April 26, 2024

Implementing a Total Rewards Program Built Around Employee Well-Being

In our last blog, we discussed the importance of the different aspects of employee well-being — mental, physical, and financial well-being, as well as personal development opportunities in the workplace. 

You understand the importance of creating a total rewards program focused on your employees' overall wellness. Now it's time to build out and implement your employee wellness-based total rewards program. We'll show you how.  

Weaving employee well-being into total rewards 

We know the impact financial stress, burnout, and poor mental and physical health have on how employees show up to work — they're less engaged and less productive.  

But we've also seen that businesses embracing employee well-being initiatives have increased employee engagement by nearly 6% (and some upwards of 70%) and saw more than a 65% increase in both productivity and employee satisfaction. 

If you want to reap the productivity and engagement benefits from a wellness-focused total rewards program, do these three steps before implementing your strategy:

Choose the right combination for your employees

You’re building your total rewards program around employee well-being, so start with your employees. Send out surveys to see what they care about most and build your program around that. Then, strategize how you can deliver the best versions of those benefits. 

It's tempting to include everything, but you don't want to offer half-baked benefits because you've spread yourself too thin. If employees want more mental health benefits, maybe focus on mental health days and an EAP instead of trying to pack in every single single mental well-being benefit.

Also consider giving employees options — if someone prefers commuter benefits over a gym stipend, allow them the freedom to choose. And if they want beyond the maximum you provide for any benefits, like more EAP therapy sessions, you can offer tiered benefits that discount services, but it's no longer free. 

Communicate with employees and make access simple

Even the best total rewards offerings can fall flat if employees aren’t aware of the benefits, how they work, or have difficulty accessing them. Be sure to set up a clear communication strategy that's transparent and easy to understand. Employees are likely to have questions, so it’s a good idea to prepare answers to FAQs and assemble a list of additional resources beforehand.

You'll also want to encourage participation by making it near-effortless to access and use their benefits. Whether it's a single app where they can access all their health and wealth benefits or a place to manage their finances, ease of accessibility is paramount.

Recognize and reward participation

Did someone take a company-funded course and get a promotion because of it? Share these well-being successes across the organization to show why employees should participate in these programs and what they can achieve.

You can also get creative about incentivizing healthy behaviors, like hosting a company-wide step challenge and rewarding the winners with gift cards or company swag. 

Once you've decided which benefits to include, set up a communication plan, and established how you'll recognize and reward participation, it's time to roll out your well-being program.

Implementing your well-being program 

Supporting employee well-being looks different in every organization, but there are a few strategies any company can execute. But make sure your well-being program is more than a one-off — Culture Amp and Calm's employee well-being eBook suggests fully integrating the program into your culture. We recommend these strategies: 

1. Get leadership on board 

Help leadership buy into your well-being program by emphasizing the business case and connecting employee well-being to your mission and values. Change starts from the top down, so C-suite participation is a must.  

Do you encourage employees to take mental health days, but everyone in the C-suite still works? Your employees might not be comfortable taking the day off when execs, or even their managers, are working. Get management to lead by example instead. 

Culture Amp and Calm also suggest working with leadership to get budget behind your employee well-being initiatives. A few ways to do that include: 

  • Show the return on investment 
  • Highlight the potential costs of not investing in employee well-being 
  • Share why the program is worth it — quantitatively and qualitatively 
  • Give them evidence that supports the need for a well-being program 

2. Get employees involved

Let's say you create your program, complete with the benefits you think your employees will love, only to find out they don't care about most of those perks. Now, you have to go back to square one. Or, you could build a program based on what your employees want and need from the start.  

Employee surveys are the best way to:

  • See what matters most to your employees before you build your well-being program 
  • Uncover where you fall short after you've launched it 
  • Gather regular feedback, especially after you add more benefits or make changes

They also give you insights — straight from your employees — into what benefits they're using, their level of awareness about benefits, what's working, what's not, and whether they're participating in the well-being program. Use this feedback to iterate and improve your program over time.

3. Streamline the delivery

Communication is one of the most crucial parts of your well-being strategy. If no one knows about your well-being program, how it works, or how to access it, participation will be almost none.  

Here's what you can do instead:

  • Send company-wide communications announcing the launch of your well-being program. The effectiveness of your program depends on your ability to get the word out across your organization. Hanging flyers in the office, sending out emails, and creating a dedicated Slack channel can work, but it's best to use channels everyone at your company uses. Do people ignore emails but actively engage in your company portal? Share the launch there.
  • Share resources. Help your employees understand the benefits of participating in your program and offer support through an FAQs page, an ask me anything meeting, videos, or written materials that walk employees through how to access and use their benefits. Make sure to promote these resources (and often). 
  • Unify your benefits. Employees don't want to spend hours trying to figure out how to access their benefits or put them to use. Bring as many of your benefits together on the fewest platforms possible so employees can easily find and use their benefits. They should be able to open a website or mobile app and quickly view what's available to them.

4. Track and measure 

After you've launched your well-being program, track and measure the results to see where you need to make changes.  

Start with measuring participation rates. How many employees have enrolled and actively participate in your well-being activities (like step challenges)? These metrics will help you see the overall interest in your program, but it's worth digging a little deeper. Look at demographic data to see if there are groups who are more active or not enrolling in your well-being program to ensure your benefits are inclusive and accessible to all. 

After you've reviewed participation, send out employee surveys to gauge: 

  • Employee satisfaction. Send anonymous employee net promoter score (eNPS) surveys to see if your well-being program has had a positive or negative impact on employee satisfaction. Use a mix of open-ended, multiple-choice, and yes/no questions to get a complete picture of your employees' satisfaction levels and to encourage them to submit suggestions. 
  • Employee productivity. Countless studies have tied employee well-being to increased productivity. You'll want to measure metrics like absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee turnover rates. But surveys can also give you insights into how employees feel about their workloads, ability to get their work done, and more, which all tie to their productivity. 

Once you've collected and analyzed the data, adjust your well-being program or strategy based on the findings. But remember to reevaluate regularly, using the feedback you get from employee surveys to guide any changes. You don't always have to make sweeping changes like rolling out new initiatives. It could be simple adjustments.

With benefits dashboards, you should be able to track these metrics on your own. But you'll need to work with the talent acquisition (TA) team to track how your employee well-being program impacts recruiting and hiring. 

In a highly competitive job market, even the smallest advantages can make a big difference. A robust well-being program could be the differentiator, especially as the next generation of workers wants to work with companies that align with their values and prioritize wellness. Ask your TA team how candidates respond to it — are they excited, do they have questions, does it include what they're looking for? 

And when an employee leaves, ask how they felt about the well-being benefits. Employees can often be more candid with their feedback on the way out. These conversations might provide insights into areas of improvement.

Ready to get started? 

A total rewards program built around the well-being benefits your employees care about most is the first step toward higher employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. They're enticing benefits for any organization but don't rush it. Be intentional about what you include and involve employees. Set up a communication plan and measure the results so you can make impactful changes. 

Once you're ready to implement, we're here to support you in rolling out the benefits in your well-being program. OneSource Virtual (OSV) delivers in-tenant technology and expert services to automate the administrative, transactional tasks of Workday Benefits. With over 1,000 customers and a 95% customer retention rating, OSV is the leading exclusive provider of Workday Business-Processes-as-a-Service (BPaaS) solutions. 

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