Now more than ever well-being drives the bigger picture for nonprofits. So, what does this mean for your organization? It’s all about creating a workplace where your employee and your nonprofit can thrive.

We recently attended the first Impact Summit hosted by LinkedIn for Nonprofits where employee wellness was on the agenda. Employees who participate in employee wellness programs report less stress and improved mental health, and overall can be fitter and happier. Organizations benefit with higher morale, more productive employees, reduced absenteeism, and increased loyalty, which all help to create a better work culture for the nonprofit.

Employee wellness programs can be particularly crucial for nonprofits who struggle to pay as much as their for-profit counterparts. Two concrete things that can be beneficial for employees are increasing the number of PTO/sick days or offering summer Fridays with shortened hours. Other things that organizations can do are offerings that might not dramatically affect budgets:

  • Paying attention to mental health by offering wellness app subscriptions (such as Calm or Headspace)
  • Promoting annual physicals and flu shots
  • Organizing a day of service for employees to do together
  • Quarterly coffee chats
  • Wellness challenges or adventures
  • Hosting motivational speakers throughout the year

TSG looked at many nonprofit (and for-profit) organizations to see what they do for their employees. Food can be a popular option, with some organizations providing healthy breakfasts or lunch on a regular basis. Here are some additional programs we found (including a few that our own clients are using with their employees):

  • Hosting regular staff appreciation events to create opportunities for joy (e.g., potluck dinners, celebrating birthdays, weddings, new babies)
  • Recognizing every employee with an individual email on a work anniversary, and with a gift on a milestone work anniversary
  • Creating a fitness center, or providing reduced access to one
  • Creating incentives for those who participate in a smoking cessation program
  • Offering semi-regular yoga or massage services to employees
  • Providing access to financial education classes for employees
  • Offering ESL classes for employees and/or their families

Looking for more ideas? Go to WellSteps where you can find more wellness strategies that are broken out by high, medium, and low implementation costs.

Are you looking to create an employee wellness program for your organization? There are seven important steps to follow when creating a program that works for your organization and your employees:

  1. Survey employees. Find out what they are looking for.
  2. Identify potential sponsors. This can help to defray some (or all!) associated program costs.
  3. Create a wellness committee. Have both employees and managers be responsible for creating the program.
  4. Define goals. Are you looking for better overall physical health? Mental health?
  5. Establish budget. Define what your organization can spend on the program.
  6. Communication. Make sure to communicate to your employees what is available to them.
  7. Evaluation. Are these programs working? Are employees participating? What can you be doing better?

Ultimately, these wellness programs can benefit everyone in the organization. For many nonprofits, supporting employees can only enhance your team’s commitment to serving your organization and ultimately the community you serve. One of our partners said it best, “Each individual is different, and in many ways, you need to meet people where they are.  Some may need to work from home for a few days, some may need something else.” If you are able to give your employees a bit of your best self, they will thrive and give you their best right back.

Have any thoughts to share with TSG? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at