The weekly Total Rewards Action Call centered on a presentation of i4cp’s well-being research and conversation between i4cp Senior Research Analyst Carol Morrison and Tim Price, Regional Lead for the Americas, People Rewards & Recognition Chapter at biopharmaceutical firm Genentech. Mark Englizian served as host and call facilitator.
Key takeaways from the call:
- Holistic, or whole person, well-being is good for businesses and individuals, alike. Morrison presented data from pre- and post-pandemic well-being studies confirming the positive links between organizations’ well-being offerings and company performance, as well as workforce well-being levels.
Providing benefits and programs that focus on employee well-being is strongly correlated to better market performance and to higher levels of employee well-being. Those same relationships were found for each of the six elements of i4cp’s holistic well-being model (physical, mental, financial, social, career, and community well-being), making the case for organizations to take a whole-person approach to well-being.
- The pandemic has driven greater focus on mental health, and Genentech leaders are emphasizing stronger connections with employees. The 2020 i4cp research found that 84% of surveyed business leaders expect the COVID-19 pandemic to drive up their organizations’ emphasis on the mental well-being of their employees.
Price described how Genentech leaders have acted on concern for the emotional well-being of their workforce by opening executive leadership meetings to employees (virtually) and enabling them to submit questions. A tech tool (PollEV) enables employees to vote on questions to be asked, ensuring that topics with wide interest are surfaced and addressed by leaders.
Price says the approach has enabled leaders to strengthen their connections to employees, address concerns to alleviate employee anxiety, and gain insight into the topics that are most worrisome to their workforce. At the same time, giving employees visibility into the ways executives address questions, offer perspectives on specific subjects, and conduct themselves in the meetings affords workers a glimpse into the demands and realities of leadership.
- Both employers and employees share responsibility for career well-being. Morrison noted that i4cp research into the multi-element model has found organizations least likely to place emphasis on career well-being. Further, while business leaders expect the pandemic to drive greater focus in all six elements of well-being, they predicted the lowest increases in emphasis would take place in career and community aspects of well-being, despite the fact that those two elements reflected the strongest correlations to organizational market performance.
Price made the point that employers and their workforces must balance responsibility for career well-being. Businesses certainly can take many steps to offer advancement, development, and growth opportunities, but he observed that those promotion options tend to narrow as individuals advance up organizations over time. For their part, employees must take ownership of their career aspirations and proactively plan for and pursue development and growth.
- Total Rewards and other business leaders can use this time to enhance well-being and think more broadly. In this unique moment in time, says Price, “companies are coming together, leaders better understand the stress employees are under, and employees are being more open about their needs. It offers an opportunity for leaders to not only enhance well-being programs, but to think about the connectedness of people in your organization and how you can advance that.”
Also on today’s call
- An instant poll during the call asked attendees to what extent they believed their organizations to be role models for investing in and practicing holistic employee well-being. The responses:
13% We are a world-class role model
21% We are an industry role model
33% We do no more or less than others
33% We have some catching up to do
0% We have little to no organizational momentum in this space
The recording of the session and its full range of discussion topics is available at i4cp’s Employer Resource Center.