In July 2022, I joined the Ketel Thorstenson team. When our CEO asked me to focus on workplace wellness, I knew I had landed in the right place. Not because I wanted a discounted gym membership or to make employees eat more broccoli, but because our CEO recognized the importance of investing in employees. 

Workplace wellness is a huge concept; it’s an action, a noun, a feeling. How as an employer do you take what has become an essential focus in today’s business world and do it right? Regardless of the size of employer you are, I would argue wellness is not about benefit additions. Wellness at work is about how your employees feel about work (yes, feelings), perceive their value, and experience purpose in what they do. While I champion any employer who can supply monetary wellness benefits, I encourage you first to focus on what only requires your intentional focus.  

Intentional focus on a healthy workplace will yield retention and recruitment of the right fit for your business. Here are seven recommendations to improve the wellness of your workforce as you roll into 2023. None are breakthrough discoveries, but they are tried-and-true efforts that will make a difference. 

  1. Ask employees what motivates them to work for you and capitalize on this; I am confident this is not money. If they like their coworkers, focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. If they like those they serve and support, increase their opportunities. If they like learning, train them! 
  1. Ask your employees what makes their job difficult. Fix what you can, and address what you cannot.  
  1. Seek out people who make work difficult or unpleasant for other people and speak to them. One great performer making work miserable for everyone else is not worth retention.  
  1. Communicate and support avenues for employees to share where they may need help. If mental health or outside of work influences are causing stress, have an open discussion, suggest resources, follow up and support.  
  1. Walk the talk. Whatever you say you support at the top of your organization, embody it yourself. If you want to reduce sugar intake for your employees, stop buying donuts for meetings and supply healthy options in the breakroom.  
  1. Over communication. Anxiety is the simple concept of looking ahead at things unknown and not feeling in control. Making you envision stress and worse case in your mind. Tell employees everything you can as soon as you can. 
  1. Check in. Put an intentional reminder in your calendar to make sure you touch base with everyone you supervise on a routine basis. Ask them how they are doing, what they need, and express appreciation. 

Employees who show up to work, want to be a part of your organization and keep your doors open are invaluable. Invest in the benefit of their wellness by providing your time, listening, and following up with support. You cannot control an employee’s wellness, you cannot make them eat right or work out, but you can affect how they experience 40 hours of their week.