Beyond the Paycheck: How Employee Wellness Benefits Employers

Employee productivity is up since the start of the pandemic⁠—but so is employee burnout, according to a 2022 Conference Board survey of 175 HR executives. The survey found that employees are using fewer vacation days, feeling less engaged, and exhibiting lower morale.

Organizations worldwide are finally beginning to realize how serious of a problem employee burnout is. Simply put, the pandemic has stretched workers to their limits. Employees want more than a great paycheck. They want to be well taken care of. Today, we explore why employee wellness programs are important and how organizations in the public sector can benefit from them.

What are Employee Wellness Programs?

Organizations offer many benefits to improve the lives of employees. Employee wellness programs are a roundup of helpful services organizations use to enhance employees' mental and physical health. Most often, these programs utilize several resources, including:

  • Health insurance
  • Employee challenges
  • Supplemental health apps
  • Employee resource groups
  • Workplace health and safety training

When creating an employee wellness program, it's easy to create a bandaid instead of a real solution. Organizations that want to create an employee wellness program must dig deeper to understand why their team members are stressed in the first place. If you want to keep your team members onboard, now is the time to have difficult conversations.

How Employee Wellness Programs Became More Common During COVID

COVID has put increased stress on a lot of employees. Employees who go into the office deal with the stress of how being around others might impact their physical health. Meanwhile, employees who work from home might be dealing with mental or emotional well-being issues.

To combat these issues, many HR leaders have invested in employee wellness programs to help employees deal with all these new challenges. For example, the American Psychological Association has noted an uptick in mental health app usage during the pandemic. Many organizations are offering access to these apps as a part of their employee wellness programming.

How Do Employee Wellness Programs Benefit Employers?

You might be wondering about the practicality of an employee wellness program. You may understand how wellness impacts your team, but how can it improve your bottom line? What is the ROI for employee wellness programs? Here are a few ways that employee wellness programs can benefit employers:

1. Manageable Time-Off Requests

One of the largest benefits of investing in an employee wellness program is manageable time off requests. You've probably heard some variance of the phrase, "If you don't take a break, your body will." Unfortunately, when your body takes a break, you can't typically control what happens next. Giving employees the time they need to focus on health through a wellness program will make time-off requests more manageable for them and your organization.

2. Higher Retention

Burnout is a significant reason why people leave their jobs. If you ignore the factors contributing to burnout in your organization, you can expect to deal with the issue of employees continuing to leave your organization. Employers who focus on employee wellness can help their team spot the signs of burnout and fix the problem before it's too late.

3. Better Constituent Service

When you are dealing with burnout or a negative outlook on life, taking care of others isn't always the primary concern. According to Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs, certain needs must be addressed before you can start fulfilling your purpose and thinking about personal growth. At the base of the hierarchy are physiological, security and safety needs. We've all had moments where we didn't act our best because we were struggling in our personal lives. Anything you can do to improve health and wellness for employees will help your workers and, in turn, result in a better constituent experience.

What About Employees in the Public Sector?

New research from USC Price claims that "burnout is a leading reason why local governments are struggling to keep workers and operate effectively." Nowhere is burnout a larger deal than in education, where teachers are dealing with burnout and leaving the profession in droves.

Employees in the public sector do a lot to help the community, but doing good work won't stop burnout or health issues from arising. Are there ways to improve work/life balance and make the team happier? Can you add some flexibility to sick days so employees can take mental health days? Do you have any budget for part-time or full-time help to ensure your workers are supported? It's time for public sector employers to get creative with employee wellness. Our recent webinar on mental wellness in the workplace has some great suggestions.

Key Takeaways for Public Sector Organizations

The public sector is, unfortunately, dealing with a burnout issue. Organizations must act right now to reverse the effects of stress and keep employees on board. Now is the time to think creatively and fix the issues that have been creating burnout for your workforce. There are many benefits to employee wellness programs. After all, pay is only one aspect that makes a happy team. Organizations that want to keep employees long-term must focus on supporting their workers' emotional and physical health as well.

Employees want more than a paycheck. Here's how employee wellness helps employers in the public sector (and beyond.)
Beyond the Paycheck: How Employee Wellness Benefits EmployersDOWNLOAD
Regina W. Romeo

Ms. Romeo has more than 20 years of experience in public sector human resources as an analyst, manager and director. In her role as Chief Human Resources Officer, she is responsible for managing the day-to-day HR operations and organizational development for CPS while also consulting and managing special projects for clients. Regina has worked for both large and small public sector agencies and brings a unique perspective and real-world experience to her role.

About CPS HR Consulting

CPS HR Consulting is a self-supporting public agency providing a full range of integrated HR solutions to government and nonprofit clients across the country.  Our strategic approach to increasing the effectiveness of human resources results in improved organizational performance for our clients.  We have a deep expertise and unmatched perspective in guiding our clients in the areas of organizational strategy, recruitment and selection, classification and compensation, and training and development.