Improving workforce wellness is one of your key roles as an HR professional. But each generation tends to have somewhat different health and wellness needs. Research shows that Millennials are less healthy than Gen X was at the same age. Not only does this reduce their quality of life, it can also affect their productivity at work.
Understanding the causes of a decrease in Millennial wellness can help you and your team address those issues and transform their work experience.
The Current State of Millennial Wellness
Only 29% of Millennials feel engaged at work, while 16% are actively disengaged, a recent Gallup report found. As the first generation with a digital life since childhood, Millennials often find the lines blurred between their professional and personal lives, leading to potential burnout and reduced wellness.
Another common issue affecting Millennial wellness in the workplace is stress. Millennials experience higher stress levels than any other generation, an American Psychological Association survey reveals, largely due to financial uncertainty, student loan debt, and high expectations in the workplace.
Moreover, traditional wellness programs may not adequately address the unique needs of Millennials. While many programs focus on physical health, Millennials place a high value on mental and emotional wellbeing. In fact, according to a survey by Mind Share Partners, nearly 50% of Millennials have left a job for mental health reasons.
This stark reality underscores the need for a more holistic and personalized approach to wellness that encompasses mental health, financial stability, and personal growth opportunities.
The Role of HR in Supporting Millennial Wellness
From physical health to emotional wellbeing, from personal growth to financial stability, HR leaders have a unique opportunity to enhance Millennial wellness in the workplace.
The ways in which HR can have a positive impact include:
- Workplace culture: The overall environment in a workplace, including values, behaviors, and interactions, significantly affects employee wellness. An inclusive and positive culture fosters a sense of belonging, improves employee satisfaction, and reduces stress levels.
- Flexibility: Millennials value flexibility. HR policies that allow for remote work, flex hours, and personal time can have a positive effect on their wellness.
- Mental health support: HR can establish policies that prioritize mental health, such as providing resources for counseling, implementing mental health days, and promoting a supportive, stigma-free work environment.
- Professional development opportunities: Millennials value personal and career growth. By providing training, mentoring, and development programs, HR can significantly enhance employee satisfaction and wellbeing.
- Health and wellness programs: Comprehensive wellness programs that focus not just on physical health but also on mental and financial wellness can be a powerful tool in promoting overall Millennial wellbeing.
Five Unique Examples for Promoting Millennial Wellness
There are so many ways you can promote wellness in the workplace. But if you really want to make an impact, consider implementing ideas that your employees can get excited about.
- Gamification of Wellness Initiatives
Gamification can make wellness activities more engaging and enjoyable. For example, HR leaders could introduce a fitness challenge app that tracks employee steps or workout hours, with rewards for reaching certain milestones. A healthy competition among teams could boost participation and create a sense of community.
- Mindfulness and Meditation Sessions
Promoting mental health can involve scheduled mindfulness or meditation sessions. For instance, offering a weekly group meditation or yoga class, whether in-person or virtually, can provide a much-needed mental break for employees and help them manage stress.
- Financial Wellness Workshops
Given that financial stress is a major concern among Millennials, conducting regular workshops on financial planning, debt management, and investing could be beneficial. You could bring in financial advisors to give presentations or offer one-on-one consultations, in tandem with offering a competitive compensation package.
- Skill-Share Sessions
To foster personal and professional development, consider hosting skill-share sessions where employees can pass their talents onto coworkers. This could range from professional skills like project management to personal interests like photography or cooking. This promotes learning while strengthening team bonds.
- Personalized Wellness Plans
Consider offering personalized wellness plans. There are many ways to do this, from offering flexible monthly wellness subscriptions or giving employees have a 'wellness budget' they can allocate to areas they find most beneficial. For example, an employee could choose to use their budget on a gym membership, therapy sessions, online courses for skill development, or even childcare services. This helps provide employees with the resources they need to promote their holistic wellness.
