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Aon  |  Professional Services Practice
Can Law Firms Afford Not to Invest in Employee Wellbeing?

Release Date: October 2021
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As demonstrated by the ABA Wellbeing Pledge, firms are taking action to support a healthy workplace and the mental health of their employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially increased levels of employee stress, burnout and anxiety over the last 18 months. This has highlighted that employee wellbeing programs are an essential element of business strategy.

Investing in wellbeing can have a direct impact on a firm’s performance, as evidenced by the findings of Aon’s Global Wellbeing Survey. Aon has also found that this investment must be more than just a variety of initiatives or programs, it must be a firm strategy focusing on the future of work, flexible working styles and organizational resilience.

A firm cannot expect to succeed in developing this strategy without leadership support. The strategy should be a people and performance-based approach that balances resources and opportunities with a commitment to achieving optimal health, resilience and performance for the employee, the firm and the community.

Employees with higher levels of wellbeing bring more energy and focus to their roles. Client facing employees will tend to be more present, responsive, and better equipped to develop fresh ideas, navigate challenges and contribute to a positive client experience.



Strategy


Creating a healthy, high-performing workforce means going beyond piecemeal wellbeing apps and programs. It requires a strategy.

A robust approach to wellbeing develops from a clear vision and is tied to measurable objectives. Leadership commitment is crucial – to align the objectives within the culture of the firm and to ensure the right resources are available. By strategically reaching beyond loose efforts or individual activities, firms can connect wellbeing with performance.



Leaders and Champions


Bringing together the interests of the managing partner, the chief human resources officer and the chief financial officer should result in a connected wellbeing strategy — the wellbeing story then becomes part of the DNA of the firm from both a client and an employee perspective.

Commitment to wellbeing must also exist at an operational level and requires champions throughout the firm. Having leaders and champions work together ensures that commitment to wellbeing remains strong at all levels of the firm.



Mindset Shift


Historically, “wellness” has been a Human Resource issue used as a tool to change employee behavior. A shift in mindset is needed to instead treat employee wellbeing as a strategy that influences a firm’s performance.

Creating this shift in the culture of the firm must come first, as it is the firm’s culture that will determine whether wellbeing programs flourish, producing the desired operational and business results, or wither away.



Measurement


Metrics help determine whether a firm is getting its desired outcomes. A firm viewing wellbeing as a people and performance strategy will prioritize the development and monitoring of appropriate metrics throughout the organization to measure the impact the wellbeing strategy has had on the firm’s work environment, its people, and its overall success.



Making Wellbeing Count


  • 1. Do you have a wellbeing strategy in place?
  • 2. How engaged are employees with your wellbeing initiatives?
  • 3. What is the firm’s biggest business challenge?
  • 4. How do you measure the impact of your wellbeing strategy?
  • 5. How do you motivate employees to do their best work?
  • 6. Can you connect your wellbeing strategy to the performance of the firm?



Contact


Aon’s Professional Services Practice and our Health & Benefits colleagues value your feedback. To discuss any of the topics raised in this article, please contact Mark Scarafone or Peggy Sheedy or Jake Delman.

mark-scarafone



Mark Scarafone
Senior Vice President and Health & Benefits Leader
Radnor, PA



Peggy-Sheedy



Peggy Sheedy
Vice President and Director
Boston



Jake Delman



Jake Delman
Senior Consultant
Washington, DC