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How a Global Well-Being Program Can Further Your DEI&B Efforts

Can a global well-being program be considered a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) initiative? We think so. In this week’s blog we discuss how extending well-being programming to your global population can strengthen your efforts to create a more inclusive workplace.

As organizations expand their global footprint, it can be a challenge to ensure that employees across the globe enjoy the benefits of a well-being program. And while differing cultures, workplace practices, and government regulations may make it impossible to offer the exact same well-being benefits to every employee, we believe having a globally consistent well-being message and a minimum standard of offerings can go a long way towards increasing inclusivity and belonging in your workplace.

The case for a global well-being program.

We know that inclusive workplaces enjoy numerous benefits. A Harvard Business Review article notes that inclusive organizations tend to have better talent recruitment, retention, and employee engagement. They also experience other advantages like greater innovation, better decision-making, and organizational resilience.1 The business case for offering well-being programs is also clear. Studies show that organizations who provide well-being programs alongside a supportive culture see increased employee engagement and productivity.

And so, the combination of offering a well-being program and ensuring that global populations have access to certain key elements of the program ends up being very powerful. By offering a global well-being program you are, in effect, saying to the entire organization that everyone’s well-being matters, no matter where they live. It sends a powerful message, leading to greater engagement and belonging, and can also make a tangible impact on the bottom line. Let’s explore this a bit more.

A global well-being program helps strengthen a culture of inclusion and belonging.

Offering a global well-being program acknowledges that employees worldwide deserve support for their well-being and helps them feel “seen” in the workplace—an important component to employee engagement. It also strengthens feelings of belonging, something that 57% of respondents in WebMD’s 2022 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging research found lacking in their organizations.

When employees feel cared for, they’re more likely to stay—and be productive.

MetLife’s 2024 Annual U.S. Benefits Trends Study found that employees who feel cared for are 60% more likely to intend to be at their organization in 12 months, and 55% more likely to feel productive at work. Offering a global well-being program makes a bold statement about the degree to which an employer cares about its workers.

Global well-being programs increase equity.

In today’s globally connected workplace, it’s common for employees to work on teams with colleagues from all over the world. As you might expect, coworkers often compare notes on the benefits the company provides to them, including well-being offerings. Providing a minimum well-being standard is a good way to show equity across a global population.

Employees want to work for organizations who embody DEI&B values in their well-being program. 

Our 2022 DEI&B research found 72% of prospective employees want to work for employers who reflect their DEI&B values in their well-being program. Younger generations, in particular, overwhelmingly want to work for a company that fosters an inclusive culture. In fact, 76% of millennials say they’d leave an employer who did not offer DEI initiatives.2

Inclusivity translates to better performance.

According to a 2019 study by Catalyst, employee experiences of inclusion are a key factor in company results and can help teams be better problem solvers and more engaged at work, and lead to greater innovation. This translates to a healthier bottom line.

Healthier employees show up for work.

It goes without saying that a healthier population—in mind, body and spirit—can reduce global rates of absenteeism and presenteeism, which has real costs to the organization—to the tune of almost $4K per year per employee.

How to create a globally inclusive well-being program. 

As we noted before, it may not be feasible to offer the same suite of well-being benefits to everyone. But the following actions will translate to most locations, regardless of geography, culture, and government regulations:

  • Craft a consistent global message that considers all the dimensions of well-being: financial, clinical, social, emotional and physical. Ensure that all communications about well-being, regardless of location, carry that consistent message.
  • Ensure that all employees have access to a minimum standard well-being offering. This might include an Employee Assistance Program, a global fitness reimbursement that can be used at the employee’s discretion, and a Health Assessment.
  • Embed well-being messaging into onboarding communications for all new hires.
  • Hold global wellness challenges that bring everyone together in the pursuit of good health, create connections across time zones and cultures, and positively impact employee engagement.
  • Form a global wellness champion network. Wellness champions can offer the unique perspectives of different regions and share best practices that strengthen the well-being program as a whole.
  • Provide access to a digital well-being platform, like WebMD ONE.
  • Share employee testimonials from around the world. Learning about others’ well-being journeys fosters a sense of connectedness and understanding of different cultures that can bring teams closer together.
  • Ask leadership to set the tone for a culture of well-being by communicating consistently about its importance and role modeling healthy practices themselves.

Holistic well-being is important to today’s workforce and something all employees increasingly feel their employer should support. Offering certain aspects of your well-being program to employees worldwide sends a powerful message of equity, inclusion, and belonging—something employees are also seeking in the workplace. If you’d like help creating a well-being strategy that all employees can benefit from, contact us at connect@webmd.net.

woman doing a home work-out as part of her well-being program

Free Resource: 5 Must-Haves for a Successful Well-Being Program

Want to know what it takes to create a top-notch, everyone’s-talking-about-it well-being program? One that not only keeps employees engaged, but will deliver real results, too? We’ve narrowed the list down to five must-haves.

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