Toy house and rolls of moneyNearly a third of employees cite financial health as the onedimension of well-being they would like their employers to addressmore than they do today. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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While many employees appreciate workplace gyms and smokingcessation programs, it's not enough: more want their employer totake a more holistic view of well-being and offer themmore financial health and mental health support as well.

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So say the results of a survey of 2,200-plus workers at largeemployers, conducted by Optum and the National Business Group onHealth, the results of which are detailed in white paper, “Workplace well-being and the employeeexperience.”

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Related: Well-being important to employees, even those wholack it

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“Broader and more relevant well-being encompasses anindividual's five primary health dimensions — physical, social,financial, community and mental,” the authors write. “Nurturingthese dimensions can help people live longer, happier lives as wellas be more productive at work.”

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Indeed, investments in multiple dimensions of well-being iscorrelated with high levels of employee productivity, loyalty andemployee well-being, according to the survey.

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“Nearly nine out of 10 employees who report their employersupports four to five dimensions say their job performance isexcellent,” the authors write. “And they take pride in where theywork. More than three-quarters say they have an excellent or verygood impression of their employer. And many would recommend theiremployer to others.”

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For the 61 percent of employers that support financialwell-being of their workers, the following benefits are offered:saving for retirement (69 percent); maximizinghealth savings accounts (41 percent); lowering health care andpharmacy costs (29 percent); resources for child care needs (21percent); developing a budget (17 percent); addressingtransportation costs/needs (15 percent); accessing earned wages before payday (13 percent);managing student loan debt (12 percent); and addressing housingcosts (9 percent).

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Still, the survey found that nearly a third of employees (32percent) cite financial health as the one dimension of well-beingthey would like their employers to address more than they do today.Among those with no support in the area, the top areas they wanthelp to improve their financial health are with health care andprescription drug costs (34 percent) and housing costs (26percent).

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A significant majority of employers (71 percent) now offermental health support, but more than a quarter of employees saythey want their employer to expand such services, especially tobetter manage stress and treat substance abuse. Of the employersthat offer mental health support, 41 percent offer substanceabuse/addiction resources; access to quality mental health care (40percent); managing stress (40 percent); mental health stigmaawareness (24 percent); mindfulness (21 percent); resiliency (20percent); burn-out at work (19 percent); caregiving services (17percent); and sleep health (15 percent).

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“Employees also say they would like more help in other mentalhealth areas,” the authors write. “Two out of five employees wanthelp for 'burn-out at work.' And more than a quarter say they wantsupport to get better sleep. An equal number of employees also wantassistance to become more resilient.”

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Employee well-being also increases when employers involve themin community efforts, according to the survey.

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“Mainstays of these efforts are charitable giving campaigns,offering volunteer opportunities and supporting initiatives toimprove the local community,” the authors write. “Less prevalentbut more popular with employees are programs that provide paid timeoff for volunteering. In fact, more than two out of five employees”that don't get this “wish their employer would offer thisoption.”

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Finally, employers should consider locating their facilities incommunities that support well-being, the surveyfound. “Plentiful sidewalks, stores with fresh produce,gyms and accessible urgent care and mental health clinics have thepotential to make communities surrounding the workplace moreengaging and secure,” the authors write. “They also seem toheighten well-being. Many employees with the highest well-beingscores report that the communities surrounding their workplace havethese healthy features.”

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.