Imagine a workplace initiative enabling employees to improve their lives based on their goals and needs. Employees receive the tools and resources to nurture their mental health and increase their happiness, meet their short and long-term financial goals, get involved in their local community, feel more connected to colleagues and loved ones and become better versions of their physical selves. In addition, this initiative is widely recognized for its role in positively influencing business performance and employees’ experience at work. And because of the value it offers, it’s a critical part of the company’s workforce strategy.

Welcome to the future of well-being at work.

Workplace initiatives that address multiple areas of employee lives are the new norm.

Two pivotal changes are transforming wellness programs as we know them, bringing us closer to the future-state described above. First, employers are broadening their focus from physical health to multiple dimensions of well-being; and second, employers are demonstrating that the value of employee well-being far exceeds health care cost savings alone and can positively impact organizational performance.

Holistic well-being programs

Workplace initiatives that address multiple areas of employee lives are the new norm. According to data from the National Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments, in 2017, the majority of employers included the promotion of emotional and mental health, financial security, community involvement and social connectedness in their well-being strategies. Common offerings are resilience, mindfulness and happiness programs, financial education and counseling, student loan repayment benefits and company-organized volunteer opportunities. Hand-in-hand with these offerings is a trend toward expanded leave policies (including parental, bereavement and caregiving leave), paid-time-off for well-being activities during the work day and the redesign of offices to better support employee health and well-being.

Demonstrating the impact

A growing number of employers are working with their vendor partners to show that employee health and well-being influences high value outcomes that go beyond health care cost savings and productivity gains. For example, the nation’s largest health insurer has helped a number of large employer clients correlate employee health care decisions with company-specific key performance indicators like net promoter scores, injury rates and customer complaints. Additionally, a large retailer has demonstrated a statistically significant correlation between stores that participated in their signature well-being challenge and store performance.

In today’s corporate climate characterized by cost management, competition for talent and pressure to accelerate innovation and performance, companies must prioritize the well-being of employees and their families — and bring their organization into the future.