As companies begin to shift back towards in-person work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEOs and CHROs are facing a number of challenges when it comes to implementing and maintaining workplace wellness programs. These programs, which are designed to promote the physical and mental health of employees, have become increasingly important as the pandemic has highlighted the need for support and resources to help employees manage stress and maintain their well-being.
One of the main issues facing CEOs and CHROs is the need to adapt workplace wellness programs to the new hybrid workplace. With many employees continuing to work remotely, it can be difficult to provide the same level of support and resources as before. Additionally, there may be limitations on what types of activities and programs can be offered in a hybrid workplace, as well as difficulties in measuring the effectiveness of these programs.
Another issue is the need to address the unique needs and concerns of different groups of employees. For example, employees who are working remotely may have different needs than those who are working in the office. Additionally, employees who are dealing with the effects of the pandemic, such as mental health concerns or financial stress, may require additional support and resources.
Extended challenges exist beyond those previously mentioned as well. Kim Chernecki, our featured thought leader in this blog series explains, “as service providers, the key is recognizing and respecting how busy and challenged these CEOs and CHRO leaders are. And when you're approaching and engaging them it's critical to meet them where they're at and have conversations around what their top priorities are. And focus on that. Never try to pitch or sell somebody on something that isn't a top priority because you know what, they won't hear you. It's not a priority. You cannot be tone deaf.”
Another key takeaway from Kim’s message is to always lead with value. “Offer insights, like some special reports, webinars, etc., that directly address those top-of-mind priorities because they really value that,” she explains. With employee wellness a big part of that, Kim expresses that talking about those bigger issues that they really care about will capture their attention and your message can then be heard. According to Kim, when it comes to service providers, “the key to success is in developing strategic partnerships. Align yourself with HR consultants who are doing the big strategic work of shifting cultures and have trusted relationships with HR leaders.”
Shifting to statistics, a recent survey conducted in Canada found that 71% of employees reported feeling stressed due to the pandemic, and 64% reported experiencing anxiety. Another study found that employees in Canada were more likely to report high levels of job stress and burnout than employees in other countries. In the US, a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 64% of Americans reported that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health, and another survey found that 66% of Americans reported feeling stressed due to the pandemic. A survey by Gallup found that 74% of American employees reported feeling burnout.
And those stats mentioned previously aren’t exclusive to just employees under HR leadership. HR leaders are also facing challenges in their day-to-day roles as they work to implement and maintain workplace wellness programs in this new hybrid workplace. One of the main challenges is the need to communicate effectively with employees and provide them with the information and resources they need to maintain their well-being. This can be difficult in a hybrid workplace, as there may be limitations on face-to-face interactions and employees may be spread out across different locations.
Another challenge is the need to ensure that workplace wellness programs are inclusive and accessible to all employees. This includes addressing the unique needs and concerns of different groups of employees, as well as making sure that programs are available to employees who are working remotely.
Finally, HR leaders must also be prepared to adapt and evolve workplace wellness programs as the situation surrounding the pandemic continues to change. This includes staying up to date on the latest research and guidelines related to employee well-being, as well as being flexible and responsive to changing needs and concerns.
To further emphasize what Kim mentioned earlier – where the executives within the organization are concerned – it is imperative that we realize all individuals, leadership included, are feeling the same pressures. They just stem from a different set of circumstances or job role within the organization. And we as service providers can glean a lot from this understanding as we begin to reach out and offer them our solutions around their top priorities. If we are to be successful, we must be certain that we understand their needs, their challenges, etc. As Kim so perfectly stated, “meet them where they’re at.”
Overall, as companies shift back towards in-person work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEOs and CHROs are facing a number of challenges when it comes to implementing and maintaining workplace wellness programs. These programs are important for promoting the physical and mental health of employees and addressing the unique needs and concerns of different groups of employees in the new hybrid workplace. HR leaders play a key role in implementing and maintaining these programs and addressing the challenges that arise in this process. Kim asserts, “really make yourself a valuable resource and develop strategic partnerships with those you are connecting with so that they’ll have a one-stop-shop of offerings.”
Be on the lookout for the next blog in this multi-part series!
➡️ To view our full Sept. 2022 Virtual Wellness Intensive Replay, CLICK THE LINK:
➡️ Interested in a Workplace Wellness Plan for your organization? Book a 30-min. consultation with eLifestyle CEO, Wellness Culture Synergist and Executive Wellness Expert, Leah Epstein Armstrong!
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