Practical Tips for Creating a Millennial Wellness Program
Creating an impactful Millennial wellness program requires an understanding of the unique needs and desires of this generation. Here are some practical tips from an organizational and management perspective to help HR leaders design a wellness program that truly resonates with Millennials.
Tip 1: Understand Their Preferences through Data
You can start by analyzing any existing data on employee wellness, engagement, and turnover. Look for patterns and correlations that might indicate what your Millennial employees value most. For instance, if you find higher engagement among employees who use certain wellness benefits, it could indicate a strong interest in those benefits among your workforce.
Tip 2: Provide Mental Wellness Training for Managers
Managers play a key role in supporting employee wellness. Try investing in training managers to recognize the signs of mental wellbeing struggles and provide support. This could include training on active listening, empathy, stress management, and referring employees to appropriate resources when needed.
Tip 3: Establish a Clear Path for Career Progression
Millennials want to know that they have a future at their organization. It’s important that there are clear paths for advancement and that these are communicated effectively to your employees. This can go a long way in enhancing job satisfaction and overall wellness.
Tip 4: Encourage Work-Life Wellness
Instead of focusing solely on balance, consider promoting work-life wellness, a concept that recognizes that work and personal life interact and can benefit each other. This could mean offering opportunities for socializing at work, providing family-friendly benefits, or supporting hobbies and interests outside of work.
Tip 5: Prioritize Transparency
Millennials appreciate transparency from their employers. Be clear and open about the state of the business, future plans, and how the wellness program benefits both the employee and the organization. This transparency can build trust and engagement.
Tip 6: Use Peer Recognition
Millennials value recognition, and it doesn’t always have to come from the top. Establishing a peer appreciation system can encourage positive feedback and acknowledgment among colleagues, contributing to a positive and supportive culture that enhances overall wellness.
Starting a Wellness Feedback Loop
Once your program is in place, consider maintaining an open line of communication and continually seeking feedback from your Millennial employees. They are the best source of insight into what is working and what can be improved. Inviting feedback can be as simple as sending out regular anonymous surveys, conducting focus group discussions, or having one-on-one check-ins. Making changes based on their input will help your Millennial wellness program remain effective and relevant to the needs of your employees.
Gympass’ flexible wellness platform is well-positioned to support Millennial wellness. Whether employees want to take a HITT class or use a meditation app, track their nutrition or work with a personal trainer, workers of all ages can use Gympass to further their own unique health and wellness journey.
If you want to learn more about how to improve Millennial wellness with an employee wellness program, reach out to a Gympass wellbeing specialist today!
- American Psychological Association Survey Shows Money Stress Weighing on Americans’ Health Nationwide. (2015). APA. Retrieved July 6, 2023 from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/02/money-stress.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Study Finds Millennials are Less Healthy than Generation X Were at the Same Age. (April 24, 2019). Independece. Retrieved July 6, 2023 from https://news.ibx.com/bcbsa-study-Millennials-less-healthy-than-generation-x-were-at-the-same-age/?_gl=1*ozvred*_ga*MTQyNzM1Mjk4NC4xNjg4NjYxNDk2*_ga_SPE70EY4RL*MTY4ODY2MTQ5NS4xLjAuMTY4ODY2MTQ5Ny4wLjAuMA..
- Millennials: The Job-Hopping Generation. Gallup. Retrieved Jully 6, 2023 from https://www.gallup.com/workplace/231587/Millennials-job-hopping-generation.aspx#:~:text=Gallup%20has%20found%20that%20only,do%20damage%20to%20their%20company.
- We Need A New Kind Of Business Leader: Why 50% Of Millennial And 75% Of Gen-Z Workers Have Left Jobs. (November 6, 2019). Mind Share Partners. Retrieved July 6, 2023 from https://www.mindsharepartners.org/post/why-50-of-Millennial-and-75-of-gen-z-workers-have-left-jobs#:~:text=According%20to%20Mind%20Share%20Partners,of%20their%20Baby%20Boomer%20counterparts.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.