A benefit leader's job is never truly done — while employees are busy wrapping up their year, HR and benefit professionals need to keep thinking ahead to what 2024 will bring, and how they can be best prepared.
To get off on the right foot, take some time reviewing what made a difference for employees in 2023. Whether it was a focused effort to bring financial wellness and retirement readiness to employees, or expanding diversity initiatives to include neurodiverse workers, leaders reflected on the biggest lessons learned this year. It's clear that 2023 was yet another transformational year for the workplace — catch up on the biggest takeaways:
Looking forward, employee well-being in its many forms will continue to be of utmost importance, says Karan Singh, chief operating officer and chief people officer of Headspace. Whether that's providing mental health care, or ensuring the workplace is supportive and not inadvertently toxic, employers should spend time thinking about what well-being means to them.
"Employees who feel heard, cared for and seen are happier, which helps retain high-performing workers, attract more top talent, maintain worker engagement and boost productivity and output," Singh says. "Business leaders know that has a positive effect on the bottom line."
In 2024, employers will continue to deal with the fallout of COVID, as employees consider how they balance work with their lives outside of the office, predicts Amanda Rieger, a psychic medium, wellness coach and the founder of Soul Pathology. Being respectful of this process requires creative solutions, but will lead to positive results, for people and the business.
"Employers and leaders are recognizing the value of holistic well-being to create resilience, to cut costs, to enhance productivity, to attract the ideal talent that they need. This has massive implications," she says. "Looking at how we incorporate wellness will not only start to create new solutions, it will uplevel the consciousness of an organization."
While employers have made continuous efforts via benefits to address poor mental health and burnout among their employees, it's important to take a look at the workplace itself, says Joe Grasso, senior director of workforce transformation at Lyra Health. Beyond benefits, employers should focus on manager training, and fix a culture of overwork that can lead to burnout or other debilitating employee issues if they want to see a change in 2024.
"More than ever, employees are demanding that their workplaces champion mental well-being," Grasso says. "To the extent that those demands motivate employers to provide more support through benefits and healthier ways of working, it's a win for employee wellness and a win for employers' bottom line."