When it comes to overall employee wellness – a topic of growing importance in today's workplace – traditional employee benefits packages are only the starting point. During my nine years as a full-time corporate wellness director, I've seen that health insurance alone often doesn't move the needle enough. But a robust and well-designed employee wellness program can have a transformative impact, not just for individual employees, but on the workplace itself. 

For employees to bring their best selves to work every day, employers and their benefits advisors must do more to address the full spectrum of their wellbeing. At the core of the most effective employee wellness programs is empathy, a vitally important element of a positive work culture that we've studied for more than nine years. Following are several of our key learnings.

The mental health imperative

In our research on workplace empathy, it's become clear that supporting employees' mental health should be considered essential, rather than optional. In 2023, more than half of the employees we surveyed said they had experienced a mental health issue. Forty-three percent didn't feel their employer talked about the importance of mental health. What's more, as employees' mental health declines, so do perceptions of empathy in the workplace. 

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