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Supporting Employees On and Off the Job

  • Published
  • 14 June 2022
  • Category
  • General

Hiring and retaining employees starts with fostering a positive environment and creating a culture where employees feel valued and respected.

Employers are encouraged to provide tools and resources to help employees thrive at work and in their personal lives. A focus on core initiatives such as educational benefits, work-life balance, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), personal safety and health, and open communication helps build and sustain a productive workforce.

Personal Development

In addition to on-the-job training, employers set employees up for success when they provide career and personal development tools such as instructor-led or online courses, workshops, videos, apps and instructional guides.

For example, financial and mental wellness resources may be offered to help employees build sustainable and happy futures inside and outside of work. This may include information about budgeting and saving, tips for buying a home and material on basic concepts like fixed-year mortgage options. These types of resources inform decision-making for long-term financial stability and better quality of life.

Many employers offer tuition assistance to employees who wish to advance their education. There are also opportunities to offer benefit packages that include traditional health and life insurance, robust paid-time-off options and company-matched 401K personal pension plans. (Refer to maximizing retirement savings.)

Work-Life Balance

With changes in the workplace and shifting cultural norms, a growing number of employees are expressing their need for a healthy work-life balance. This may involve scheduling flexibility, the ability to work from home and pacing tasks to accommodate personal pursuits. A flexible work schedule allows employees to work hours that fit with their personal life and make adjustments, as needed. A supportive work environment promotes mental health awareness. Programs that provide counseling and access to other local mental health support services are among recommended solutions.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Healthy workplaces feature environments in which employees feel included, respected and safe. A DEI committee can be assembled to develop growth opportunities and other avenues for personal development for all employees.

Diversity training may be provided at orientation and periodically to all employees on topics such as respect, unconscious bias and preventing discrimination. There are external resources and courses available to supplement internal efforts.

Health, Safety and Communication

 Emotional and physical well-being are enhanced when supervisor feedback is honest, expectations are agreed upon and instructions are clear. Many employers use functional job descriptions to identify essential requirements and refer to them when hiring, for training and when doing performance evaluations.

There are also wellness, fitness, cognitive evaluation and coaching apps available to help employees prevent and manage overuse injuries, fatigue and stress. (Register for WorkCare’s free June 23 webinar on Advances in Employee Impairment Detection to learn about virtual physical assessments and screening tools. Refer to our Industrial Athlete Program for related workplace solutions.)

Constructive performance reviews are also an important tool. Employees who feel comfortable asking questions and voicing concerns without fear of repercussions are more productive, have better morale and higher retention rates than those who do not have opportunities to be heard by their supervisor. Open lines of communication are key to an organization’s occupational health and safety strategy to foster a positive work environment and employee health and well-being.