Supporting the Health of Gen Z and Millennial Workers: 4 Steps for Employers
America’s workforce is becoming predominantly millennial and GenZ employees, and organizations need to deploy new health and wellness strategies to meet the needs of these workers. Not only do companies need to embrace younger workers who bring a different perspective, but organizations also need to reassess health and wellness priorities in light of COVID-19.
While we know stress is at an all-time high, sometimes it’s easy to forget the far-reaching impact it can have on employees. Continued stress can cause both physical and mental health challenges, leading to everything from decreased engagement and productivity to higher absenteeism, injury rates, and overall health costs.
How can employers best support employees and meet the needs of younger workers?
Try these four steps to make a difference in the health of your employees.
1.Increase Mental Health Resources
Clearly, after a year of living with COVID-19, all ages need help coping with ongoing stress. If your company doesn’t already offer an Employee Assistance Counseling Program, consider adding one.
A study by WebMD Health Services shows that younger generations are feeling the impact of the pandemic more acutely than other age groups. Here is a breakdown of the percentage of each generation that reported a negative impact on their health and well-being.
● 90% of GenZ (ages 18-25)
● 75% of millennials (ages 26-39)
● 74% of GenX (ages 40-55)
● 70% of baby boomers (ages 56-74)
Not only do your employees need more mental health resources, GenZ and millennial workers are generally three to five times more likely to make use of those offerings than GenXers or boomers.
In addition to counseling, consider free access to meditation apps, resilience training, educational workshops to reduce mental health stigmas in the workplace, mental health coaching, and mental and emotional health podcasts.
2. Support Caregivers
One of the many employee struggles brought to light by the pandemic is the tension between caring for children and/or aging parents and work. Even prior to COVID, GenZers and millennials often grew up watching parents try to balance a job, care for their family, and help senior parents.
Evaluate how your company supports employees who are caregivers and consider child-care subsidies, back-up child care services for emergencies or bad weather, extended paid family leave, and flexible work hours. This not only helps relieve some of the stress of caregiving, but it also helps employees focus and more fully engage during the workday.
3. Schedule Exercise During Working Hours
Exercise — even a short walk — not only improves physical health, it also releases endorphins that boost mental health. While many employers offer discounted gym memberships, providing time during work hours for exercise makes it more likely employees will actually get active. It also lets team members know your organization is serious about its commitment to their health.
Exercise classes can be offered online for employees who work at home. If you have enough space for in-person exercise with safeguards like masks and distancing, consider bringing in an exercise instructor for mid-morning or lunchtime classes.
4. Demonstrate Work-Life Balance
Every company says they promote work-life balance; yet, if your managers and leaders are regularly sending emails at 9 p.m., working through lunch, or staying at their desk late, it sends the message that you have to work long hours if you are a dedicated employee. Talk about this with your leaders and consider setting guidelines that help everyone live out a healthy work-life balance. Emphasize that valued employees not only do great work, they also take care of themselves and have a life outside of work.
Here for You and Your Employees
Cone Health Employee Health & Wellness offers a variety of resources and programs for companies of all sizes. From exercise and stress management classes to health clinics and an Employee Assistance Counseling Program, we can help you implement the programs you need.
To learn about our services, contact Jacqueline Heyward at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-832-7315.