Study: Recognizing employees holistically boosts engagement, productivity.
Employers and employees agree that everyone wins when work and life blend and enrich each other, according to Met Life’s 17th Annual US Employee Benefit Trends Study 2019. “Employees need an ally, and employers can play this role by creating a workplace that not only recognizes employees holistically but supports them holistically as well,” the study authors say. A holistic workplace is one that provides enriching experiences, an accepting culture, and guidance that enables employees to achieve their personal goals.
It is important to identify and address stressors that get in the way of employee happiness and productivity. The study found that looking ahead at the “what ifs?” of life cause anxiety for workers. For instance, 72% of employees surveyed for the study say they are concerned about being able to afford the cost of healthcare in retirement, and 68% worry about outliving their retirement savings.
Elsewhere, 67% of workers have fears about having money to pay bills if someone loses their job and being able to cover out-of-pocket medical costs; 66% worry about their ability to rely on Social Security/Medicare in retirement. About half of employees surveyed say that they expect to postpone retirement due to their financial situation.
Employees say that efforts to help them with their financial stress is what they most need to thrive in the workplace and at home. About 6 in 10 say that an appropriate salary is important, and 5 in 10 say that better benefits are key to thriving. The study authors note that “support in the form of financial wellness programs, retirement plans, and a broad set of benefits can play such a crucial role in helping employees manage the unexpected and plan for the future.”
The study reinforces the idea that employee satisfaction has many advantages to the organization. Results show that employees who are happier at work are more satisfied with their job, as well as more loyal, engaged, productive, impactful, and successful. Study authors observe that trust in the employer’s leadership and its commitment to employees’ success is the greatest contributor to workplace happiness. They identified other contributors including a culture where employees are encouraged to share ideas and individual opinions, a workplace coworkers feel like family or friends, and benefits customized to meet employee needs.
Employees see work as more than 9-to-5 drudgery, the study concludes. In fact, they view their job as a key part of who they are as individuals. Nearly two-thirds (59%) of employees agree that “work defines who I am.” That number is slightly higher (66%) for millennial and Generation Z workers. Employees also want employers to appreciate them as individuals. A vast majority (89%) say they want an employer who is known for respecting workers’ out-of-work lives.
Moving forward, those employers that recognize employees individually and holistically are more likely to flourish and weather the storm of a tight employment market. The study authors observe, ”To recognize employees’ whole selves, employers must find ways to honor them as individuals and invite them to bring their full identities to work.