One of the biggest mistakes employers make is implementing “point in time” solutions as a reaction to market conditions. It’s understandable. We want to solve problems. We have a propensity for action. When an issue surfaces, solutions need to be implemented.
None of this is bad per se. Obstacles need to be removed for organizations to move forward. However, we often see leadership look back on these solutions only to realize they are looking at disjointed pieces rather than a cohesive strategy.
Your workforce is no different. An executive will read an article that employers should have a wellness program. Human Resources is given the directive and moves into action implementing the plan. Another executive reads about the mental health crises. HR moves into action evaluating various vendors and implements a program. While each of these may be valuable to the employee, the company may face increased cost, loss of communication control and employee frustration due to something as simple of multiple usernames and logins.
A Chief Financial Officer I worked with told me that the President/CEO of their company loved this certain restaurant near their office. He loved it so much that he arranged for each employee to eat for free during the work week any time they wanted. The CEO is an excitable visionary. He had an idea and ran with it.
The CFO was flabbergasted and had to remind the CEO that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. The company’s margins were thin and while they could technically afford the program it wasn’t a judicious use of their money. After some quick calculations, the CFO explained their total exposure for these lunches was $400,000. The CEO was shocked. Immediately, he reduced the number of free lunches per employee to ten per month. This is still one-off solution to a knee jerk reaction, but at least he made it budget friendly.
You can avoid mistakes like the above and achieve clarity and context in your workforce by utilizing the following wellbeing strategy framework.
- Organizational Wellbeing – includes company culture, workforce demographics, and employee experience.
- Physical & Emotional Wellbeing – includes company group health plan, employee assistance program (EAP), paid time off (PTO) and behavioral health.
- Career Wellbeing – includes succession planning, employee surveys and career progression.
- Financial Wellbeing – includes budgeting tools, financial education and retirement planning.
This framework can bring context to any disjointed tactics that have been implemented. It can also be used categorize current programs making it a working document to use throughout the year giving you the ability to track and update new or existing programs.
By utilizing a wellbeing framework, organizations will have a better understanding of where each program fits into the big picture. Rather than looking myopically at one-off tactics such as unlimited free lunches, employers will have a more complete understanding of which programs are cost-effective and best serve their employees.