Well-Being 3.0 - Aligning Well-Being with People and Boardroom Priorities

Employee Benefits

Well-Being 3.0 - Aligning Well-Being with People and Boardroom Priorities

In recent years, we have witnessed some notable transitions in employee health programs – beginning with an emphasis on physical health (Wellness 1.0), then shifting to a focus on holistic frameworks across physical, emotional, financial and social health (Well-Being 2.0). However, this holistic view still lacks a connection to business initiatives like Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) and sustainability. Many organizations with Wellness 1.0 and Well-Being 2.0 approaches still struggle to demonstrate the value of their programs.

At the same time, many C-suite leaders view employee well-being as an indicator of organizational resiliency―intrinsically linked to other business and sustainability metrics like talent attraction and retention, employee engagement, productivity and profitability. As a result, leading organizations are shifting their approach―from tactical programs to broader strategies aligned with total rewards and organizational sustainability. This transformative shift has brought us Well-Being 3.0 and a new opportunity to implement strategies that make both people sense and business sense.

Today’s Well-Being Program Realities

  • Well-being investment is growing. The average employer’s budget for well-being programs increased 36% from 2019 to 2020, with large employers (20,000+ employees) reporting an average spend of $10.4 million.1 This number increased to $11 million in 2022, presumably driven by a heightened focus on well-being during the pandemic. For mid-market employers (fewer than 5,000 employees), the average amount spent per employee increased 60% in 2022.2
  • C-suite attention is intensifying. The increased spending on employee well-being programs coincides with the opinions of a growing number of C-suite executives, who say employee well-being is a strategic boardroom and organizational priority.  A recent study of 3,000 CEOs conducted by IBM indicates that 77% of high-performing company CEOs will prioritize employee well-being even if it affects near-term profitability.3
  • Employees are not feeling the impact. According to a recent Gallup survey, employees consistently ranked “the organization cares about employees’ well-being” in their top three areas of what they most look for in an employer. Millennial and Gen Z workers rank this as their number one workplace want, with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and ethical corporate behavior also high on their lists.4 Yet, despite increased investment and executive-level attention, “fewer than one in four employees feel strongly that their organization cares about their well-being – the lowest percentage in nearly a decade.”5

This chasm between organizational emphasis and employee perception creates an imperative for employers to consider developing a transformative Well-Being 3.0 design.

Employer Well-Being Opportunities

Here are three ways organizations can adopt a Well-Being 3.0 approach that better aligns with people’s needs and boardroom priorities:

  1. Connect the dots. Employers should articulate how their Environmental and Social Governance (ESG), Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives support employee well-being.
  2. Focus on human-centered design and personalized experiences. The design and delivery of well-being programs should be informed by employee insights (preferences, risks, needs) and the organization’s DEI objectives.
  3. Measure, target and report. Employee well-being metrics are also indicators of organizational resiliency and sustainability. Organizations should track and report well-being metrics with the intent to demonstrate how employee well-being and business performance are interrelated and interdependent.

Well-Being 3.0 presents employers with new realities and opportunities, and paves the way to help optimize both business and employee well-being objectives.


  1. 2021, 11th annual Health and Well-Being Survey from Fidelity Investments® and Business Group on Health. Retrieved from: https://www.businessgrouphealth.org/en/who-we-are/newsroom/press-releases/95-percent-of-employers-now-include-emotional-and-mental-health-programs-in-well-being-platforms
  2. 2022, 13th Annual Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-Being Survey from Fidelity Investments® and Business Group on Health. Retrieved from: https://www.businessgrouphealth.org/who-we-are/newsroom/press-releases/2022-fidelity-survey
  3. 2021, IBM Study: Employee Well-being is Major Priority for Many CEOs of High Performing Companies. Retrieved from: https://newsroom.ibm.com/2021-02-02-IBM-Study-Employee-Well-being-is-Major-Priority-for-Many-CEOs-of-High-Performing-Companies
  4. 2021, Gallup – Employees Want Wellbeing From Their Job, and They’ll Leave to Find It. Retrieved from: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/352952/employees-wellbeing-job-leave-find.aspx
  5. 2022, Gallup – Percent Who Feel Employer Cares About Their Wellbeing Plummets. Retrieved from: https://www.gallup.com/workplace/390776/percent-feel-employer-cares-wellbeing-plummets.aspx
Abinue Fortingo, MPH, CPH

Principal, Population Health Consultant

Kelly Polinski, M.P.H., C.W.P.M.

National Population Health Consultant

DISCLAIMER: Brown & Brown, Inc. and all its affiliates, do not provide legal, regulatory or tax guidance, or advice. If legal advice counsel or representation is needed, the services of a legal professional should be sought. The information in this document is intended to provide a general overview of the topics and services contained herein. Brown & Brown, Inc. and all its affiliates, make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the document and undertakes no obligation to update or revise the document based upon new information or future changes.