THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS POST
- Wellness programs have long proven to produce benefits for employees and organizations
- Wellness programs are a strong way to inherently promote office culture and increase retention
- Professional employer organizations (PEOs) can offer wellness programs suited to small-/mid-sized businesses comparable to large organizations but at cost-effective pricing
Healthy people tend to be happy people. Happy people tend to do better work. Putting these two facts together, one could assume healthy, happy people will perform their jobs better, which in turn benefits the company’s overall well-being. But there is no need to assume this; employee wellness programs in the workplace have proven this to be true for years.
As companies look for ways to improve productivity, and their bottom line, wellness programs can be a fantastic way to achieve both goals. But what are the specific ways in which a wellness program can help your organization become a more healthy, efficient place to be? Read along and discover the many ways a good wellness program can be a good fit – pun intended – for companies of all sizes.
LESS LOST PRODUCTION, MORE SAVINGS
Healthy employees use less sick leave. That is not a new revelation. What may be surprising, however, is just how much of an uptick in employee health can affect a company’s bottom line.
A 2010 feature in the Harvard Business Review “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?” looked at Johnson & Johnson for data. According to the article, wellness programs had saved the company $250 million on health care costs in the past decade with a return of $2.71 in savings for every dollar spent.
The article also cited a study at a different company where 57% of employees were converted to low-risk cardiac status after 6 months in a wellness program. This resulted in medical claim costs declining nearly $1,500 per participant at the 185 employee organization compared to the previous year, or a $6 savings per $1 spent in the wellness program.
In other words, healthier employees miss less work, cost less in medical claims, saving time and money in the process.
WELLNESS AS A CULTURE ENHANCER
A second added benefit of wellness programs can be found in their impact on workplace culture. A 2016 Harvard Business Review article (“How to Design a Corporate Wellness Plan That Actually Works”) details this fact.
Just like a healthy company culture is built intentionally, the article describes how a “total health” culture is “supportive of career, emotional, financial, physical and social well-being.” This helps explain how Honest Tea adapted its own wellness program to include workouts its younger employees wanted. Listening to the employees and giving them what they wanted versus a “take it or leave it; we’re trying” approach was a huge revelation.
Group activities through wellness programs employees enjoy can also breed camaraderie in the workplace. As the director of a health and wellness company told Bethesda magazine in 2016, “When other people in your building or office are getting up to go to a class that’s sponsored by your employer, you think, ‘They have just as much work as I do. I’m sure I can take an hour to go work out with them … Once you do, no matter what else you have coming up in your day, you think, ‘OK, I can do this.’”
Just be careful not to make these programs or offerings mandatory. That can, in turn, have an adverse effect on employee morale and the efficacy of your wellness program. It can also open you to potential lawsuits or complaint issues.
ATTRACT TALENT AND INCREASE EMPLOYEE RETENTION
If you are happy and healthy at your job, you’re a lot less likely to leave it – and the research has shown this to be the case for many years.
A 2018 feature by Forbes Business Development Council member and Wellness Workdays founder Debra Wein cited a survey that claims 87% of employees consider health and wellness packages when choosing an employer. Wein also notes how 67% of employees at companies with wellness programs like their jobs more and nearly 54% of Gen Z workers consider them important/extremely important when making a job decision. Additionally, 45% of employees at small to medium-size companies – like the ones Erigo specializes in helping with HR needs – say they would stay at their jobs longer because of their employers’ wellness programs.
THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS
With so many benefits, one might wonder if there are any drawbacks to employee wellness programs. The main con with wellness programs is the same one typically associated with any new program in the workplace: cost. In addition to the hiring and extra salary expense of wellness coordinators, investments in a wellness program can involve installation of exercise equipment, health screenings and/or gym equipment or instructors.
However, employers can significantly reduce the costs of such programs by partnering with a professional employer organization (or PEO). For example, Erigo Employer Solutions offers all employees leveraging their benefit offerings access to Humana’s Go365 programs, at no additional cost to employers. Our experts specialize in helping small and mid-size businesses implement wellness programs that can be customized to suit your organizations’ goals. Contact us today and learn how we can help you create a healthier, happy work environment through our program offerings.