Why employee well-being must be at the heart of your company culture

HR Comms Trends for 2024 - Centering Around Employee Well-Being

We’ve made it to our fifth and final blog on top HR communications trends for 2024. 

Last but certainly not least is mental health and employee well-being—an important discussion that needs to go beyond chair yoga or a walking challenge. Employee well-being must become an integral and strategic part of your culture and communications given its undeniable impact on your company’s success. 

Since 2020, discussion around employee well-being has gained significant momentum and will continue to do so in 2024. In fact, employee well-being was one of the biggest differentiators for companies that ranked among the 2023 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For—83% of employees at these top companies reported having a psychologically and emotionally healthy workplace. The benefit of focusing on employee well-being? These companies experienced substantial boosts in productivity. 

Attitudes about employee mental health are shifting. Historically, the onus has been placed on employees to manage their stress levels or seek support through their health coverage, employee assistance programs (EAPs), or occasional workplace wellness events. 

This paradigm is changing, according to workplace behavior psychologists. With a shortage of workers, a robust job market, and increased employee burnout, employees now expect their organizations to create robust wellness programs. 

80% of survey respondents agreed that an employer’s support for mental health is a pivotal consideration when looking for work.

American Psychological Association

Cultivating a culture of well-being

How can HR communications play a pivotal role in cultivating a culture of well-being? First and foremost, they serve as a conduit for awareness. EAPs, although valuable, are often underutilized—with an average utilization rate as low as 8% for many companies. A shocking 58% of employees remain unaware of the benefits available to them, and approximately 30% of these benefits go unused, rendering the time, resources, and effort invested by HR teams ineffective. In this context, strategic communication becomes paramount. 

In my previous blog, I mentioned another 2024 trend, a customer-like employee experience. Personalized, omnichannel communications that reach employees with the right information at the right time help employees receive valuable wellness and mental health messages during the moments that matter in the employee journey—instead of once a year in an unopened email or during open enrollment. 

For example, EAP resources are sent out typically a few times a year, such as during Mental Health Awareness Month. But email campaigns have less than a 25% open rate—and many deskless employees don’t even have access to email. Imagine instead sending a mobile push notification for a retail worker automatically when the data shows they have just returned from bereavement leave. How powerful would it be if that employee received a notification on their mobile phone when they needed it most and actually paid attention to it because it was relevant, personalized information? 

HR professionals can also send surveys—or better yet, quick pulse polls—to gather data and quickly pivot. A pulse poll during the often overwhelming onboarding process or parental leave can give employees the opportunity to provide immediate feedback that HR professionals can then act upon. 

At Firstup, we’re also in the process of developing an Employee Retention Forecast, which will leverage engagement data to provide valuable insights. This proactive approach will enable HR to gain a deeper understanding of their workforce and respond promptly, ensuring that employees receive the right communications and resources precisely when they need them. Ultimately, this will enable organizations to retain their top talent by proactively addressing the ever-evolving moments that matter in their employees’ lives.

While we all appreciate a few yoga stretches at our desk, and some people love a good 5K, employees in 2024 will be looking for robust well-being programs that address physical, mental, and financial wellness through a multifaceted approach that is foundational to the company.

And that’s a wrap for the top 5 HR communications trends for 2024. If you missed the other trends, be sure to check out the rest of the blog series.

One thing that has remained true for the past few years—and will continue to be true in 2024—is that the world of HR, communications, and technology is ever-evolving. Cheers to another year of exciting possibilities.

Related resources

Brittany Barhite

Brittany Barhite

Dr. Brittany Barhite is the Head of Employee Experience at Firstup. She has more than 16 years of experience in employee, leadership and external communications. Prior to Firstup, Brittany handled internal communications for a Fortune 500 company, overseeing employee and executive communications. Her experience and education provide a fresh internal communications approach that is focused on creative storytelling and transforming the employee digital experience.

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