Workplace Wellness

Employee Well-Being

What’s now and what’s next.

Workplace wellness is evolving. In recent years, the concept has outgrown even the designation of “wellness”–a term that typically refers to employees’ physical health–and has found a broader identity as employee “well-being,” encompassing not only physical, but environmental, emotional, financial, and social health.

As employee well-being shifts toward a more holistic idea of employee health, your upcoming workforce may have an eye on your efforts in this area. Today’s job candidates are assessing you from every angle, and they may be looking for how working for you will affect their well-being, top to bottom.1

How are organizations like yours really implementing these ideas? What effects do they have? What role does advanced technology play in this new concept of well-being? Cigna recently partnered with to conduct a comprehensive study to provide insight and guidance about the future of employee well-being.

The scope of workplace well-being

What’s being done to improve employees’ health?

Not all wellness programs are created alike; organizations promote different types of well-being, and to different degrees. When asked how their organizations promote well-being, HR professionals shared the following responses:

77% promote physical well-being2

Of those promoting physical wellness, 57% offer biometric screenings or exercise programs. 55% offer lifestyle or wellness coaching. 42% offer gym or exercise facilities.

67% promote workplace environment well-being2

Green spaces and enhanced break rooms are popular initiatives for employers promoting this category.

67% promote emotional well-being2

Organizations favor initiatives such as Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services and flexible work arrangements when fostering behavioral well-being.

62% promote financial well-being2

In addition to flexible spending accounts, competitive salary/wages, and educational reimbursement programs, organizations interested in employee financial well-being are exploring new ways to help their workers save money. 80% offer financial planning resources and services. 89% offer medical and pharmacy benefits. 87% offer supplemental benefits such as dental and vision.

52% promote social well-being2

Employee social well-being is a newer employer concern–but research in recent decades has shown that factors such as employee relationships can impact employee engagement and retention. Of the organizations promoting employee social well-being, charitable efforts and team building are most popular.

The effect of workplace well-being

What are the outcomes?

Compared with other organizations, those with the best well-being programs are more likely to say their wellbeing programs help them retain, engage, and recruit employees. Organizations that report having better well-being programs are promoting emotional, environmental, financial, and social well-being–and not just physical wellness.

These employers are especially likely to offer:

  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Group volunteer efforts
  • Fitness opportunities
  • Stress management support

The rise of wellness technology

How could advanced technology enhance employee well-being?

As employee well-being initiatives evolve, so is the technology we can use to track and monitor their success. HR experts have their eyes on the programs and devices that could enhance corporate well-being efforts, and are confident about the role this technology will play.

A woman smiles walking down the street.


see AI predicting long-term health outcomes.2


agree devices that track wellness indicators will have a positive impact on well-being.2


say Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will improve the physical wellbeing of employees.2


say artificial intelligence (AI) will play a key role by alerting employees to potential health dangers.2

The large number of physical devices that collect data and share data (including mobile, wearable, and voice-activated devices) could increase the capability of employees to improve their well-being in all categories.

What can we take away from these findings?

The trends are clear: For employers looking to promote employee well-being, weight-loss challenges are no longer enough. To create an environment that attracts top talent, organizations should strive to approach well-being from a holistic perspective: Physical, emotional, workplace environment, financial, and social. No 2 workplaces are the same–so your well-being program won’t be identical to anyone else’s. It’s essential to take stock of your employees’ needs and company culture to ensure that your initiatives meet the needs of your workforce and match the standard in your market. Nurture a workplace culture that is supportive of healthy employees. If managers embrace employee well-being as a priority, then employees are more likely to respond with enthusiasm–so begin with manager training. While the rise of advanced technology is an exciting prospect, HR should approach it cautiously–only incorporating tech devices into well-being programs once all the legal and privacy implications are well understood. When executed properly, your efforts can advance not only the well-being of your employees, but that of your brand as well.

Interested in even more insights about the effects of wellness and well-being programs on organizations like yours?

Download this white paper [PDF]


Ready to drive better employee engagement?

Contact your broker or connect with a Cigna representative to learn more about how we can work together.

1Bersin J, Mazor A, Flynn J, Melian V. (2017, February 28). The employee experience: Culture, engagement, and beyond. Deloitte Insights. Retrieved from en/focus/human-capital-trends/2017/improving-the-employeeexperience-cultureengagement.html

2Cigna and, “The Current State and Future of Employee Well-Being Programs 2019,” January 2019.

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