Attracting and retaining talented employees with workplace wellness programs
Benefits 4 minute read

Attracting and retaining talented employees with workplace wellness programs

Julie Bevacqua | September 24, 2019

Recruitment and retention are the goal of any HR professional. More than ever, employees want to be seen as people. It's essential that organizations invest in their people using workplace wellness programs for recruitment and retention.

The modern workforce is transforming before our eyes. As CRO of Rise People, I’ve seen the impact firsthand.

Workforce evolution

Millennials have become the majority workforce demographic; Gen X now accounts for 51% of leadership roles globally; and Baby Boomers are choosing to retire later. Adding to the mix, the Gen Z (categorized by Statistics Canada as people born 1993-2011) is making its first foray into the workplace. By 2020, it’s estimated Gen Z will account for 20% of Canada's workforce. It’s a tidal shift that will continue to make waves across all facets of the organization and marketplace.

In our dealings with Canadian companies of all sizes, we’ve witnessed people managers struggling to meet the needs of the new diverse workforce, with 65% of HR professionals reporting challenging recruitment conditions. On the retention front, the average employee tenure is only four to five years. It’s time to get creative if you want to win the talent war.

What drives employees?

With four generations in the workplace, employers are juggling vastly different expectations. Millennials value meaning and purpose in their roles, with a particular focus on community and social change. Gen X employees are seeking flexibility, autonomy, and balance as they deal with the care of aging parents, raising children, and attempting to carve out quality family time. Baby Boomers value monetary rewards but may also be motivated by flexible retirement planning, peer recognition, internal promotions, and high levels of responsibility. 

And with unemployment rates sitting at one of the lowest rates in 10 years (5.7% as of July 2019), employers have to get the right mix of salary, benefits, and corporate culture if they hope to attract top performers and, more importantly, retain the good people they have. 

At Rise, we have our ear to the ground in the people management space and have observed HR professionals struggling with this issue across all industries and business sizes. So what are employers to do? 

While salary is still important across all demographics, people are no longer solely motivated by money. They’re looking for more options and more work flexibility. A robust benefits package that includes a creative workplace wellness program can serve as a serious differentiator as the war for talent heats up.  

Recruitment strategies to attract and retain talent

Savvy HR leaders are capitalizing on the link between employee wellness and their ability to attract and retain top talent. Indeed, 84% of employers recognize employee health as a key piece of an enterprise talent strategy, while 94% of CEOs believe a health and wellness program is essential to attracting top talent.

High turnover is extremely costly for organizations. A significant majority (87%) of employers felt that improving retention is a “critical” or “high” priority for their organization over the next five years. From the employee perspective, one survey reported that half of all professionals would leave their workplace if their wellbeing needs were not met. 

As employers get wise to the evolving needs and expectations of today’s workforce, they’re bolstering their employee wellness options in order to boost talent acquisition and retention efforts. And as the concept of employee wellness transitions from basic disease management programs to a holistic approach that encompasses all aspects of employees’ wellbeing—including physical, mental, financial, social, and career—people managers are getting creative and offering a wide range of wellness benefits to appeal to all demographics.

Some examples of wellness program offerings include the following:

  • Paid time off for volunteer work
  • Financial education workshops
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Nutritious meal and snack options
  • On-site yoga classes
  • Remote work options
  • Biometric screening
  • Smoking cessation program
  • Mentorship programs
  • On-site childcare
  • Company fitness challenges
  • Mindfulness workshops
  • RRSP planning sessions
  • Unlimited personal days
  • Gym membership
  • Stress management program

Does your organization have a comprehensive employee wellness program in place? Are you reaping the rewards of a healthy, happy and engaged workforce that isn’t constantly scrolling LinkedIn for their next opportunity? Does your company stand out to prospective employees with benefits and perks that appeal to multiple demographics throughout their employee journey?

To help you better understand how to strengthen your recruitment and retention strategy with a workplace wellness program, I’d like to share the latest e-book in our Health & Wellness in the Workplace series, Workplace wellness as the secret weapon for talent strategy.

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