This way, they’re regularly engaging and evaluating their lifestyle habits.

I Want to Build My Career

Our research found it’s important to enable your employees to reach their full potential. And it’s linked to several best practices, one of which is crucial to your culture — working together. Of the employers who said they enable employees to be their best, 81 percent create a collaborative team environment.

Develop an employee-to-employee learning program so they learn what they want and teach others about something they know and love.

Employees want to grow professionally. Our research found that professional development is a must, especially if you want to retain talent — more than 70 percent of employees are willing to find professional development in a new job if you don’t offer it.

Providing professional development opportunities shows that you believe in your employees’ future with your company. Aside from a peer learning program, design career action plans that are specific to each role.

When employees feel like they’re supported, are encouraged to collaborate, and are shown professional development opportunities, they’re far happier and more enthusiastic about coming to work, which improves employee well-being.

I Want to Be Seen as a Person

Employees are more than numbers, and they want to be seen that way. So, show how meaningful their work is.

The good news is, according to our research, 79 percent of employees consider their work to be meaningful. However, of those who don’t, 68 percent are looking to leave.

Start an employee recognition program built around fun traditions that align with your culture, so they see how their performance matters.

For example, Button, a tech company that connects apps to commerce brands, personalizes their recognition. Each Friday, employees ‘nemonate’ their peers for going the extra mile, passing around a plush Nemo from the Pixar film Finding Nemo.

Also, encourage employees to try new tasks outside of their role. For example, Intuit offers ‘unstructured time,’ where 10 percent of working hours is spent pursuing a passion project.

Employees are happier and more engaged when they’re treated like people, not just an asset. It starts with you and how you build and maintain a positive workplace culture that celebrates people and employee well-being over profits.

Graham Shaw is the Director of Sales at LifeWorks, a company that delivers holistic and comprehensive well-being – physical, emotional, financial, professional & mental – through meaningful and purposeful technology and services. Follow LifeWorks on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.