Nearly half (46%) of full-time employees in the United States are millennials and Gen Z. Understanding their wants and needs is essential to building a healthy and productive workplace.

Naturally, the younger generation has different values and expects their employer to adapt to the changing social climate.

The number one thing millennials want is an employer who cares about their wellbeing, according to a 2018 Gallup poll.

Even before the pandemic, millennials reported that working for an organization where they feel cared for is most important to them. Now, in the midst of what business professionals are calling the “turnover tsunami,” employees who don’t feel cared for are quitting their jobs.

And the number of employees who do feel cared for is quickly dwindling. Since the early months of the pandemic, the percentage of employees who believe their employer cares about their wellbeing has dropped at least 13%. Employers must respond with a proactive approach to employee retention, rather than being surprised by dissatisfied employees later on. As we move toward a post-pandemic world, there is no better time to make employee wellbeing a priority.

Employers can show employees they care by doing the following:

Staying connected through open communication. You cannot care for an employee’s wellbeing without first understanding what their needs are. Start conversations about the company culture by surveying employees on how they think things are going. Remember that the most productive conversations occur when there is a foundation of trust in place. Have regular check-ins, host company town halls, but most importantly, make sure employees are heard.

Re-promoting existing wellness programs. Even if your company has a robust wellness offering, employees may not know what is available to them. Despite the fact that 85% of U.S. employers with more than 1,000 employees offer a wellness program, only 60% of employees at those companies know about it.

Keeping employees engaged. Among the 60% of employees aware of the wellness offering at their company, only 40% actually participate. In total, that means only 24% of employees at a company with wellness benefits are enrolled in the program. Keep employees engaged with the company culture by recognizing their accomplishments, asking for feedback on new programs, and including wellbeing in the goals you set. Engaged employees are significantly more likely to take advantage of their company’s wellness program.

Looking at the big picture. Many employers have responded to the pandemic by investing more in mental health resources. This is an important first step, as mental health is a key component of employee wellbeing. However, mental health is only one piece of the puzzle.

Ultimately, caring for your employees’ wellbeing means recognizing and addressing their career, financial, social, physical, and emotional needs. It means viewing each employee as a whole person with a life outside of work, whether remote or in the office.

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