More than ever, employee well-being is crucial in the workplace. As work and life have become increasingly intertwined, healthy organizations seek to provide an environment that allows employees to thrive. From improved mental health and better job satisfaction to increased productivity and decreased absenteeism, investing in employee well-being has many tangible benefits for both employees and businesses.


What is Employee Well-being?

At a broad level, employee well-being is about providing the necessary resources, support, and opportunities to foster a holistic sense of well-being for employees. This could include supporting mental health initiatives, developing career pathways, or advocating for a healthy work-life balance. 

Although the idea may seem new, the first recognized employee wellness program was Johnson & Johnson’s “Live for Life,” which was introduced in 1979. 

The Affordable Care Act elevated the value of employee well-being by setting out to address public health issues and slow the growth of healthcare costs. Toward that end, it included provisions that are “...intended to encourage workplace health promotion and prevention…”

Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic, the so-called Great Resignation, global unrest, and economic uncertainty have all increased the need for well-being programs. Additionally, employees have come to expect that their employers have a commitment to their overall health and wellness.

As a result, 68% of senior human resources leaders said in a 2021 HR Sentiment Survey that employee well-being and health were a top priority for their organizations.

7 pillars of employee well-being:

  1. physical- physical wellness was largely the focus of corporate programs initially. Physical well-being focuses on taking care of one’s body through healthy eating and exercise habits. An employer-sponsored well-being program might promote physical well-being by providing gym memberships, offering nutrition classes, or providing financial incentives for healthy behaviors.

  2. Career- Career well-being refers to how fulfilled employees feel in their work. Employers can invest in career development opportunities, such as mentorship programs, increased compensation, or leadership training, to ensure that their employees are able to reach their full potential and advance in their careers. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, another area of importance for employees has been the desire to continue working remotely, so employees should be cautious when developing return-to-office policies. 

  3. financial- finances are the main cause of employee stress and one of the primary drivers of turnover. Financial well-being is about helping employees manage their finances responsibly. Employers can offer financial literacy classes, help with budgeting and debt management, or even provide access to retirement planning resources.

  4. social-Meaningful friendships have been shown to be of vital importance to a person’s overall sense of well-being. Social well-being is about cultivating a sense of belonging and connection among employees. This could include offering team-building activities, hosting social events, or encouraging Employee Resource Groups that foster an environment of inclusion and open dialogue.

  5. community-Community well-being focuses on how organizations can contribute to the larger community. Employers can provide paid time-off for volunteering, or company efforts could involve donating to local charities or providing pro-bono services.

  6. emotional-As society’s attitudes toward mental health care evolve, emotional well-being has become of importance for employees. Emotional well-being is centered around helping employees manage their mental health and overall well-being. Employers can provide stress management workshops and promote mindfulness techniques, conduct empathy training for leaders, or even offer access to mental health services.

  7. purpose-Values that align with their own has become increasingly important for employees. Purpose well-being is about helping employees find meaning in their work and sharing values with the company. Employers can provide access to resources such as career coaching, mentoring programs, and even life-coaching services that help employees understand how their work contributes to a larger mission.

An effective employee well-being program will address each of these areas, creating an environment where employees feel respected and can flourish. This, in turn, can lead to long-term benefits for employers. At Ulliance we have created 5 to Thrive, a total well-being program where we focus on the totality of one’s overall health within our private employee portal— which provides:

  • Counseling
  • Coaching
  • Challenges
  • Assessments
  • Tools and resources
  • Webinars
  • And more!


5 benefits of investing in employee well-being:

  1. reduced absenteeism

  2. improved employee engagement

  3. enhanced employer reputation

  4. heightened feelings of empowerment

  5. avoids burnout

When employees feel confident that their employer cares about their overall well-being, they are:

  • 69% less likely to actively search for a new job
  • 71% less likely to report experiencing a lot of burnout
  • five times more likely to strongly advocate for their company as a place to work and to strongly agree they trust the leadership of their organization
  • three times more likely to be engaged at work
  • 36% more likely to be thriving in their overall lives

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Problems with Employee Well-being Programs

A study conducted by RAND Corporation at the request of the Department of Labor found that roughly 50% of organizations with 50 or more employees offered wellness initiatives. 

