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Workplace well-being: the next generation of employee benefits packages

In the not-so-distant past, offering employees health insurance and retirement benefits was adequate for enticing talent to your company. The times have changed. Today, employees look for a more well-rounded package of benefits that focuses on more than compensatory perks. To be sure, health insurance is still a heavy hitter, but it’s joined by a dizzying array of other nice-to-haves such as onsite massages, free meals/snacks, company merchandise, mental health assistance and financial wellness programs, gym memberships, and flexible work schedules.

Unfortunately, for human resource professionals, sorting through the numerous program offerings and benefits platforms can be a challenge – one that’s time-consuming and not easily researched or compared.

Human resources expert Josh Bersin recommends you work through five specific steps when creating a corporate well-being program:

  1. Understand and focus on workforce health.
  2. Set up a well-being program.
  3. Examine a wide range of options.
  4. Align your well-being program to performance-related programs.
  5. Connect to your corporate sustainability and responsibility programs.

Step 1: Understand and focus on workforce health.

One important step in determining effective measures to improve employee health and well-being is to examine the health of your staff. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 6 in 10 American adults have a chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. Conditions such as these result in higher healthcare costs, some of which can be offset by taking measures to encourage healthier habits. Some employee engagement programs encourage users to drink more water, walk/move more, make healthier nutritional choices, etc., but determining what to focus on should start with understanding what your employees currently struggle with.

Step 2: Set up a well-being program.

The second step Bersin advocates is to establish your workplace wellbeing program. To ensure your employees’ differing needs are best addressed, you will likely want to segment your staff. For example, workers who travel extensively might focus on exercise, nutrition, and sleep, while onsite production workers might be more interested in wellness initiatives that help them prevent repeated movement injuries and stay healthy in loud, hot, or physically demanding conditions. Additionally, office workers might be more interested in other initiatives such as mental health assistance programs, financial planning seminars, work-life balance workshops, and goal-setting sessions.

Step 3: Examine a wide range of options.

There are a number of employee well-being programs available, but the best have one thing in common: They offer integrated solutions through a single platform. Doing so enables employees to find support and program information easily, centralizes useful data for both employer and employees, and permits customization so you can refine the program offerings over time. 

Step 4: Align your well-being program to performance-related programs.

The best programs don’t exist independently of other HR initiatives; they integrate with them. To ensure the sustainability of your employee well-being efforts, you’ll want to connect the well-being programs with employee surveys and leadership development initiatives so that everyone at your organization understands how to achieve optimal performance by championing health, fitness, mental health, and career development. 

Step 5: Connect to your corporate sustainability and responsibility programs.

Companies that are successful with establishing and promoting well-being programs often extend these initiatives to foster community improvement. Workplace well-being programs can also be used to support volunteerism among your employees and enhance individuals’ commitment to social responsibility, for example. 


Today’s employee-focused companies do well to look beyond physical wellness and consider a more holistic view of their employees, one that helps people with managing stress, parenting, financial planning, personal development, career coaching, and opportunities to participate in community activities. Need help sifting through the abundance of well-being programs on the market? Culture Innovations can assist you in determining your company’s needs, assessing the range of options, and choosing the best program to support both your business goals and hopes to inspire a holistically healthy staff.


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Nancy Benthien & Jill Knocke

Nancy Benthien & Jill Knocke

We are a transformative force for leaders who are committed to creating and sustaining healthy, successful organizational culture.

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