Chad Severson is Chief Executive Officer of Ergotron. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
The past two years have invited wave after wave of changes and uncertainties for employees. The stress has taken a toll on the overall wellness of the workforce, making well-being a high priority for senior executives. Additionally, health-savvy leaders understand that supporting employee wellness goes beyond access to quality healthcare and requires a heightened focus on overall well-being.
Alarmingly, less than a quarter of U.S. employees strongly believe that their workplace cares about their well-being. This means that most organizations have some work to do around better supporting the various dimensions of employee wellness. As leaders continue to integrate well-being practices into workplace culture, it’s valuable to take a holistic approach to well-rounded employee wellness.
Promote Wellness From Day One
Supporting employee well-being starts on day one with onboarding. A robust onboarding program is crucial to set up new team members for success. In the first few vital days and weeks, organizations can lay the foundation with new hires that supporting good health is part of the culture. Whether employees work from home, in the office or hybrid, they need a space to work that supports their comfort and productivity. In the Ergotron office, all workstations are ergonomic, equipped with height-adjustable standing desks and dual monitor arms. In addition, we provide a stipend to new employees to help them create an ergonomic setup at home. And the benefits of a healthy workspace go beyond physical comfort. In our recent study, we found that people who enhanced their workspace are more likely to have seen improvements in their mental health (62%) than those who haven’t (36%).
Onboarding is a perfect opportunity to help new team members develop relationships with each other, colleagues in different departments and company leaders. Paving the way to assist new employees in building their network in the organization allows them to feel a sense of community and connection—an essential element of wellness. Over the past few years, our HR team developed an outstanding onboarding program that’s been well-received by new employees and the other leaders involved in the program. We take plenty of time to allow new team members to connect with other new hires, meet leaders across the organization and learn about Ergotron’s culture and values.
Nurture A Culture Of Well-Being
After establishing a foundation of well-being in your company culture, it’s essential to maintain it. Be intentional about keeping a consistent communication cadence about the importance of health and wellness. Use stories and anecdotes to craft compelling messages, leverage multiple avenues of communication and keep the messages fresh with new points of view.
At Ergotron, our team established a wellness program focusing on five well-being dimensions. This program serves to empower well-rounded wellness, and it also keeps employees updated on company benefits or offerings that might be underutilized. An internal website and frequent communication keep the team informed about everything from volunteer opportunities to healthy recipes, from financial wellness webinars to employee resource group events, from mental health resources to leadership development opportunities and more.
Step challenges and other forms of friendly competition can inspire people to move more and build healthy habits. Not only do exercise challenges give people an opportunity to improve their physical and mental health, but they can also foster connections among employees.
And although every organization is structured differently and requires different levels of support, we’ve found that offering a flexible and generous PTO policy makes a difference in supporting employee well-being. For example, Ergotron offers two and a half times the national PTO standard, allowing employees ample time to relax and rejuvenate.
Add Positivity To Everyday Operations
A few months ago, we began experimenting with ending leadership team meetings by sharing something we’re grateful for—by definition something positive—a successful project, a team member’s achievement or other good news. From my perspective, this was a total game-changer. Instead of walking away from meetings with a looming list of concerns and to-dos, we all walked away with deeper insight into what’s going well in our colleagues’ lives and some of the amazing accomplishments of other members of the team. It’s remarkable to see how much taking the time to focus on success affects everyone. Similarly, it’s no surprise that positive leadership can translate to business results.
As we’ve seen over the past couple of years, the way employees think about and approach wellness has evolved. As employers evolve too—approaching health from different angles and supporting various aspects of well-being—leaders can create a supportive environment that allows employees to bring their best selves to work. A company is only as strong as its people, and well-resourced employees can prioritize their own well-being and take care of the business, too.