When we talk to employers about the benefits of corporate wellness programs, one of the top concerns on their list is the high cost of health care. The desire to implement a wellness program that will have an impact on containing or lowering health care costs is almost a universal, so there is always interest in what kind of return on investment a wellness program can yield. But make no mistake – while reducing health care costs is a top concern, it is by no means the only one. Employer reasons for adding a wellness program to their corporate benefits & perks roster are many and varied.
Here are some other benefits of corporate wellness programs that employers seek.
Recruitment and retention – Employers are always looking for that edge in a competitive marketplace that will help them attract top-tier talent. Not only is wellness a popular perk, it says something about the organization’s values – it says that the employer values employee health enough to make an investment. Building a culture of wellness and offering benefits that bolster a rich work-life balance can help employers attract good employees – and can help retain them, too.
Stress management – Stress is a serious workplace issue. The CDC says that “One-fourth of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.” Plus, studies show that job stress is a high risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic health conditions. In an attempt to relieve stress, people often turn to unhealthy behaviors, such as overeating, drinking or smoking. This approach layers problems on problems. A good wellness program will offer stress coaching and counseling to help employees identify their stressors and find healthy ways to manage that stress.
Higher engagement – Engaging employees can be an ongoing challenge for employers. Health and wellness activities and shared goals can strengthen teamwork and improve morale. Wellness challenges can foster healthy competition.
Enhanced productivity – Increased awareness of and focus on fitness and nutrition can improve the overall health of the work population as a whole and can lead to better focus and higher productivity. Fit, healthy employees can also lead to reduced absenteeism due to illness.
Healthier, happier workforce – There are many benefits to a workforce comprised of happy, healthy people. Lowering stress, reducing obesity, increasing activity, eliminating tobacco, moderating alcohol: such healthy choices can be important factors in reducing the risk of chronic lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
The American Society of Association Executives talks more about The Benefits of Workplace Wellness Programs, offering some experiences from wellness programs of the American Medical Association and the Ohio Hospital Association, noting that:
Healthier employees make for a stronger association. If you’re looking to build a workplace with more staff camaraderie, greater productivity, and less absenteeism, an organization-wide wellness initiative can help you get there. And the gravy? Lower insurance costs.