Latest wellbeing movement: Supporting employee wellbeing
2020 has been a difficult year. While 50% of Canadians reported that their mental health worsened after the onset of physical distancing, an employee-specific survey shows that 3 out of 4 employees have experienced negative effects on their health and wellbeing because of the pandemic. In response, 63% of Canadian employers are actively investing in, or planning to invest in, employee wellbeing.
What’s an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)?
As defined by Canadian telemedicine company Dialogue, an EAP “is a benefit program funded and implemented by employers or plan sponsors to help their employees or members navigate personal and work-related difficulties.” They aren’t new, but they’re changing with the times and are becoming less about crisis or illness management and more about improving wellbeing overall.
EAPs in the news
Thrive Global, founded by Arianna Huffington, is a community that empowers members to improve their mental resilience, health and productivity through new actions and microsteps over a period of time. Recently, Thrive Global partnered with Walmart to launch a wellbeing platform for Walmart employees. It encourages accountability and even social sharing among employees, with cash prize incentives for achieving goals.
How EAPs help both businesses and employees
A Canadian report shows that employees with access to an EAP reported better mental wellbeing than those who without access to an EAP. A 2014 study showed that unaddressed mental health issues cost $50 billion a year or $13,000 a year per employee for individual employers. Our sense is that the prevalence of unaddressed mental health issues—and the cost to employers—has increased substantially since 2014. And yet, the upside for employers who invest in their team members’ wellbeing is also substantial in the form of having happier, healthier, more productive and loyal employees.
At Felicity, wellbeing has always underpinned what we do and how we work as a team. We’re guided by the mantra “happy workers = happy clients = business success.” A recent way in which we let this mantra guide us is turning our annual Urban Retreat format on its ear this year with “Screw It: The Un-Retreat 2020.” Rather than our typical day-long, in-person activities, we held two shorter sessions on separate days via Zoom: a COVID Q&A session with an epidemiologist, and a “mindful venting” session with a coach to facilitate.
What are you doing to support your employees’ wellbeing? What more could you be doing moving into the new year?