Nicole Mixdorf

How to Support Employee Wellness and Retain Top Talent During the Pandemic: Nicole Mixdorf

As the pandemic rages on, companies everywhere are scrambling to find ways to support the well-being of their employees. Stress levels are at an all-time high, and employees are experiencing burnout in record numbers. On top of this, turnover rates are climbing as employees seek out new opportunities in a hot job market, a trend coined as “The Great Resignation”.

Everyone knows the tremendous costs of turnover – It’s roughly 150% of someone’s salary to replace them when you factor in recruiting fees, loss of productivity, ramp up time, bonuses for the right candidate, etc. Retaining top talent in this market should be a priority for every business.

Fortunately, both issues can be addressed by implementing a comprehensive well-being program for mental, physical, emotional, social, and financial health. Employees are stressed out, stretched thin, and overwhelmed with the pandemic, which is affecting focus, morale, and health outcomes. Providing resources and tools to support them through this challenging time helps employees feel appreciated, which goes a long way toward job satisfaction.

What to look for in a comprehensive wellness solution

With a multitude of solutions on the market, it’s important to get clarity about the vision for wellness within your business. What is your reason for wanting to implement a wellness program? What behaviors or health outcomes are you looking to change? What kind of culture are you trying to foster that a wellness program can support?

Most companies still have remote workers, making a virtual wellness solution an ideal option for greater engagement. But what should it include? Before landing on a solution, it’s always valuable to gather feedback from your staff to better understand their needs and interests. Have you done a pulse survey to see how your people are feeling and what areas of support they need right now? This is always the best place to begin so that you can find solutions that fit their needs.

After gathering information from your team, reach out to your insurance company and see if they can give you data on your Top 10 health care claims for the year. It’s always a wise strategy to incorporate programming that addresses specific health conditions that your staff is already dealing with. That allows the programs to feel more personalized and relevant.

Do you want wellness challenges? Mental health programs? Fitness programs? Nutrition programs?  Inspirational or motivational content? Therapy sessions? Team building activities? Or do you want a comprehensive platform that includes all the above? Narrowing down what you are looking for will guide you toward the right solution.

In general, a comprehensive wellness strategy will incorporate elements of physical, mental, emotional, social, and financial health. The idea is to support the whole person, providing them with access to resources that will help them in all aspects of their lives. You want your people showing up happy, healthy, balanced, and motivated each day. That’s a success strategy to spark greater innovation and results in the business.

Other considerations to keep in mind are ease of use, reporting and metrics, and promotional strategy. You can have the best program in the world, but if you don’t promote it well internally, it won’t succeed. It’s important for leaders to walk the talk. How can they lead by example, demonstrating the importance of self-care? Another element to consider is whether you have the internal resources to design and manage a wellness program, of if it’s easier to hire a wellness consultant to drive the initiatives for you.

Communication is key.

The most important way to keep your employees engaged is by talking to them, listening to them, and helping them feel valued for their contributions. Retain your top talent by reimagining your culture to be one of health, diversity, inclusion, collaboration, and appreciation. Offer attractive benefits, a positive work environment, and greater flexibility. Gather insight from your people as you map out your return-to-work policies. Determine what level of flexibility and responsibility you wish to give your employees regarding when and where they work, keeping in mind that this can be a major factor in their overall job satisfaction.

Employees have been through a lot since the start of the pandemic, which has affected each person in a unique way. We are facing a mental health crisis due to the fear, trauma, isolation, and uncertainty associated with this pandemic that has no end in sight. Don’t shy away from the difficult conversations. Talk about the stigma of mental health as you encourage participation in the wellness initiatives that you choose to provide. Drive well-being into your corporate culture by encouraging walking meetings, or by starting Zoom team meetings taking a few collective deep breaths to release tension and feel more grounded. Your people will appreciate it, and it will help them feel supported in showing up as their best selves each day and doing their best work.

Nicole Mixdorf is the Chief Wellness Officer at Balance by Nature, an award-winning employee wellness company. She was recently awarded as a Top 100 Healthcare Leader in the World, and as Most Influential Woman in Corporate Wellness Services USA 2021. You can find out more about Balance by Nature’s programs at www.balancebynature.com.

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