Health – the foundation of business growth, helping to fuel productivity and employee vitality


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Wednesday 24 April 2024 14:29 BST
Generation Game: With up to five generations now inhabiting the workplace, the health and well-being requirements can be wide-ranging
Generation Game: With up to five generations now inhabiting the workplace, the health and well-being requirements can be wide-ranging (iStock)

Cigna Healthcare is a Business Reporter client.

With up to five generations now co-existing in the workplace together, modern managers are facing unprecedented complexities when it comes to employee health and well-being. This societal shift, due in large measure to an ageing population, has given rise to the multigenerational workforce, and with it, a new era of diversity into the workplace.

While a challenge to manage each of these generations’ needs and expectations, prioritising their health and well-being, can help to fuel productivity and create a healthier return on investment (ROI), according to Cigna Healthcare. The global health service company is on a mission to raise awareness of why investing in employee health and vitality can, in fact, meet the diverse needs of today’s multi-generational workforce, and ultimately lay the foundation for business growth.

In response to these evolving employee needs, the company has launched a new initiative, Your Health Plan, Your Growth Plan, which aims to raise awareness about the negative effects of putting profit first, while also providing support and inspiration for organisations to prioritise the health of their people.

Cigna Healthcare’s recent vitality study underlines this, particularly the shift in disparities in energy levels between senior management and junior employees. The prevalence of burnout, particularly among Gen Z and Millennials is also high; a third of Gen Z (34 per cent) and Millennials (31 per cent ) are feeling tired or drained as a result of burnout, compared to just a quarter of Gen X (26 per cent) and less than one in five 60+ (18 per cent).

This research shows a stark generational divide, emphasising the need for more effective support strategies to start reducing burnout and stress in the workplace – the long-term value of investment in mental well-being cannot be understated. Employers can play a vital role in fostering a happier and healthier workplace by providing a healthcare plan that supports and empowers employees to improve their vitality and well-being, no matter which generation they belong to.

It also demonstrates that it is no longer enough to provide blanket, generic healthcare for employees. Every individual will have different needs, and catering to them individually will improve health outcomes, reduce overall costs and make it easier for them to access the care they need.

Understanding the Challenges to Support a Multigenerational Workforce

Supporting the needs of today’s multigenerational workforces while cultivating a culture around employee vitality and inclusivity is crucial to the success of an organisation. And an understanding of the combined challenges is a good place to start. The days of one-size-fits-all healthcare are long gone.

One common obstacle that organisations face is the tendency to predetermine employees’ abilities and needs based on their age, appearance or background, hindering inclusivity and contributing to imposter syndrome. Organisations should be inclusive and collaborative, with regular communication to create an environment where employees feel able to talk openly about mental health.

The support required by different generations is also changing. For the first time in history, employees have more elderly dependants than younger ones. Traditional support structures must be re-evaluated by organisations to ensure they are fit for purpose, particularly for employees with caring responsibilities. Employers should also seek to update their parental support policies to ensure fairness and inclusivity for all parents.

When communicating healthcare plans within the organisation, it is important to think about timing, cultural context and personalisation. What matters – and what makes sense – to one employee might not resonate with another.

Embracing the Benefits of a Multigenerational Workforce

There are also many benefits to having a multigenerational workforce and leaders should embrace the diversity that comes with it. Each generation brings unique perspective, knowledge sharing and skills transfer to name a few, which should be harnessed.

This involves fostering collaboration and innovation through shared experiences and leveraging the power of people’s differences as strengths for better outcomes. Overcoming challenges such as stereotypes and adapting support structures to accommodate changing demographics are crucial steps towards creating a supportive environment.

A multigenerational workforce also helps to build a strong pipeline of talent, allowing different generations to learn from each other. A good internal pipeline also helps employers to reduce hiring costs and focus resources on training courses to help individuals thrive.

While experienced individuals can share the skills and knowledge that they have acquired throughout their careers, it is also important to acknowledge the skills that younger workers bring. The increase in “reverse mentoring”, where younger workers share skills, has allowed for a two-way skills-sharing conversation.

A Healthcare Plan Which Empowers All

With multigenerational workforces here to stay, the changing dynamics of employee well-being means that employers must work harder than ever to motivate and retain people with benefits that support all aspects of well-being.

In the modern workplace, prioritising employee well-being is a team effort. Leaders and colleagues have shared responsibility when it comes to each other’s health and happiness. However, while it’s important that employers and colleagues offer support and resources, it’s ultimately up to individual employees to manage their own health. By recognising that well-being is a shared responsibility as well as a personal journey, organisations can create environments where employees thrive, leading to healthier, more productive teams.

Flexibility, empathy, prevention and engagement all help organisations, and employees thrive. By implementing a plan where health equates to growth, a robust return on investment can be delivered, such as increased performance, loyalty and a variety of other factors that blossom when businesses take your employees’ health seriously.

For more information about Cigna Healthcare Your Health Plan, Your Growth Plan, please visit: Your health plan, your growth plan (

(Cigna Healthcare)

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