Updated: Mar 16, 2022
Well-being is more than weight loss, fitness improvements, and disease management. Likewise, promoting well-being in the workplace requires more than providing wellness programs, fitness challenges, and food trackers. Creating a workplace that forwards well-being is a process of developing a person-centered culture that includes shared knowledge, beliefs, assumptions, and values.
A Deloitte Insights article from 2018 summed up the importance of workplace well-being this way:
“Well-being is becoming a core responsibility of good corporate citizenship and a critical performance strategy to drive employee engagement, organizational energy, and productivity. It is also a growing expectation among the talent companies most want to recruit, access, and retain. No longer an optional or narrowly focused element of the rewards menu, well-being is now front and center as a business imperative for leading, high-performance companies.”
Truck driver shortages are not new but the attention they are receiving certainly is. Late last year, the Biden administration unveiled a plan to try and help the situation. A task force is being created to increase gender diversity in trucking and logistics careers. As an active volunteer with Women in Trucking for the last several years, this is exciting and echos the WIT mission, “to encourage employment, address obstacles, and celebrate success” for women in the industry. The recent Commercial Carrier Journal article, Understanding female driver needs key to recruiting and retention outlines some high-level areas that help us understand the practicalities of attracting and retaining women. However, many of the items outlined do not apply just to women but rather, highlight well-being roadblocks to driver and employee retention and recruitment alike.
Stress and Anxiety
When people have homelife issues such as a chronically ill family member, relationship issues, financial concerns, or numerous family events, being unavailable due to work requirements is a large concern. Who will get the spouse to the chemo treatments if they cannot be available to do it? How will relationships improve if they are always working? How do they explain missing another of their children's games or plays? While domestic obligations used to be primarily a woman's responsibility, today these concerns weigh heavily on both genders. The stressors of being away from home, finding work-life balance, and addressing all areas of life needs while succeeding at their career are ever present for most employees causing daily stress and mental strain. The inability to find solutions to manage things at home while they are away can be a cause of employee loss to a company. Partnering with employees to help them solve life issues is an example of a well-being leadership approach that could retain workers and help mitigate employee stress. For employees to be willing to partner with their company in such an intimate way requires trust.
Mix ongoing mental stress with workplace and industry stressors, lack of quality sleep, and worker fatigue and you have the perfect storm of chronic stress and all its health implications. Managing medical conditions becomes much harder with ongoing chronic stress making effective stress management and coping skills more important than ever. When companies create stress-reducing leadership methods, build trust and empathy, and help their workers develop and use tools to reduce stress, it not only impacts employee health but also employee safety, workplace productivity, and commitment to the company and the profession. These are all examples of the benefits of a person-centered workplace well-being culture to retain employees.
What people eat and drink each day has a direct impact on their level of fatigue, alertness, communication, and safety. At the same time, daily stress, poor sleep hygiene, and negative lifestyle behaviors increase risk factors for chronic illness for all industry workers but especially for transportation and logistics workers. Drivers are losing their ability or desire to drive due to health issues. The transportation industry is plagued by four major behavior-related health conditions –- hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. This is not much different than the health issues other industries face however they do provide major obstacles to driver retention. About 70% of personal and corporate healthcare costs are related to lifestyle behaviors and when it comes to managing chronic illness, the costs are double the costs of those without chronic illness.
Chronic illness is taking drivers out of seats, workers off docks, and creating a need to replace them. However, with a few changes in workplace well-being methods and culture, there are many opportunities for companies to retain the trained and well performing professionals they already have. Addressing workplace well-being culture is an area that can be a first line of attack for driver and employee retention. Making a focus shift to implement a well-being culture will not only help a company increase retention of their valuable drivers and employees but also help their company improve chronic illness outcomes and save healthcare dollars at the same time.
An employee brings their whole life with them to work regardless of their gender, profession, or trade. Women just happen to bring a few additional concerns such as physical safety, harassment, and discrimination. People are multidimensional beings who need a lifestyle that balances many dimensions of well-being from physical, mental, and emotional well-being to vocational, financial, and relationship well-being.
Creating a workplace wellness culture that weaves the importance of personal well-being into the cultural fabric of the company will attract and retain the best talent, save money, and help employees create lasting health and well-being transformation. Using strategic tools such as an employee well-being survey, workplace values assessment, and a workplace culture audit provide great first steps to developing the well-being culture employees need and want. With a systematic process and tools like these, company leadership can create the well-being culture needed to start retaining their most important asset, their employees. Helping leaders create a person-centered workplace well-being culture is what we do best. Set up a free consultation TODAY and let us help you begin retaining your drivers and employees this quarter.