What does a successful well-being strategy look like?
Published by: James Lee,
There’s a lot of confusion about what constitutes a ‘successful’ total well-being strategy. Is high usage of the Employee Assistance Platform (EAP) good or bad? Is a reduction in the number of sick days a success? Does it come down to a certain level of sign up?
The answer is in persistent engagement. That’s not just how often the tool is used but how it’s used – whether people are enjoying the experience and seeing outcomes from their interaction. It’s pretty shocking that a ‘traditional’ Employee Assistance Platform (EAP) only sees an adoption rate of three to five percent among employees. This is largely because they are not aware of the offering, they don’t really understand what it is, they don’t know how to access it, or find it inconvenient to access.
These challenges tend to manifest when framing the objective of a well-being initiative. A 2017 survey of 500 HRDs in the US carried out by LifeWorks, identified the most popular objective behind employee wellness initiatives was to ‘boost productivity’ (23 percent). Only 17 percent identified the main objective as to ‘improve overall employee well-being’.
This is a subtle but important distinction. A wellness initiative is not a quick fix to boost productivity. It’s a long-term preventative measure to improve total employee wellness, incorporating the physical, emotional, personal, social, financial and professional into a single experience, and so heading off more serious issues that could develop into long term absence. So while it’s important and very encouraging that businesses are recognising the importance of well-being initiatives, if they are deployed piecemeal and siloed, it’s multiple band aids and not a strategy. It’s also important for them to frame their main objective as the development of a healthy, happy workforce. By driving participation at first and re-engagement second, the productivity benefits will follow.
Right now, we’re looking at 55-62 percent of employees signing up to the LifeWorks total well-being platform within the first three months. This is driving a 20 percent reduction in absenteeism and 27 percent fewer sick days and as a result, an increase in productivity.
So, what does a successful total well-being strategy look like to you?