Yet, despite the prevalence of programs, many employees do not believe that their organization truly values their well-being. Fewer than one in four U.S. employees feel strongly that their organization cares about their well-being—the lowest percentage in nearly a decade.

There are several possible reasons for this disconnect between employees and their employers.

One potential issue is that employers may not be doing enough to effectively communicate their commitment to employee wellness or to make them feel truly supported. Even the best-intended well-being program can languish if employees do not see that it can benefit them.

Another issue that sometimes arises is that employees feel that the motivation for the well-being program lacks transparency. Employee health initiatives, for example, might be seen as a way for the company to make employees more productive rather than a real commitment to individual health. 

Yet another potential problem is when well-being programs do not align with the reality of the workplace. Many workers report feeling overwhelmed and stressed by the amount of work they do on a daily basis — with little recognition for the effort they put in. Making mental health counseling or financial planning services available to them may leave them feeling that the company is out of touch with the prioritization of their needs.

Employee Well-being in a Healthy Organization

Creating an effective employee well-being program requires careful planning and consideration. Employers should begin by listening to their employees as a first step in assessing current needs. 

From there, a comprehensive plan that meets those needs can be formulated. This plan should take into consideration all seven of the pillars of employee well-being - physical, career, financial, social, community, emotional, and purpose.  

This could involve offering access to healthcare benefits, implementing health and wellness initiatives, providing workplace flexibility or offering financial education programs.

It is also important for employers to communicate their commitment to employee wellness and ensure that everyone feels supported. This can involve creating a culture of fairness and respect, offering recognition for employees' hard work and providing resources such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or stress management programs.

Employees Expect Employers to Prioritize Their Well-being

One of the ways that employee expectations have changed during the recent past is that many now expect employers to prioritize their well-being and provide a supportive working environment. 

Employees seek organizations that offer opportunities to thrive both at work and outside of work. For some, that means flexible working options, while for others mental health support is important, and for still others the priority is benefits such as gym memberships or medical insurance. 

The key to creating an effective employee well-being program is for employers to listen to the needs of their employees and develop initiatives that meet those needs. Employers should strive to create a culture of fairness, respect and support and ensure that everyone feels included. By doing so, employers can ensure that their employees are healthy, productive and motivated to do their best work. 

Have some question about our services? Book a quick meeting below!

When you partner with Ulliance, our Life Advisor Consultants are always just a phone call away to teach ways to enhance your work/life balance and increase your happiness. The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program can help employees and employers come closer to a state of total well-being.

Investing in the right EAP or Wellness Program to support your employees will help them and help you.  Visit or call 866-648-8326.

The Ulliance Employee Assistance Program can address the
following issues:

• Stress about work or job performance
• Crisis in the workplace
• Conflict resolution at work or in one’s personal life
• Marital or relationship problems
• Child or elder care concerns
• Financial worries
• Mental health problems
• Alcohol/substance abuse
• Grief
• Interpersonal conflicts


The Future of Work is Employee Well-Being, Jeanne Meister, Forbes,

Your Ultimate Guide to Employee Wellbeing, Qualtrics,

7 Strategies to Improve Your Employees’ Health and Well-Being, Erin L. Kelly, Lisa F. Berkman, Laura D. Kubzansky, and Meg Lovejoy, Harvard Business Review,

Percent Who Feel Employer Cares About Their Wellbeing Plummets, Jim Harter, Gallup,

What Is Employee Wellbeing and Why Does It Matter?, Gallup,

Report to Congress on Workplace Wellness,

2021 HR Sentiment Survey, Future Workplace Academy,

Workplace Wellness Programs Study Final Report, RAND Health (Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)