Once exclusive to large corporations, wellness programs are now common place among small and mid-size organizations too. Often, these tend to be part of the compensation package offered to employees and give rise to the question whether a wellness program is a company perk or a benefit. Compensation packages are not just about the salary and include other things such as health insurance, 401(k) contributions, allowances, wellness initiatives, and even vacation time. Each of these can then be further classified as perks and benefits.
What Are Benefits?
Compensation with financial relevance that is offered in addition to a salary is defined as a benefit. Stock options, 401 (k) contributions, and health insurance are some kinds of non-wage compensation that employees may be offered. These tend to be more reliable than perks and target basic needs of the individual as well as their family.
Perks can be called bonuses that accompany a job and employers use it as a measurement of gauging the company culture at an organization. A perk can also be defined as something that assists the employee to perform better at the workplace. For instance, provision of a lounge area and supplying healthy snacks and beverages are some perks that increase the appeal of a job for employees. Discounts on air fare, gym memberships, wellness programs at the workplace, and offsite team building initiatives are all categorized as perks of a job.
Wellness as a Perk
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans reports that about 75% of employers now offer wellness programs. Significantly, three out of four such employers said that their primary motive in introducing such programs was to boost employee satisfaction and encourage engagement. Wellness programs are increasingly being used as a hook to lure prospective employees. A good wellness program is one that has something for everyone at the organization and this means ensuring variety. It should address different aspects of an individual’s well-being such as emotional and social health, healthy habits, and sleep patterns to name some. Leaders at the organization need to promote the initiatives through participation, communication campaigns, and by celebrating success stories.
A wellness program that is chalked out well and implemented in the appropriate manner can provide employees the strategies and tools to embrace and maintain healthy behaviors. This is one perk that can offer tangible benefits such as reduced healthcare costs and minimize absenteeism as also intangible rewards such as increased productivity and job satisfaction.