One thing we know at Limeade is that wellness isn’t just about physical health – in fact, that’s only a sliver of the pie. While biometric screenings and health risk assessments are important for setting benchmarks (and we’re all about both), employee well-being is really about engagement. This is much broader than health and includes things like having personal finances in order, living a company’s values and access to a variety of wellness resources, training programs and new hire processes. That’s why we ask our customers to include all of these areas when developing their wellness programs.
Another key factor in engagement is career development. In fact, a 2012 study from Aon Hewitt notes that career opportunities are the top driver when it comes to employee engagement. With a sobering 70 percent of U.S. workers disengaged on the job, making career development a component of your wellness program is an absolute must.
So just how do you do that? By creating challenges that move employees along and up the ladder toward opportunities that capitalize on their strengths and desires. Here are three we love:
- Career Chat: Many companies encourage employees to discuss their career path with their manager, but most don’t reward them for doing so. So be the change here – provide guidelines on how to have an honest conversation about career wants and needs, as well as setting goals, then offer a relevant incentive to those who accept the challenge.
- Above and Beyond: We love stretch assignments, when employees get a chance to take on a new project outside the realm of their normal gig. Maybe they’re into it because they want to expand their skillset, or they’re just curious about another team’s work. Either way, make sure people know you support this type of thing and encourage employees to talk to someone in another group about possible opportunities. Reward those who take a stretch assignment and offer bonus points for sharing their experience in your employee newsletter, at a team meeting or even a Lunch & Learn on this very topic.
- Mentor Power: Great leaders often cite the value of guidance they received from a dedicated mentor throughout their career. Bill Gates has looked to Warren Buffett for advice and support, Oprah was mentored by the late Maya Angelou and even Plato gleaned wisdom from Socrates. Mentors who have been-there-done-that can help employees develop professional goals and advise on turns along the career path – at all phases of their journey. In exchange, people who mentor others find it a satisfying relationship and a great way to reflect on and learn more from their own experiences. If you don’t offer a mentoring program at your company, start one – and reward those who participate, either as a mentor or a mentee. It’s a more fun and fulfilling road to career development than just taking a workshop or attending a conference, and it gives colleagues a chance to connect in a meaningful way.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we kick-off a month-long series on how to change your wellness program into an employee engagement program. We’ll be sharing our tips for how to successfully route to external resources, engage your employees in on-boarding initiatives and even share how to launch challenges around your company values.