Aug 21, 2023

The Importance of Employee Wellness: 5 Key Initiatives to Prioritize

As workplace well-being continues to evolve, companies must prioritize employee wellness initiatives. 2023 continues to be a pivotal year for the employee well-being movement, with all indications pointing to a renewed focus on treating employees as more than just resources.

As workplace well-being continues to evolve, companies must prioritize employee wellness initiatives. 2023 continues to be a pivotal year for the employee well-being movement, with all indications pointing to a renewed focus on treating employees as more than just resources. Employees are increasingly seeking recognition, appreciation, and a sense of belonging in the workplace, which underscores the importance of prioritizing employee wellness. Notably, thriving employee well-being has numerous positive outcomes, including reduced sick days, enhanced job performance, improved stress management, and less burnout. Employers who prioritize and lean into employee wellness initiatives this year will see a direct impact on their organization’s success, making it essential to care for their people and innovate their wellness programs into the future.

We put together 5 key employee wellness initiatives that continue to be impactful on both the organization and the employees.

1. Expanded Mental Health Resources

The prevalence of stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions in the personal and work lives of many employees remains a major concern. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up more conversations around mental health, leading to increased transparency and empathy, particularly in the workplace. As attitudes continue to shift for the better, employers are recognizing the need to prioritize mental health support for their employees through various resources and benefits.

The results of the American Psychological Association’s 2022 Work and Well-Being Survey validate that employee expectations related to mental health support are changing, with 71% of workers believing their employers are more concerned about employee mental health than in the past. Moreover, over 80% of employees agree that mental health support from their employers is a crucial consideration when evaluating job opportunities.

Employers who prioritize their employees’ mental health can expect to see healthy employees who take fewer days off, contribute to positive workplace culture, and are more productive. One effective approach to addressing mental health is to incorporate it as a fundamental part of overall healthcare offerings. In addition, employers can expand telebehavioral health services, employee assistance programs (EAPs), and leverage the use of mental health apps. Employers who offer diverse healthcare resources that encompass behavioral, emotional, and social services will ultimately improve their workforce’s overall well-being.

2. Advancement of Health Equity

The pandemic has brought health disparities to the forefront, revealing the influence of underlying social and economic challenges, such as access to healthcare, income, and childcare, on overall well-being. In response, some employers are taking steps to make employee benefits and wellness programs more affordable and inclusive to address health inequalities. The ultimate goal is to ensure that all employees have access to the healthcare they need. Employers may initially focus on general goals to assist employees in managing chronic conditions, receiving necessary prenatal care, or addressing severe acute needs, such as cancer.

Moreover, certain health insurance providers are partnering with local, state, and federal governments to enhance health equity and ensure that all Americans have equal opportunities to achieve their best health. Employers can choose to work with providers who prioritize making healthcare more affordable and accessible to all employees. By supporting efforts that advance health equity in the communities where employees live and work, employers have a unique opportunity to help employees maximize their full health potential.

3. Increased Focus on Hybrid Work-life Balance

As work arrangements continue to evolve, employee wellness programs must adapt to meet the demands of the current workforce. Remote and hybrid work setups are now commonplace in many organizations, and the lines between work and home can become blurred, leading to physical or mental health concerns and increased burnout.

To combat these issues, employers can offer robust resources and support, particularly for hybrid or remote employees. A holistic approach is necessary, addressing all aspects of the body and mind. Health plans may include access to mental health professionals and assistance dealing with stress and depression. Additionally, companies can increase schedule flexibility or offer time off for mental health or recharging to support varying personal responsibilities.

As more organizations operate in hybrid or remote settings, employees expect comprehensive wellness offerings from their employers. Companies that focus on employee satisfaction and retention will see positive results. By offering such wellness programs, employers can ensure that their employees are healthy, productive, and engaged, leading to a thriving workforce.

4. Expanded Financial Wellness Resources

Financial wellness is a top concern for many employees, and the recent economic uncertainty has only heightened that. As companies prepare for the possibility of a recession, they are uniquely positioned to support employees with much-needed financial guidance and educational resources.

Employers should be aware of the most common financial goals of employees, which include:

  • Building an emergency savings
  • Navigating cashflow changes
  • Choosing the proper health insurance and benefits
  • Preparing for significant life events
  • Saving for retirement

Employers can reduce employee financial stress by exploring financial wellness resources and support options and offering attractive programs for current and prospective employees. Financial wellness is a critical component of overall well-being and can be a competitive offering in today’s labor market. By providing the right resources and support, employers can help employees achieve their financial goals and reduce stress in their personal and professional lives.

5. Mental Health Training for Leaders

To ensure the mental health and well-being of employees, it is essential for company leaders to have the necessary training to handle issues as they arise in the workplace. With the right training, managers can learn how and when to take appropriate action.

While 70 percent of executives believe they are promoting a positive work environment, including work-life balance and encouraging PTO, the reality is that only 53 percent of professionals feel encouraged to take PTO, and even fewer (46 percent) feel supported to take time off for mental health purposes like therapy. This disparity highlights the need for leaders to prioritize mental health and wellness, starting from the top down. When leaders drive people-first initiatives, they help build a company culture where employees feel valued, leading to higher engagement, satisfaction, and efficiency, ultimately improving the bottom line.


As we head into the halfway point of 2023, mental and financial wellness will continue to be significant points of focus for employees. It’s never too late to start. Organizations of all sizes can begin by evaluating their current wellness initiatives and identifying areas for improvement. It is important to survey employees to understand their needs and preferences and ensure that the offerings and investments will be valuable to them. By prioritizing employee wellness and offering comprehensive benefits, organizations can help employees manage the short- and long-term impacts of the changing workplace culture and the current economic landscape.

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