From virtual fitness options to employee care packages, telehealth to mid-meeting meditations, wellbeing in the workplace is shifting—especially amid the pandemic. In response to COVID-19, and aided by technological advancements, many employers are adapting their wellness programs to better support their employees.
Companies are now offering benefits such as free access to fitness videos, mental health time off, and events like ‘Coping with Anxiety and Supporting Well-being During COVID-19.’ As wellness at work changes, with a specific focus on emotional and mental health, does the role of internal communicators also shift?
Here are five ways internal comms can better support employee wellness in 2021.
How Internal Communicators Can Support Employee Wellness
- Collaborate with HR. Although wellness initiatives are likely woven throughout your organization, HR holds the knowledge about current and future employee benefits—things like virtual therapy sessions and employee assistance programs (EAPs). If you want to advocate for employee wellness and mental health in your workplace, start by collaborating with HR. Help them write better promotional content and organize campaigns for participation, rather than just availability announcements.
- Promote resources that are available to employees. Understanding the new resources that are available to employees—things like teletherapy and stress management programs—is only step one. To effectively promote those resources, highlight the various benefits in multiple communications, including your newsletters and employee webinars.
- Communicate policies and changes. Since change is ongoing in response to COVID-19, your wellness benefits may be changing too. If you’re like 53 percent of employers who are addressing the emotional impact of COVID-19, you may now offer things like virtual therapy with waived copays, childcare support, and telemedicine. Help relay these specific changes to employees, and reiterate program availability and benefits more than once to encourage participation.
- Simplify HR and insurance jargon. When employees don’t understand their benefits, they’re less likely to use them. The consequences are low participation, decreased employee health, and wasted company investment. This is where internal communicators shine; You know how important it is to communicate clearly and inspire action. Take the time to simplify HR messaging and humanize insurance jargon.
- Normalize discussions about mental health. With one in five adults experiencing mental illness each year, mental health topics and resources will resonate with a large percentage of your employee base. Host regular discussions and event programming to destigmatize these conversations within your organization.
Wellbeing in the workplace is changing, trending toward genuine support of emotional and mental health, in addition to physical wellbeing. As communicators, you have the ability and responsibility to promote valuable resources to employees, communicate changes, simplify HR and insurance jargon, and normalize the discussion. Start by collaborating with HR to understand what’s available at your organization, and how best to promote your wellness programs and assist employees in 2021.