The 5 tools to foster a happier, healthier workplace

April 6, 2021 - 14 min read

three people around a conference table smiling

Fifty-five percent of workers are “languishing," struggling with the daily stressors of life both in and out of the office. Unfortunately, not all employer health programs provide employees with the well-being tools they need to flourish.

Many organizations do a phenomenal job prioritizing employees' physical well-being, providing such tools as health insurance, gym memberships, annual health screenings, and more. But when it comes to mental well-being, companies often miss the mark. There’s an assumption that if people aren’t mentally ill, they must be mentally healthy. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) focus on pathologizing rather than providing proactive mental health support.

But just as there are varying levels of physical fitness, there are different degrees of mental fitness as well. When we have access to the right tools, we can engage in exercises to improve our health — both physically and mentally — and create a customized wellbeing plan that works for us.

Employers should prioritize workers’ mental health as much as physical health by providing tools to minimize stress and improve well-being, These five offerings benefit not only the employees but also the organization as a whole.

Tools and practices for mental fitness aren’t one-size-fits-all. That’s why BetterUp Care’s personalized approach to mental well-being is so effective. Its combination of coaching, counseling, learning opportunities, and mental health resources are customized to each individual, thanks to industry-leading data and AI technology.

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    1. Personal coaches

      Whether or not they require clinical care, all employees need some level of support. That’s why every worker needs access to a coach.

      “When someone starts to fail or has problems at work, HR will often say, ‘L et’s get him or her a coach,‘" writes global industry analyst Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin & Associates. "So it has felt more like a bandaid than a vitamin, so most of us never got a coach."

      Coaches provide the support that workers need to thrive by helping them work toward personal and professional goals. It’s analogous to working with a personal trainer to achieve fitness goals.

      Coaching is a billion-dollar industry for good reason: It works. Personal coaches allow people to be vulnerable and enable them to grow, and coaches help people utilize this growth to meet goals and overcome challenges at work.

      Not everyone wants to be paired with a coach or is comfortable working one-on-one, though. That’s why BetterUp Care offers a variety of options, including personal coaches, group coaching sessions, and text-based support from more than 2,000 coaches in 32 languages. BetterUp Care selects coaches for each individual based on their unique needs and preferences.

      With BetterUp Care’s on-demand coaching, someone is always available to provide your employees with support whenever it’s needed.

    2. Licensed therapists

      Some employees want or need more than a coach — they need a therapist. But just because they have access to mental health professionals through their benefits doesn’t mean employees will take advantage of it. In fact, 30% to 80% of people with mental health issues don’t seek treatment, according to the World Health Organization.

      The stigma of mental illness is part of the problem, but BetterUp Care makes mental health less intimidating. When a person begins BetterUp Care, they take an assessment, which looks at key mental health indicators. It identifies those people who could benefit from clinical care and offers to match them with a licensed therapist they can work with to improve their mental health.

      Connecting workers to clinical help at the moment they need it increases use and provides workers with the assistance they need before a condition worsens, ultimately reducing the organization’s healthcare costs.

    3. Resources that promote physical thriving

      Mental health affects physical health, so tools that promote better sleep and help workers establish healthy eating patterns are key parts of an employee's mental health program.

      Sleep affects every aspect of our lives, from our health to our work performance. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of U.S. adults don’t get enough sleep.

      Regularly getting fewer than six hours of sleep negatively affects the immune system, and it makes people 48% more likely to die of heart disease and 15% more likely to have a stroke, according to the American Sleep Association.

      Sleep also affects virtually every part of our day — focus, productivity, stress levels, and more. It even affects companies’ bottom lines. In fact, there’s an estimated productivity loss of $1,967 per worker, annually, due to poor rest.

      BetterUp Care connects employees with sleep specialists to help them catch more quality Z’s. Rest is the behavior that improves the most through BetterUp coaching.

      Eating habits are another key factor in employee happiness. Proper nutrition improves concentration, cognitive function, and creativity, and it can increase productivity levels by 20%, according to the World Health Organization. Employees with unhealthy eating habits, on the other hand, are 66% more likely to report a decrease in productivity, negatively impacting profits.

    4. Digital learning programs that improve behaviors

      Workplace training shouldn’t be limited to building role-specific skills. Consider also providing wellness programs that teach employees about resilience, work-life balance, stress management, financial health, and more to help them thrive.

      BetterUp has more than 2,000 pieces of learning content available, covering everything from how to give effective feedback to how to be a better leader. This educational content is available in a variety of media formats, so workers can learn what they want, when they want, and how they want.

      The content was developed by subject-matter experts and designed to drive long-term behavior change. Plus, it’s AI-powered and suggests relevant content to employees at the right time to help them flourish.

    5. Heightened support through transitions

      Major life transitions affect workers both personally and professionally. These situations require resources to help employees not only cope but also thrive, and it’s in businesses’ best interest to provide them.

      Working mothers, for example, account for 32% of all employed women. But the challenges of motherhood make it difficult for women to work. Today, only 40% of women return to full-time jobs after parental leave, and 30% of new mothers consider quitting their full-time jobs after parental leave. COVID-19 has only exacerbated this problem.

      The loss of these working women is a loss of knowledge and skill in the workplace. Organizations can boost retention by providing employees with resources to cope and thrive during the transition.

      Companies whose working mothers utilized BetterUp parenting specialists experienced a “ 63% increase in retaining new mothers after six months of personalized coaching.” Employees learned self-compassion, energy management, goal-setting, stress management, and more.

      "My coaching sessions were essential in helping me get through pregnancy and have resulted in me being happier, healthier, and more productive overall," one BetterUp participant said.

      But BetterUp Care isn’t just for new mothers. There are countless changes that occur at home and in the workplace — a company acquisition, a promotion, a move across the country, or a death in the family, just to name a few — and employees need to learn resilience so they can adjust.

      Working with BetterUp Care coaches and specialists gives employees the skills they need to adapt to changes both big and small, resulting in a 35% increase in change readiness in just three to four months.

    BetterUp CareTM customizes well-being tools to individuals

    Tools and practices for mental fitness aren’t one-size-fits-all. That’s why BetterUp Care’s personalized approach to mental well-being is so effective. Its combination of coaching, counseling, learning opportunities, and mental health resources are customized to each individual, thanks to industry-leading data and AI technology.

    When care is designed to meet people where they are and grow with them, it’s incredibly effective. We can see that in BetterUp users’ results: Coaching is linked to 77% less stress, a 35% reduction in burnout, 34% more engagement at work, 22% more creativity, and 65% greater happiness.

    When your people thrive, your company thrives.

    Ready to take your leaders to the next level? Try a demo of BetterUp.

    Published April 6, 2021

    Elizabeth Perry

    Content Marketing Manager, ACC

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