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Health & Well-being

The C-Suite’s Role in Well-being

July 21, 2022

Career well-being is one of the dimensions of well-being, and yet work often works against an employee’s overall well-being. In a survey by Northwestern National Life, forty percent of employees viewed their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. On top of this staggering statistic, many have decided they no longer wish to “stick it out” at a job that they view as detrimental to their well-being. The past two years have brought with them a major priority shift for employees across the workforce, and many are looking to the c-suite to champion change in the workplace.

According to a Deloitte survey, employees want to work for a company that supports their health and well-being and rank this as a top priority over quality of life and financial health. The world of hybrid work has been one of the leading factors behind this priority shift and has led employees to be more vocal about their desire for more support for their overall well-being from their employer. Employees are pushing for more centricity around the worker and less on the workplace, in addition to more flexibility and fluidity with tasks and the structure of the workday. Many employees are also focusing more on energy management rather than time management, by actively working to find ways to be more efficient and effective with their workday.

One thing is clear, the preference of today’s workforce is for organizations that support employee well-being, safety, and healthy lifestyles. The pandemic shined the light on the poor state of employee health and well-being, and the great impact that the workplace can have on the overall quality of life. Employees are demanding more, and leadership plays a role. There is one major hurdle though, the c-suite is largely underestimating how much employees are truly struggling with their well-being.

  • Only 56% of employees think their company’s executives care about their well-being, while 91% of the C-suite think their employees believe they care about it.
  • 68% of employees and 81% of the C-suite say that improving their well-being is more important than advancing their careers.
  • Two major obstacles and both related to work – the top two hurdles that people cited were a heavy workload or stressful job (30%), and not having enough time because of long work hours (27%)
  • Only around half of employees and two-thirds of the C-suite use all of their vacation time, take microbreaks during the day, get enough sleep, and have enough time for friends and family
  • Less than six out of 10 employees say their company embeds well-being into the workplace culture and people’s jobs

So how can organizational leaders change this? Enacting policies and procedures that cultivate a more supportive environment for the person, seeking feedback and truly listening, being as transparent as possible, and leading by example are just a few ways to begin. Some additional ways might be:

  • More engagement with employees to understand the why and how of their work
  • Office environments that are supportive of diverse workflows and reflect employee preferences, which may be outside of the traditional office structure
  • Offering robust health and wellness benefits
  • Empowering managers and leaders to become champions of workplace efforts
  • Creating hybrid work models and flexible work schedules

As the Great Resignation continues on and employers continue to look for ways to attract and retain the best talent, well-being has found itself at the top of the list. Employees are demanding more, and they expect more from their leaders now than ever before. It’s time to see the human in the workplace and support them to the best of our ability.

Emily Kral Senior Health Strategist

Emily is a Senior Health Strategist on the Toledo Employee Benefits team at Hylant.

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