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3 Reasons Why Traditional Corporate Wellness Programs are Not Enough


3 Reasons Why Traditional Corporate Wellness Programs are Not Enough

As the "Great Resignation" rages on, it’s time to think differently about helping employees show up to their jobs empowered, engaged, and motivated to reach their full potential.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to major changes in our world and the workplace. Expanded use of productivity tools and growth of hybrid and remote work led to varied outcomes. While companies may have benefited from increased output and historic increases in revenue, individual employees haven’t fared as well. How do we know this? A record number of employees have left their jobs over the course of the pandemic. In just 5 months in 2021, over 14% of the U.S. workforce resigned–that’s nearly 20 million people. Why is this happening? Research leads to one consistent theme: Burnout.  

How Companies are Addressing Burnout

An Indeed survey conducted in 2021 found that over half of respondents were experiencing burnout, up from 43% who said the same in a survey prior to the pandemic. In addition, two-thirds of those surveyed said that this feeling has worsened over the course of the pandemic. Excessive work, exhaustion, and stress as a result of their jobs have sent employees looking for new opportunities, or even leaving the traditional workforce entirely. To the credit of many employers, companies are not ignoring the burnout epidemic. The past two years have seen an increased investment in corporate wellness programs–more employees than ever have access to wellness stipends, meditation apps, and online mental health services. And while these employee wellness programs are beneficial, their mere existence is not enough. Here are 3 reasons why:  

1. Employees bear the brunt of the work

Traditional wellness programs don’t really address burnout. They give organizations the appearance of an investment in mental wellness, but without providing employees the wrap-around support they really need. Think about it this way: Why is an employee expected to improve their physical and mental wellness alone, when their stress was at least in some part caused by the employer? Without the education and support to use these tools effectively, employees have to take on the additional burden of figuring out how these tools relate to work performance.  

2. Programs don’t provide personalized insights

Heart rate, skin temperature, oxygen saturation, your happiness on a scale from 1 to 10–without any context, these are all just numbers. And to employees, how they relate to their well-being at work is unclear. Long-term behavioral change requires personalized insights and coaching to transform both how employees show up to work each day, and how their employers support them. Data also helps inform leadership about what their people need.  

3. It is difficult to measure impact on employee well-being

Employers using traditional wellness programs give access to tools, but have no plan to track how any of these benefits actually improve the well-being of their employees. In addition, it’s unclear how many employees are using these services at all. A report by the RAND Corporation found that among large employers, only 20-40% of employees participate in wellness programs in any given year. It’s hard to justify the expense of wellness tools when you don’t even know the benefit of the few utilizing the tools available to them.

whoop addresses corporate burnout

How WHOOP is addressing the burnout epidemic

Organizations have a responsibility to protect their employees’ emotional and physical health on the job. This commitment means not only giving employees the tools they need, but also ensuring they know how to use them. Leading organizations, including 4 of the largest 10 global consulting firms, are turning to WHOOP to provide employees with the technology, education, and coaching they need to better understand what their bodies and minds require to show up to work at their best. WHOOP technology analyzes key health metrics like sleep trends, biometric data, and daily activity and provides the additional support of education and coaching to give employees the knowledge they need to take control of their own health. At the same time, WHOOP helps employers gain insight into the stressors and challenges that their people are managing–on and off the job. As employees exercise more agency over their career choices, now is the time for employers to take clear and definitive action to better support their teams’ physical and mental wellness. To learn more about how WHOOP is driving the next generation of employee health, read our ebook, Unlocking Employee Resilience: Solving the Corporate Burnout Epidemic or contact us directly.