Three Employee Wellness Trends to Watch in 2021.

Holistic Wellbeing:

2021 will be like last year in that employers will likely continue to focus on offering wellness benefits that address overall well-being rather than just physical well-being. A holistic approach to wellness helps address all aspects of the body and mind, as opposed to just the former. These plans include access to mental health professionals and assistance dealing with stress and depression. Companies using this method are focusing more on metrics like employee satisfaction and retention than one-size-fits-all health plans. Employees are likely to expect a robust offering of wellness resources moving forward, which means it’s important for employers to consider evaluating their current offerings to stay on trend.  

Expanded Mental Health Resources:

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an underlying pandemic that’s affecting workers, regardless of whether employees are working on-site or remotely. Americans are increasingly suffering from behavioral health issues during the pandemic, including mental health issues and substance abuse, with 80% reporting feeling moderately or highly distressed due to the pandemic, according to a survey from The Standard. Employers have taken various approaches to addressing the mental health concerns and stress employees are experiencing. One of the most prominent trends for 2021 is that employers are looking to expand access to mental health resources for their employees. According to the Business Group on Health’s 2021 survey, in the next year:  


  • 88% of employers plan to provide access to online mental health support resources (e.g., apps, videos and articles)  
  • 65% plan to provide manager training to help recognize mental and behavioral health issues  
  • 50% plan to conduct anti-stigma campaigns In addition, employers are planning to revitalize or implement employee assistance programs, and lower or waive costs for employees to access mental health resources. Regardless of the methods used, to effectively support employees during these uncertain times, employers will need to evaluate their mental health wellness initiatives in 2021. 

Expanded Financial Wellness Resources:

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers were focused on expanding financial wellness resources. However, the pandemic has put significant strain on employees across the country. According to MetLife’s 18th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study 2020, 81% of employees report feeling major financial stress since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many organizations employ a diverse cast of employees—some may be nearing retirement, and others may be finishing school. This means employees can often face unique financial stressors from one another. To combat this, some employers offer financial wellness programs to help reduce these stressors. These programs vary in complexity but can include virtual personal financial planning meetings, tuition reimbursement, seminars and payday loan assistance. The idea is to offer enough services for anyone in your workforce to take advantage of, no matter their financial situation.

Bryne Wiseman President of Houchens Benefits

This article was written by Bryne Wiseman President of Houchens Benefits