We’re in the midst of the Great Resignation with employees leaving their jobs in pursuit of other opportunities at the highest rate in decades. People are resigning for a number of reasons — NPR cites better pay, more flexibility, and jobs better aligned with values as top motivations.
Individuals also are lending more thought to how they are valued by employers, and how employers care for and invest in their workforce. In other words, many employees are leaving because they do not feel that their employer cares about their well-being. One Gallup Poll found that in April 2020, just 48% of those surveyed believed their employer cared about their well-being; by March 2021, this number dropped to 35%.
Employers may be able to reverse this trend and limit the impact of the Great Resignation within their organization by taking steps to increase conversations about wellness in the workplace, improving your employee wellness offerings, and raising awareness of and participation in these offerings. Here are some steps employers can take:
- Engage in conversations about employee needs. To best understand what your employees need to feel cared for, actively listen to their concerns and ideas. Surveys, townhalls and regular check-ins with employees are great places to start. Give individuals ample opportunities where they feel safe communicating what they need. Try to better understand what resources are working well and what ones need to be improved or added to best address employees’ physical, mental and emotional needs. Don’t just listen — use this information to act and address common concerns expressed by your teams. This will help employees feel cared for and heard, two important factors in employee well-being.
- Define what well-being means for your organization. “Well-being” might not mean the same thing to every person or team — research from Gallup indicates that making sure the understanding of the term and its implications are clear for your organization is important. Work with leadership to define it and consistently integrate it into employee and executive communications. When employees have a better understanding of what their organization is striving for in terms of wellness, they will be better able to invest in the goal on a personal level.
- Actively promote your employee wellness offerings. Many employers offer employee wellness programs — but only a fraction of employees might know they exist. Work on increasing promotion of well-being benefits to both new and current employees. Partnering with leadership can be especially effective. If company leaders are actively participating in and promoting wellness initiatives, it is likely that other employees will follow. Leading by example is essential for better integrating employee wellness into company culture.
- Leverage employee engagement to promote wellness. Of course, wellness programs are only successful if employees who know about them also use them. Leveraging your leadership team is a good first step — so is actively communicating with employees about their thoughts on the program. Look for feedback and use what you learn to make adjustments. Especially as many individuals and companies continue to work from home, well-being offerings may need to shift similarly.
- Recognize and celebrate the progress employees are making on their wellness goals. By listening to feedback and recognizing achievements, you can help turn employees into well-being program ambassadors. These success stories and personal experiences could encourage even more employees to engage in wellness offerings — especially when their voices are amplified throughout the organization.
It’s a tough time for employers as turnover rates rise in many organizations, but a renewed focus on employee well-being can help. There are many programs available — including through your health plan. For example, Priority Health offers a free well-being platform, Wellbeing Hub, to every member and has an employer-sponsored wellness program, PriorityWell, to help employers create vibrant, healthy workplaces.
Tom Spring is the director of well-being and health engagement at Priority Health. In this role, he leads the company’s health and wellness initiatives that are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Priority Health’s members.