Bring your dog to work, gym reimbursement, on-site yoga and quiet rooms – pre-pandemic, these wellness incentives were top-flight perks that companies bragged about. Now, they seem quaint and woefully lacking.
As we head into 2022, the face of workplace wellness has officially changed. Employees are going through difficult times and their struggles are real. If you want proof, simply look at the great resignation currently in progress. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 4.3 million American workers quit their jobs in August 2021, representing 3% of the workforce.
People are leaving companies for various reasons: Burnout, toxic culture, lack of childcare, rigid work schedules, mental health and the burden of caregiving for children or elderly parents in a pandemic.
Rethinking the Value of Wellness
“Ten or fifteen years ago, it might have been all about your health plan and maybe your 401(k), but now, increasingly, employees are looking for support services in our wellness programs," says Jeannie Tomlinson, head of corporate health and wellness at The Hartford.
Support services in this case may address an employee's physical, social, emotional and financial wellbeing.
Eli Doster, chief talent officer at Insight Global, a national staffing company with offices across 33 states, offers up a powerful anecdote. Last spring, Insight Global held a lean-in campaign on mental health, offering employees access to Headspace and Peloton. They also provided leaders training on how to recognize signs of stress, burnout or mental health vulnerabilities within their teams.
“One of our leaders noticed something going on with one of his employees coming in late, not producing as well and being erratic with his behavior," Doster says. “The leader approached the employee in a safe, supportive way, only to find out he struggled with substance misuse and suicidal ideations. The manager immediately directed the employee to the right wellness support where he entered an external program.” Today, Doster shares that the employee, an ambassador in the company’s Peer Support Network program, credits his manager with saving his life.