I’ve spent more than 35 years as a global benefits and well-being leader, managing programs across various industries and geographies, and one thing remains consistent across the diverse populations I’ve had the pleasure of working with: When employers focus on well-being, everyone benefits — not only employees, but also their families and the companies they work for.
"Ultimately, a strong culture of well-being leads to a strong bottom line and greater ROI, both Return on Individual and Return on Investment"
Well-being is a people-first strategy. When well-being is embedded into your organization, it shows employees that they are your number one asset and gives them permission to prioritize themselves and their families. More than ever, employees are experiencing high levels of stress and burnout, and every employer is searching for a solution to help employees maintain better mental health and well-being. In fact, according to a recent Microsoft study, 40 percent of global employees are considering quitting their jobs, and one of the top reasons is burnout. Many organizations will look to their benefits team to implement new benefits, well-being and perks programs, but they’ve already missed an important opportunity. Organizations shouldn’t wait until employees are burnt out to make well-being a priority. Just as organizations promote preventive healthcare services, they should provide employees with the resources they need to take preventive measures to protect all areas of their well-being — physical, emotional, financial, social, intellectual, and environmental. To do this, employers must make well-being a core component of their culture.
Well-being has the power to transform your culture by giving employees the tools they need to manage their stress, build community, discover their purpose and bring their best selves to everything they do — both personally and professionally. Research has consistently demonstrated that productivity, customer loyalty and organizational performance increase when employees are healthy and happy. Ultimately, a strong culture of well-being leads to a strong bottom line and greater ROI, both Return on Individual and Return on Investment.
For the last seven years I’ve been leading the Global Benefits and Well-Being team at AECOM. In 2017, we started our global well-being journey by developing a five-year global well-being strategy; then, in 2018, we launched AECOM’s first-ever Global Well-Being Week. In 2019, Global Well-Being Week was extended to a month-long event, Global Well-Being Month. In 2020, we launched a year-round global well-being program to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees and their spouses/domestic partners by providing them with year-round resources, including digital content, events, activities and challenges, to encourage them to create healthy habits and make a continual investment in their well-being. This year, we continued our commitment by providing our employees and their spouses/domestic partners with enhanced mental health resources andlaunching a global campaign, called Let’s Talk. Let’s Talk placed a special emphasis on helping our employees cope with the increased levels of stress and fatigue that they were experiencing from their additional personal and professional responsibilities and the uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. We also partnered with managers to make sure they had tools and resources they needed to checkin and support the mental health and emotional well-being of their employees during this challenging time.
The events of the prior year have given employees — at AECOM and other companies around the world — time to reflect on what’s most important to them, such as work-life balance, flexibility, and mental health. Our employees’ feedback is an important part of developing and implementing well-being strategies that meet their needs as well as the needs of the company.
Like many other companies, we know that our employees are looking to and even expect us to find innovative ways to support their well-being and we always welcome the challenge. It’s core to who we are as an organization and is embedded in our commitment to safeguard our employees and the communities we serve.
Developing an effective well-being program doesn’t have to be overly complex or take a lot of money, time, or headcount. We started our journey with no established budget and a simple objective — help employees understand the meaning and importance of prioritizing well-being for their personal health and the sustainability of our business. With that commitment, we have gradually evolved our culture of well-being each year and achieved tremendous success. Developing a culture of well-being requires intention, a little creativity and a lot of passion for making a difference.
At AECOM, we integrate well-being into our daily business activities, encouraging employees to take daily well-being moments throughout their day, and we also provide social recognition and financial incentives to employees and spouses/domestic partners who make their well-being a priority. Recognition is a critical component of any well-being program as it reinforces what’s valued within an organization’s culture and is a key driver of employee engagement.
Of course, even the most well-developed well-being strategies require buy-in and participation from all levels of the organizationto be successful. We’ve seen commitment and participation from our executive leadership team down to managers and employees, which is one of the clearest indications that well-being has truly become a core component of our culture and a part of our DNA. Our employees understand AECOM’s commitment to their well-being and that, while we will provide them with the resources they need to thrive at AECOM, they are the ultimate owners of their health and well-being.
For so many reasons — from improving health outcomes to building community and increasing employee motivation and productivity — developing a culture of well-being is the right thing to do. Need some inspiration to begin building well-being into your culture? Visit WellBeingAtAECOM.com, our digital well-being platform, to see all of the ways our employees and their spouses/domestic partners are investing in their well-being.
Thank you and be well!