How to put employee wellness first in 2023

April Schmaltz
April Schmaltz

As a health and wellness company, Delta Dental of Iowa is committed to helping all Iowans, including our employees, live overall healthier lives. When we look back, even just ten years ago, it was common for employers to focus on compensation-tied benefits such as group health coverage, bonus pay, and retirement savings like a pension or 401(k) plan. But today, the world is much different.

While the pandemic impacted some physically, it left others changed financially and emotionally. High numbers of the workforce chose to try something new because they were unsatisfied with their careers. Remote work has blurred the lines between home, work and community in new ways. 

2023 is the year to invest in overall employee wellness. Organizations investing in wholistic well-being are finding:

  • Increased worker productivity and motivation
  • Greater camaraderie across teams
  • Decreased stress and reduced absences
  • Better customer service and work outcomes

The five components of employee well-being

Beyond physical health, overall well-being also encompasses a range of things like emotional, financial, career, and community health. These are the five wellness components we use at Delta Dental to support the wholistic well-being of our employees. Here is how we acknowledge these wellness components through our benefit programs and day-to-day activities.

  • Physical health

As a health and wellness company, Delta Dental promotes being proactive in our personal health and encourages preventive routines for medical, dental, and vision care. We educate our employees to use their benefits to stay healthy. At work, we promote the benefits of regular exercise, sleep, and healthy eating as part of overall physical wellness. We offer sit-to-stand desks, outdoor walking trails, and bi-weekly fresh fruit deliveries to support employee health.

  • Financial health

Financial health has become one of the leading causes of stress in the home due to circumstances such as inflation, job loss, and lack of adequate emergency savings. As an employer, we value fair and equitable pay and offer a complete compensation package that includes base pay, incentive pay, 401(k), short- and long-term disability programs, life insurance, health savings accounts, and flexible spending programs. We recently added legal insurance to our list of benefits, to help our employees plan their wills and powers of attorney. Coverage also includes identity theft protection and restoration, a nice safety net in the growing digital age. Financial well-being sessions are also provided to our employees. 

  • Career health

With many in the workforce re-assessing their careers over the past two years, career health is important to maintaining productive and motivated employees, and to retain top talent. By providing learning and development opportunities such as job shadowing, mentoring, professional development, and coaching, we engage our team members in growing with us. Tuition reimbursement programs, performance discussions, and hybrid work are also ways we support career health at Delta Dental.

  • Community health

Many professionals want to work for a company with a purpose that supports local community needs and sustainability efforts. At Delta Dental, these are all things that we value and extend to our employees through volunteer opportunities and corporate and employee giving. We also invest in the education of our employees to celebrate diversity, learn about different cultures and increase awareness of DEI-related topics. Taking care of others has always been part of who we are — because we understand we’re part of something greater than ourselves. As a not-for-profit insurance company, Delta Dental invested more than $3.8 million in nonprofit projects in 2022 that improve the oral and overall health of Iowans.

  • Emotional health

Emotional challenges are not always visible on the surface. We believe in investing in preventive mental wellness activities and awareness resources can help employees take on these challenges more independently. Delta Dental offers an employee assistance program to help team members find resources for counseling, stress management, and more. In addition, our company supports the Make It OK campaign, which is designed to reduce stigma by starting conversations and increasing understanding about mental illness. Employees experiencing changes at home are given time away from work to celebrate or grieve. Becoming a new parent, for example, whether through adoption or birth, is a time we allow employees to be at home and focused on adjusting to new life changes.

As you plan your employee wellness programs in 2023, consider what could be added to build a more robust program to support the wholistic well-being of your employees. Continue to evolve your offerings as employee needs change. And remember, healthy employees are more engaged and motivated to excel when they’re at work.