With plenty of evidence across the corporate wellness market proving that happy and healthy employees are highly productive, the demand to bring on board good employee wellness programs is also on the rise. The right corporate wellness program can educate the workforce about healthy lifestyle habits, the importance of nutrition, exercise, and sleep, and stress management. These holistic wellness aspects can help employees deal with workplace burnout issues, health issues, absenteeism, and overall employee productivity concerns, enhancing workplace wellness, lowering healthcare costs, and boosting the business ROI and VOI.
Although a well-designed employee wellness program can give positive results in better employee health, enhanced productivity, and a healthy workplace culture, there is another concerning side to this equation – the wellness program costs.
How Much Will Your Wellness Program Cost?
The wellness requirements of one employee are different from that of another colleague. Similarly, your company’s wellness program is different from that of another, as it is designed specifically to meet employee wellness needs, business goals, and budget. The individual elements and aspects of the whole wellness program need to be studied and analyzed to draw a price for your workplace wellness program. However, it is also equally important to know the value and impact of the element. A higher investment now could possibly help you deal with lower expenses later.
To know how much your wellness program is going to cost your company, consider and evaluate the 8 significant factors that drive the cost of your corporate wellbeing programs.
1. Wellness Platform
A corporate wellness platform allows you to organize user data, wellness program modules, and monitor employee engagement and progress. Built using advanced corporate wellness technology, most of the platforms are cloud-based, secure, and HIPAA-compliant. A user-friendly interface makes it easy for the employees to log their activity details, whereas the administrators can review the progress, track reward redemptions, and other activities.
The wellness platform of Wellness360 offers everything you need to run a successful employee wellness program – in one place. Right from the email templates and push notifications to pre-defined challenges, reward campaigns, reports, device integration, and tracking features, the platform has a simple, self-explanatory layout, with customization options.
With so many features needed to run a wellness program smoothly, it incurs cost to build and operate the wellness platform. Most wellness platforms and programs quote a monthly charge per employee, or depending on the total number of employees. So, choose the corporate wellness platform that offers you valuable modules at a good price.
2. Wellness Program Staff
The wellness program vendor may provide you with a comprehensive platform built with advanced corporate wellness technology and modules. However, they do not understand the wellness requirements of your workforce better than someone from within the company. An internal wellness program staff who can understand and handle all the wellness program proceedings could be of great help. The cost of paying a part-time or full-time wellness program coordinator could be a benefit for you, as they would be focusing completely on planning and executing the program for maximum success.
3. Biometric Screenings
Biometric screenings are a vital onboarding workplace health assessment that helps in evaluating and setting the benchmarks to plan the best-suited wellness program modules. These health screenings give employee health and wellness outcomes based on parameters like height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Biometric screenings are conducted by third-party screening vendors and are charged as per employee count or depending on the package opted for.
4. Activities and Wellness Challenges
Wellness challenges and activities are an integral part of the employee wellness program. Right from gym memberships, spa appointments, workshops, free lunches, and health clinics, choose what suits your workforce’s wellness interests. The amount you spend on these amenities should be considered carefully after lining them with the needs of the employees. If you are spending thousands of dollars on a gym membership for all your employees and more than half do not attend it, it is going to be a waste.
5. Rewards and Incentives
Rewards and incentives are probably the most expensive segment of corporate wellness programs. However, they are important as they give that extra push to the employees to participate and reach their wellness goals.
A RAND Corporation survey showed that the participation rates for wellness programs with no incentives were only 20%, whereas the engagement rates for the programs with incentives increased twice the number.
Be it outcome-based programs or participation-based programs, choose the incentives that are best suited to your company’s budget and interests. Gym memberships, e-Gift cards, merchandise offers, HSA contributions, wearables, or workshops – the sky is the limit. Decide how much budget you can allocate for incentives, and set your reward campaigns accordingly.
6. Health Coaching
Although optional, health coaching is an effective element of workplace wellness programs. Coaches can help employees set realistic wellness goals and guide them through the journey.
A New England Journal of Medicine study revealed that health coaching reduced basic healthcare costs by 3.6% and hospital admissions by 10.1%.
The cost of health coaching depends on the coaching model you choose for your wellness program. While the traditional coaching model is expensive since the coaches are on-board full-time, the inbound coaching approach could be cost-friendly as the coaches will have fixed schedules and booked appointments to interact with the employees.
Analytics is the core element that helps you evaluate the success or failure of wellness programs. The corporate wellness market offers many analytical tools for data analysis. Right from your investment to the healthcare costs, expenses, and ROI, these tools can calculate it all and analyze the outcomes. Most analyses can be done accurately by experts. The costs towards analytics can be spent either on a good tool, or to hire an analytics expert. If you choose an analytics tool, make sure it can easily integrate with the platform, is easy to use, and is secure enough to protect your data.
8. Marketing and Promotion
Creating awareness about your wellness program is an important step to letting your employees know the fundamentals of all the modules and their benefits.
A Gallup study said that only 60% of employees are usually aware that their employer offers an employee wellness program.
For better employee engagement, it is crucial to get the word out. The promotions can be done through flyers, email announcements, team meetings, billboard posters, and more. The cost of these promotional materials is usually less than the amount spent for incentives or coaching. However, it needs continuous efforts and constant reminders to the employees to rush the excitement and message.
Irrespective of the budget you allocate and spend towards your employee wellness program, it is going to take time for it to reflect on better ROI and workplace culture.
Going by the numbers, many studies have shown that every dollar spent towards a well-planned workplace wellness program brings an average ROI of $1.50 – $3.
Apart from the ROI and VOI, a rightly designed wellness program can help your employees adopt healthy lifestyle habits, improve workplace wellness, and create an overall culture of health and happiness for all. Make sure that the costs spent on the wellness programs are a sensible investment, and not just an expense.