A Whole-Person Approach To Caring For Employees
Marissa Morrison is the Vice President of People at WELL Health.
As a people leader, I’m incredibly passionate about building a whole-person-centered employee experience that supports individuals fully throughout the milestones of their personal and professional lives. As humans, I believe we are designed to seek connection, feel that we belong and find the space to show up authentically as our whole selves. What’s more, showing up as a whole person looks different during each life stage.
When I started my journey with WELL Health, one of my most trusted mentors asked me what I wanted to build and how I wanted to make an impact in my new role. I feel strongly that the most meaningful gift we can provide one another is the ability to become the best version of ourselves; however that looks to each of us.
I wanted to bring the support aspects that light us up and make us whole as humans to the workplace and create a whole-person-centered employee experience. What I didn’t know was how much I would learn about how companies can care for their employees from how our customers—healthcare institutions—are striving to care for their patients.
In business, employers have the power to focus on providing more connected care to better support employees through each new stage in their personal and professional lives.
Successful healthcare institutions treat the whole patient—employers can and should care for their whole employees.
Over the past years, healthcare providers have realized that preventative care is important, but the mental and spiritual needs of their patients are of equal value. Helping patients take care of all aspects of their health leads to healthier, happier patients overall and, in the end, can lead to better care outcomes, which is better for everyone’s bottom line.
Why shouldn’t employers take this same approach?
By recognizing that employees lead full lives in and outside of work and providing support both personally and professionally, employers can better equip their workforces to truly achieve success.
So, what does a whole-person culture look like in the workplace?
Employees are complex and diverse and have whole, rich lives outside of work. Whole-person benefits and culture is an investment in effective, accessible benefits and programs to support all employees and nurture their whole self. Simply put, it means benefits beyond the basics.
The sky is the limit on programs that can support and enrich the whole employee. Some of the well-rounded benefits and cultural programs that employers can implement are:
• Mental health benefits and support.
• Fertility and family planning benefits.
• Robust parental leave plans.
• Workplace flexibility (i.e., where, how and when work is accomplished).
• Individual advanced learning.
• Internal mentorship programs.
• Child and older adult care support.
• Financial education and tools.
• Social support networks.
• Spiritual health opportunities.
Employers should look at their current offerings and see where there’s room for improvement.
Workplaces can implement whole-person benefits and culture programs.
As we set out to create a whole-person-centered experience at my organization, the first thing we did was ask our employees what benefits and programs matter most to them. While it’s impossible to implement every idea and recommendation, it’s beneficial to constantly iterate and keep your employees in the loop.
The next step in creating a successful whole-person employee experience is implementing ongoing surveys to assess a program’s success. A regular check-in with employees can quickly tell you what’s working and what can be improved upon.
Finally, the most important step in creating this whole-person employee experience is to constantly be curious. My team and I strive to always be learning through researching new and innovative benefits and programs that will support our employees. Through connections at other companies across industries, social media groups and human resources publications, you can keep a pulse on benefits trends and topics of which you need to be aware, along with an open mind on how you can get creative to implement quick wins.
Employers should know that great benefits don’t just matter to employees—they are essential. It’s a physician’s goal to prevent illness in their patients through the promotion of a healthy lifestyle, and as such, it should be an employer’s goal to create programs that can support their employees’ whole health. That’s something worth building and a way that all people leaders can make an impact.
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