Creating an Award-Winning Benefits & Wellness Program

Want to build an amazing wellness and benefits program, but not sure how to make it happen? Well, the answer is simple. It all comes down to employee satisfaction.

It's no surprise that wellness and benefits have become a central pillar of large organizations' recruitment strategies. After all, research shows that satisfied employees are more productive—and productivity generally yields profitability.

That's why Watershed's award-winning benefits and wellness program goes beyond simply spending money just so we can check off a box. Rather, we focus on improving quality of life. (Humble Brag: We're delighted to have received a Gold Award from Brandon Hall Group for Excellence in Workforce Management—yippee!)

What are the financial implications of a happy—or worse, an unhappy—workforce?

The benefits of health and wellness programs in the workplace are apparent. According to Glassdoor's Economic Research, the stock of organizations that ranked on the Glassdoor's Best Places to Work List or Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For List significantly outperformed those companies that didn't make the mark. In fact, companies with the lowest employee satisfaction have significantly under-performed in the stock market since 2009.

As an analytics company, we'll be the first to admit that correlation doesn't imply causation, but it seems that employee satisfaction sure does act as a strong predictor of long-term company performance.

Invest in employee satisfaction that yields results.

Remember, excellence in workforce management is about more than dollars and cents. Building a great workspace can be expensive, but it’s a worthwhile investment when compared to the wealth of positive outcomes.

First things first—you can't expect the right results if you use the wrong ingredients. So, make sure you hire people who exhibit the core values of the organization.

Next, keep in mind that merely spending money on gadgets and a sexy office space isn't the answer to long-term job satisfaction. People need to work at a sustainable pace to keep their minds and bodies refreshed so they don’t burn out.

Build a benefits and wellness program around employee needs.

To accomplish this, focus on these three factors:

1) Design

Create a program that reflects the need-to-haves and nice-to-haves of your workforce. If you can't favorably answer the questions below, keep asking "why" until you find the area that needs to be addressed.

  • Work-Life Balance: Can employees work an average of 40 hours and still meet our high standards? Why? How?
  • Productivity: Can we create an environment where employees come to work feeling refreshed and ready to go? How?
  • Retention & Satisfaction: What investment is needed to keep high-performing talent satisfied and motivated?

2) Goals

Set measureable goals that allow you to monitor results across a variety of areas, which should directly and indirectly reflect program success. If you don't see progress or success, identify the holdup (e.g., communication, expectations, or resources).

  • Individual and company priorities: Are employees and the company achieving objectives toward meeting organizational priorities?
  • Work hours: Are employees consistently working late or exceeding 40 hours?
  • Usage: Do any areas of the program have above-average usage?
  • Satisfaction: Is the target eNPS score met or exceeded?

3) Flexibility

What works this year may not work the next. That's why a well-designed program with measurable goals is the key to flexibility. We’re able to thrive because our employees love being part of the Watershed team. And they love being part of our team because the benefits, environment, and expectations are constantly being monitored and tweaked.

Wanna peek behind the curtain?

As I mentioned above, we're very excited to have earned a Gold Award from Brandon Hall Group for our wellness and benefits program.

If you're curious about our program, here's the long and short of it. Our wellness program consists of three elements:

1) Conventional Benefits

Conventional benefits include healthcare, vision, and dental plans that not only offer minimal out-of-pocket expenses for employees, but also offer high-quality services. Watershed covers employees’ monthly premiums for health care coverage and deposits the maximum amounts into employees’ HSA accounts to cover deductibles.

2) BetterFits

The BetterFits program is comprised of All-Inclusive Amenities and Elective Luxuries.

All-Inclusive Amenities are provided to all employees and are meant to encourage healthy relationships with coworkers and overall work satisfaction. They range from casual attire and DIY happy hour to office concierge services and paid sabbaticals.

Elective Luxuries eliminate daily hassles and reduce stress. Each year, we survey employees to identify what luxuries would benefit them most. These luxuries have two cycles per calendar year, so employees can select two credits’ worth of luxuries every six months. For 2017, elective luxuries are:

  • Wellness: Whether it’s group fitness programs or personal training, Watershed covers membership fees for fitness facilities of an employee's choice. (1 credit)
  • Clearing Space, Going Places: Being a part of a startup requires a lot of time, brainpower, and dedication. That's why we encourage employees to relax and unwind by helping cover vacation costs. (2 credits)
  • Learn Stuff: To help employees explore their personal passions, we cover the cost of cooking classes, piano lessons, or even yoga certifications. (1 credit)
  • Lawn Care: Saturdays should be designated for having fun, not taking care of the lawn—so, we're happy to cover costs for basic yard maintenance. (1 credit)
  • House Cleaning: Most people would rather spend free time with friends and family—not dusting their knick-knacks. We help employees maximize quality time by having licensed professionals clean their houses twice a month. (2 credits)

3) Company Culture

Our company culture is just as vibrant as our office walls and portable disco light. To maintain our unique brand of weirdness, we focus on enhancing employee experiences while at work.

These perks include:

  • a personal office for each employee and multiple lounge-inspired co-working spaces
  • an outdoor patio oasis with a laptop bar, landscaped chessboard, and comfortable seating
  • a walking trail, ping pong table, and nap room
  • snacks and drinks tailored to employees’ dietary needs
  • the flexibility to work remotely, run errands, or leave early to catch your child's soccer game

We'd love to hear your ideas! And learn more about our company culture and our wellness and benefits program by visiting our Careers & Culture page.

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