Corporate social responsibility has taken on a completely new look since we all started staying the social six feet apart and began doing our jobs from home. Gone are the CSR programs focused solely on giving campaigns or matching gifts – the future of CSR is creating a holistic environment for employees to bring their whole selves to work and feel as if their full personalities, interests, and needs are being just as nurtured and developed as their professional ones.
A dynamic pillar of CSR we saw evolve in 2020 was employee wellness. Caring for one’s wellness on simply a personal level can be an extremely diverse and vast subject, reaching areas topics like mental health, physical health, nutrition, belonging, community health, social health; even the basic needs of survival from Maslow’s Hierarchy: water, food, shelter, sleep, and oxygen.
As employers centered in on the whole employee approach, events dedicated to nurturing the wellness of employees started popping up across the world. Wellness focused on three needs areas:
- Personal Health
- Mental Health/Belonging
- Community Health
Personal health is an important area of the employee that corporations should be focusing on. Already, many corporations provide gym access or workout apps for free or at a discounted rate with benefits. But personal health is so much more than just fitness. An employee’s personal health can be contributed to their financial wellbeing, their nutrition, and their knowledge – All or which are opportunities for an employer to step in and provide wellness resources and educational opportunities for employee growth.
Mental health is not only having its moment in the corporate space but in society in general. With apps like Calm and Headspace becoming mainstream, talking about mental health and related concerns has never been more accessible. But that doesn’t mean that corporations are doing enough to include and hone in on wellness techniques to provide the complete environment for their employees.
According to Sharehold’s report Redesigning Belonging, employees who feel a high sense of belonging in their organization are 18 times more likely to receive promotions and take 75% sick days than employees who feel unseen or unaccepted by their corporation.
Community health is often the pillar of employee wellness that goes unnoticed but is the area in which corporations can truly make the largest impact. It is proven that giving your time or your money back to your community makes you feel better (Harvard Business Review). Providing employees the opportunity for community outreach benefits their wellness and the communities they are serving, while making them feel more united and supported by their company.
As you can see, there are many different routes to approaching employee wellness and also many possibilities for corporations to develop programs that benefit the lives of their team members. Here are just a few ways to kick-off employee wellness within your organization this year:
- Leverage local mental health NPOs who provide free resources. Include them on internal communications and drive employees to help by donating or if not possible, simply sharing through social media. Reward those shares!
- Engage friendly competition! Encourage employees to keep an organized work space, separate from their home life so they can detach. The best work space set-ups, plant gardens, and desk innovations get a reward!
- Partner with your benefits team! Start small by dedicating part of your CSR site as a place for employees to quickly access information about what benefits are available to them that center on health and wellness. Maybe it’s information on gym membership reimbursement, company-wide discounts on apps, or how to access Employee Emergency Assistance benefits like relief funds and telehealth counseling.
- Bonus- if you have an existing Employee Resource Groups structure, consider making ERGs centered around wellness topics like Runner’s Club, Caregivers Group, etc.
- Bring in the community. Host a Mental Health & Wellness Day to fundraise for local nonprofits that provide wellness activities to underserved areas in your community. Invite food banks and community gardens that are looking to eradicate hunger through healthy options!
- Make it a month. If nutrition or wellness really resonates with your business and CSR pillars, consider hosting an annual Mental Health & Wellness Month. This is another great way to partner with HR leaders and your Benefits team to engage employees in wellness activities. You can host step challenges throughout the month and award Cause Cards to the winners, host virtual cooking classes, fundraise for relevant NPOs, and provide volunteer opportunities for employees to get out in the community in partnership with relevant NPOs to work in community gardens, food distribution, workout classes, etc.