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Employee Wellness Trends Impacting the Hiring Process

In — by Trakstar


When companies first introduced wellness programs, you saw more office gyms, nutrition counseling, and smoking cessation programs. But now, wellness in the workplace extends far beyond physical health, as employers are putting more of a focus on mental health and creating a positive atmosphere. New wellness programs are also geared toward career development and higher employee engagement.  

Changes in the office also mean changes during the hiring process. Employees are looking to work at places that make wellness a priority. An increase in mental health awareness and employee wellness trends are shaping the workplace, so here are important changes that are impacting the hiring process.  

Focus on human interaction in the office

Every job interviewer asks some version of this question: “How well do you work with others?” You want to be sure you’re hiring someone who wants to be a part of a team and takes direction well. Even if a person’s job description doesn’t require them to work on a team, it’s crucial that they’re in a setting where they can interact with other workers.

Human interaction is one of the biggest employee wellness trends of 2018, according to Forbes. By bumping into co-workers throughout the day, more relationships are established. About 76 percent of employees who have a close friend at work are more satisfied with their job, according to the Health and Well-Being Study. This means worker interaction isn’t just about a group of people who well together but about people developing and maintaining meaningful relationships with co-workers.

Offering mental health days

Benefits have always been a determining factor when it comes to accepting a job offer. But now, employees aren’t just looking at how many vacation days they’ll receive, but also if the company offers mental health days.

Mental health in the workplace has become less of a taboo topic over the last few years since more employees are speaking up about their struggles. According to a Deloitte report, 84 percent of employees experience physical, psychological, or behavioral symptoms of poor mental health. As a result, more companies are offering mental health days in addition to regular sick days.

While some fear these days off will have a negative impact on the business, it may have the opposite effect. Depression can lead to five missed work days and almost 12 days of reduced productivity every three months per individual, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This has also led to $17 to $44 billion in lost productivity in the U.S.

Financial counseling for employees

Since stress plays a large role in employees’ productivity, it’s important to look at the root cause. Nutrition counseling and gym coaching have seen positive results in the workplace, which is why financial counseling is also becoming more prominent. About 53 percent of employees say finances are a leading cause of stress, according to PwC’s financial wellness survey. With high healthcare rates and an increase in the cost of living across the U.S., wellness programs are putting an emphasis on financial counseling.

According to Debt Reduction Services, these programs will:

  • Reduce tardiness and absenteeism
  • Add to job satisfaction
  • Help avoid wage garnishment, bankruptcy, tax levies, and payday advance loans
  • Lessen the need to tap into retirement accounts
  • Increase focus and productivity

Programs often offer debt consultation, student loan counseling, bankruptcy counseling, online classes, and more.

Use of wellness technology

Wellness programs have incorporated the use of technology for years, but as the virtual world changes, programs must do the same. One of the biggest wellness trends is wearable fitness trackers to encourage movement around the office and more active lunch breaks. This has resulted in more companies offering these devices to employees.

As an attempt to track employees’ activeness, wellness portals have also become an increasing trend. These applications encourage employees to keep up with certain health goals in exchange for rewards. For companies interested in incorporating a wellness portal, Total Wellness listed a few attributes of a successful program like: 

  • Find a program that fits: It’s important to choose a portal that works well with your program
  • Make it your homebase: Once you’ve chosen a portal, it’s time to run your program through it.
  • Make it for employees: Be sure to keep employees’ values in mind
  • Encourage engagement: Find new ways to get employees active and challenge them against their coworkers.

While this list was written in regards to wellness portals, it can be used as a basis for incorporating any new wellness programs designed to promote healthy living and increase engagement.

Artificial intelligence (AI) software has had a significant impact on changes in HR, project management, and sales but it has also made waves for wellness in the workplace. Employers can use AI chatbots to help employees answer nutrition questions. Companies have also used AI to collect and examine data to help improve their wellness programs, according to Forbes.

Wellness in the workplace will always be evolving, so it’s important to know which employee trends are impacting the hiring process. While the focus hasn’t been taken off of physical health initiatives, a greater emphasis has been placed on mental health, improving office morale, and increasing overall productivity. While having these ideas in mind during recruitment, it’ll ensure a healthy and well-working organization in the future.

Gabriela Julia is a writer for She is a multimedia journalist and graduate student based in Central New York. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.


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