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Trends Shaping Engaging Employee Wellness Programs

The landscape of work is continuously evolving and so is the understanding of employee benefits. Organizations are utilizing innovative strategies to prioritize their employees' mental, financial, and physical health.


Beyond Physical Wellness 

With virtual and hybrid models being common ways organizations operate, leaders must focus on creative approaches to wellness benefits. Wellness is more than encouraging physical fitness with a gym membership. Recognizing that taking care of the mind is as important as taking care of the body, some organizations now offer subscriptions to meditation apps like Calm and Headspace or online therapy sessions like Talkspace and BetterHelp. According to a Calm for Business survey, “76% say that mental health benefits were critical to them when evaluating a new job.” This statistic shows how important it is to offer and showcase balanced health benefits when recruiting.


Many companies also incorporate “pencils down” or wellness days into their programs, one day off a month for employees to do something fun for themselves. This wellness day initiative gives employees who may not be inclined to take their PTO days regularly a way to unwind and prevent burnout. These designated days also help employees feel they can truly disconnect from work, as there should be no emails and calls on those days, making it easier to catch up on rest and rewind.


Other ways of addressing wellness that have become increasingly popular are home-office stipends, flexible schedules, and a focus on professional development. Job satisfaction is directly related to your environment and whether you can see a path for growth. Offering courses on both technical skills for their jobs and soft skills like emotional intelligence and relationship building will help with organizational growth and development.


Expanding Financial Wellness Programs

Money is a top stressor for employee’s and concerns have only increased by inflation pressures throughout 2023. In 2024, employers are extending their wellness programs to include financial education and support. This will help contribute to a more secure and stable workforce. Financial stress can significantly impact an employee's mental and emotional health. To better accommodate the unique needs of a multigenerational workforce, employers are extending their wellness programs to include a variety of financial support and education.


Employers should consider some of the most common personal financial goals of their employees as they determine which benefits to offer:

  • Building an emergency savings

  • Navigating cashflow changes

  • Managing debt

  • Preparing for significant life events, like starting a family, elderly care

  • Saving for retirement

Employers can offer financial wellness programs that vary in complexity which may include virtual personal financial planning meetings, tuition reimbursement and seminars. Many organizations already have access to some of these trainings through their Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) offered through your health benefits carrier. Employers should raise awareness by encouraging employees to explore financial wellness resources and support options available via their EAP. Financial wellness is a critical component of well-being and can make a difference in both retention and as a competitive offering to candidates.

Technology Integration 

With the development of artificial intelligence (AI) development, apps are now expected to go beyond fitness tracking. They may also feature nutritional advice, personalized wellness plans and create space for mindfulness each day. AI-driven apps will be a part of preventive health care and can help manage already present health issues. Personalized data empowers employees to gain deeper insights into their health, enabling them to make better informed choices regarding their well-being and lifestyle. May organizations are leveraging this technology to improve their employees’ well-being experiences and benefit packages. Paying for wellness resources, apps, and continuing education on the importance of mental health can also be beneficial.

Some hurdles when implementing a wellness program are ensuring that the wellness initiatives you are providing are what your employees are looking for and equitable, determining the budget that will work for the organization, and ensuring that there is enough communication surrounding the new initiatives or benefits. Organizations must understand that wellness is an ever-evolving benefit that has one of the biggest impacts on the overall employee experience.

Contact Kiwi Partners HR Services to expand your wellness offerings.



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