Cultivating employee engagement isn’t about investing in the latest employee engagement technology. Instead, it’s about developing a mindset that situates employee performance in the larger context of the employee’s life as a whole. Comprehensive wellness programs — which focus on an employee’s physical, mental, financial, and social well-being — are an increasingly effective way to put this mindset into action.

Engaged employees don’t just work harder and exhibit a greater investment in the company’s success; they also stick around. Employee-centric organizations have found that a comprehensive approach to employee wellness can improve engagement, job satisfaction, and, most importantly, employee retention.

Until quite recently, HR departments struggled primarily with a scarcity of critical talent, devoting a healthy portion of their time and resources to the never-ending search for the right people.

Times are changing, though. Yes, top contributors continue to be difficult to find. And replacing hard-won employees remains costly and time-consuming.

To achieve these objectives, 51% of companies surveyed indicated that they are adopting a multi-pronged strategy. Among other tactics, the elements of this strategy include comprehensive wellness and well-being programs, 401(k) programs, and innovative rewards and recognition initiatives.

As important as all these efforts can be, it’s important to take a critical look at the notion of “employee engagement” and clarify what it is, and what it is not.

Specifically, a lot of companies seem to believe that the point of employee engagement is to inspire the workforce to be more capable and productive. While engaged employees can certainly master a wide range of responsibilities and do better work, employee engagement programs need to focus less on those outcomes and more on creating a workplace that encourages and nurtures a positive, work-related attitude.

Comprehensive wellness programs can play a central role in these efforts. What makes these programs “comprehensive” is that they are not limited to providing employees with flu shots and weight-loss competitions. Instead, they attempt to address employee needs across the spectrum, helping them with financial advice, coaching on communication and professional development, support around stress and overall mental health, and, of course, physical wellbeing.

To learn more, check out the research snapshot.

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