The Society for Human Resource Management defines employee engagement as “the connection and commitment employees exhibit toward an organization, leading to higher levels of productive work behaviors.” The reason employee engagement is critical for organizational success and growth is due to its connection to employee satisfaction and retention.
If you're looking to boost your own employee engagement, you have to think outside the box. In today’s modern workforce employee engagement goes beyond break room coffee and beer on Fridays. In order to truly get the kind of engagement that is meaningful and lasts, you need to think about expanding your program's horizons to include health and wellness initiatives. Providing wellness-focused things like schedule flexibility helps reduce stress, which allows them to focus fully at work and be happier while doing so.
Related: Best Practices in Wellness Program Incentives [Guide]
Here are our top tips for incorporating health and wellness into your employee engagement strategy to get the biggest impact.
1. Consider the Whole Employee
While health and wellness often invokes a physical connotation—such as exercising and eating well—going beyond just physical wellness is taking an approach that considers the whole person. Your strategy can encompass financial wellness, such as workshops or coaching on how to save for the future or get out of debt, or mental wellness, such as as stress reduction and avoiding burnout in the workplace. Considering all of the facets of an employee’s life as it exists both inside and outside of work will help round out an employee engagement strategy and ensure that the “wellness” piece of health and wellness is used broadly.
2. Develop a Wellness Culture
Developing a “culture of wellness” is a tall order. In order to make this tactical, start small. Provide nutritious healthy snacks, encourage physical activity, allow time for employees to cope with stress. These are all small changes companies can make that don’t cost a lot of money, don’t take a lot of time or effort to implement, but can show signs of change and support for employees in the constant battle for health and wellness that most adults face today. The support of an employer in this type of situation helps employees feel broadly supported, leading to greater employee satisfaction and employees wanting to remain with the company for longer. Starting small can lead to big changes.
3. Never Stop Evolving the Program
Change is a constant in business. Make sure your employee engagement strategy and your health and wellness program never stop changing and evolving. Resistance to change shows weakness in an organization and (maybe even worse) it makes an employer seem out of touch and rigid. The modern corporate environment doesn’t feel so “corporate” anymore. Get employee feedback and always make sure your program fits your people.
Employee engagement and health and wellness may seem like separate initiatives your organization needs to take on. However, they overlap more than you’d think. Take a holistic look at your employee engagement strategy and health and wellness may answer more questions and solve more problems than you initially intended.