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How Technology Can Boost Employee Wellbeing When We Need It Most

April 8, 2021

At a Glance

Employers can do a lot to improve employee well-being for their frontline and entry-level workers—if they know what practices to adopt and what tech tools to deploy.

Laura Roberts Senior Director

“How are you doing?”

How often have you been asked that, over the past year? As a parent? As an individual? As an employee? How often have you asked others that same question?

It’s not an easy question to answer, regardless of how the pandemic has affected you, your family, your company, or your employees. That’s because it compels you to assess your sense of “well-being,” or how external factors like your environment and various stressors, expectations, and responsibilities affect your health and happiness. In a turbulent world filled with compounding challenges, it’s hard for anyone to assess their own well-being with any certainty, let alone judge how other people are doing.

For employers, though, it’s becoming increasingly important to try. The pandemic and its related challenges have made it difficult for employees to show up as their best, most productive selves at work. That’s because, like most of us, they’re anxious about one or more of a multitude of issues—from child care and homeschooling to financial stress, the likelihood that they or a loved one will contract COVID-19, the country’s reckoning with racial injustice, and more. This is especially true of members of groups that have been hit hardest by the events of the past year, including young people, essential workers in low-wage jobs, and people of color employed in predominantly white workplaces.

Employers can do a lot to improve the well-being of their frontline and entry-level workers—if they know what practices to adopt and what technology tools to deploy.

Last year, at the height of the pandemic, we talked to employers who were interested in learning how they could better support the well-being of their employees, often with an eye toward improving their worker retention rates and boosting overall job satisfaction and productivity. Many of them expressed interest in adopting promising new talent practices that promote employee development and advancement, or finding ways to enhance their benefits packages.

We know these types of practices benefit workers. Many of them map to JFF’s Impact Employer Talent Framework, which outlines best-in-class employee-focused talent strategies. But the employers we interviewed often were not thinking about using new technology tools to take these practices to the next level.

JFF recently released Thrive@Work, which details the results of a market scan we undertook to assess what we see as cutting-edge technology tools for supporting people at work and contributing to their well-being. Our scan focused specifically on young workers from low-income backgrounds, but the solutions we feature in the report benefit all employees.

For our summary of the top practices that contribute to improved employee well-being, and a rundown of the ways in which offerings from five of our 18 “Innovators to Watch” can augment talent practices in the ways we describe above, read the full article on Medium.

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