With the pandemic forcing many to delay health screenings and care, the insurance and medical costs are bound to keep increasing.
“A Mercer study reported a possible 5.3% increase in employee healthcare costs in 2021.”
In addition to the increasing healthcare costs that are impacting business growth and ROI, poor employee health and wellbeing can also impact workplace productivity, reduce employee engagement, increase absenteeism, higher employee turnover rates, and many other issues. To overcome most of these issues, many employers are implementing workplace wellness programs to improve employee wellbeing and build a healthy workplace culture.
Corporate Wellness Programs to Promote Health and Wellbeing
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) conducted a survey, Workplace Health in America, assessed the corporate wellness programs implemented by many employers across the entire country. The outcomes revealed that almost 46% of US employers were offering some kind of corporate wellness program. Most of these wellbeing programs focused mainly on employee nutrition, physical activity, and stress management. CDC developed a Worksite Health ScoreCard to help employers assess their workplace wellness programs. The scorecard helped them evaluate the program with evidence-based interventions to understand the loopholes and address them.
CDC also put forward a Workplace Health Promotion Program as a part of its Population Health programs with the chief objective of helping employers build effective workplace wellness programs to improve employee health and wellbeing. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion proposed a Workplace Health Model to employers with a comprehensive approach to address different chronic health conditions and risk factors.
The Workplace Health programs were a set of coordinated employee engagement strategies that promote holistic health programs to ensure employee wellbeing. They may include comprehensive aspects like workplace benefits, mental wellbeing, financial health, occupational wellness, environmental sustainability, and more factors that contribute to employee health and wellbeing.
The most common employee health and wellbeing strategies include –
- Health Risk Assessments and Screenings
- Health Coaching
- Disease Management and Prevention Programs
- Employee health insurance coverage
- Healthy and Positive Workplace Culture
Outcomes of the CDC Workplace Health Survey
Studies show that preventable chronic health conditions are the biggest contributors to employer-sponsored healthcare costs and medical claims. The 4 most expensive chronic health conditions that cost employers a lot towards employee healthcare expenses were – angina pectoris, heart attack, hypertension, and diabetes. In addition to these, workplace burnout causing stress is another leading cause of illness and lost productivity.
The 5 key risk factors or chronic health conditions that cost US employers almost $36.4 billion annually towards higher absenteeism rates and lost productivity due to illness include – hypertension, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and obesity. A CDC study showed that 6 in every 10 US adults suffer from a chronic health condition, and 4 in 10 US adults have two or more health conditions. These chronic health conditions cost employers $3.8 trillion annually towards healthcare costs.
“Studies show that employers can save up to $730 billion on healthcare costs by improving employee lifestyle habits.”
CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity promotes healthy habits at the workplace. It helps employers encourage healthy lifestyle habits like eating healthy and being physically active throughout the day. CDC supports workplace policies like using vending machines and workplace pantries with healthy snacks and meal options. Also, implementing wellness challenge ideas that encourage physical activity can help in improving employee fitness.
Well-designed workplace wellness programs have a positive impact on employee health and wellbeing. From reducing health risks to improving overall health status, workplace wellness programs can help achieve holistic health. For organizations, employee wellness programs help in reducing employee healthcare costs, boost employee engagement, better employee productivity, better employee retention, and positive workplace culture.