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Why do well-being programs fail to resonate in the workplace?

Published by: LifeWorks,

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting wrapped up last month and well-being was one of the top items on the agenda.

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, shone the spotlight on the importance of the societal well-being of a nation, not just the economic well-being. From 2019, her government will present a “well-being budget” to gauge the long-term impact of policy on the quality of people’s lives.

But employers also have a role to play, as employees are looking for more than financial incentives when it comes to participating in employer-sponsored health screenings or savings vehicles. The WEF highlights that employees want to feel these programs and tools meet their needs as individuals and connect to them in a deeper, more meaningful way. No more is well-being support an obscure part of the employee benefits menu.

Well-being today cannot be considered as an isolated program or initiative. It’s a purpose-driven strategy woven into the fabric of an organization’s values and the employee experience.

The WEF referenced an integrated approach that encompasses four dimensions of employee well-being – physical, financial, emotional (or mental) and social – as key to creating greater employee engagement.

1. Physical well-being: To thrive physically means understanding and managing one’s health, taking appropriate preventive measures, managing chronic conditions, and maintaining peak functionality at home and at work.

2. Emotional or mental well-being: Being emotionally balanced means being self-aware, maintaining good mental health, being resilient by managing stress, coping with positive and negative emotional triggers, and dealing with life crises.

3. Financial well-being: Achieving the state of being financially secure means having the ability to manage budgetary commitments, meet financial goals, protect against risks, save for contingencies and cope with the unexpected.

4 Social well-being: Social well-being is about being connected by understanding how to interact well with others, accepting diversity, being inclusive, knowing how to support and collaborate with others, being able to successfully resolve conflicts and adapting to change.

According to the WEF: “Each dimension is unique and intertwined with the others. Integrated well-being begins with individuals and, when achieved, extends throughout their organizations, families and the larger community. As a result, the ideal state of well-being ⎯ physically thriving, emotionally balanced, financially secure and socially connected ⎯ places the employee at the center and is truly integrated across all four dimensions.”

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