Moving From a Wellness Program to a Well-Being Program

A holistic well-being program can increase employee engagement with work and the company and improve employer performance, according to speakers on a recent webinar.

By Rebecca Moore | April 24, 2017
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“Most companies probably have used wellness and well-being interchangeably,” noted Barry Pailet, vice president, products, at Preventure, during a webcast.

But, he explained that wellness is associated with health and disease prevention, while well-being is associated more with happiness. “Well-being tells us people perceive their life as going well,” he said.

According to Pailet, there are five elements of well-being as it pertains to the workplace:

  • Culture – an organization’s underlying values that drive employee behavior;
  • Engagement – strong emotional connection of coworkers with work, teams and their company;
  • Organizational support – intentional commitment of companies and regular nudges to encourage well-being;
  • Well-being – state of optimal health, happiness, and purpose, comprising a holistic approach to physical health, financial well-being, stress and personal and work life; and
  • Whole-person approach – holistic, evidence-based approach recognizing that all these things affect a person’s life and happiness.

In the current decade, the industry has watched wellness become well-being, including physical, financial, social, community and purpose, Pailet said. These things intertwine and contribute to workplace well-being.

He cited a poll that found nearly 50% of Americans worry about personal financial issues during work, while nearly 30% manage personal finances on job. Of this group, 46% said they spent two to three hours each week managing personal finances on company time.

Pailet concluded that employers need to focus on well-being program participation, which will increase employee engagement with work and the company and improve employer performance.

Laura Walmsley, chief client officer and partner at Preventure, said topics that should be included in a well-being program, other than physical wellness, are stress, financial wellness, balance, resiliency, purpose, gratitude, time management and relationships (professional and personal).

She also suggested employers should personalize the program for participants: it should not just include generic requirements. In addition, provide the program using multiple mediums from which participants can choose for their convenience, and include coaching with a personal touch—using connected devices where people can reach out, or provide in-person or call-in coaching. Also, employers should include incentives with meaning—tying charitable rewards to activities or offering rewards for families, such as amusement park passes.

NEXT: Making well-being a part of corporate culture and strategy