It is pretty much evident that employee wellness programs improve workforce health, workplace engagement, and overall productivity. It also reduces employer-sponsored healthcare costs, absenteeism, presenteeism, and potential health risks of the workforce.
Employee wellness programs can come in different sizes and variants. However, the key objective of all programs is to promote workforce holistic wellbeing. In short, workplace programs must –
- Reduce health risk behaviors of employees
- Preventive and disease management programs
- Reduce mental stress conditions
- Enhance productivity
- Reduce healthcare costs
- Boost employee engagement
- Build a healthy and positive workplace culture
Studies show that well-designed workplace programs offer plenty of benefits for employees and employers. However, the contradicting reports make it confusing for many.
Here are some statistics collected from different resources that every employer should know before implementing their workplace wellness program.
· An organization that promotes employee health and wellbeing is more likely to retain 7 out of 10 employees.
· 89% of employees with access to mental health programs and resources are more likely to recommend their workplace positively in the market.
· Workplace health solutions are known to reduce absenteeism by 27% and healthcare costs by 26%.
· Almost 61% of employees engaging in workplace programs said they are making healthier lifestyle choices because of the wellness solutions.
· Around 38% of wellness program participants were taking lesser sick day leaves.
· 91% of employees working in organizations that supported workplace wellbeing felt motivated to do better.
· 74% of employers felt offering employee wellness solutions was an effective recruitment and retention strategy.
· 54% of the workforce expected financial rewards and incentives from their employers to lead a healthy lifestyle.
· With 29% of employees exercising only once or less a week, lack of exercise was a common lifestyle issue.
· Every 1 out of 6 employees suffered from some form of a mental health issue at the workplace.
Here are a few more pieces of evidence that are backed by research.
1. Improved Employee Health Behaviors
Many factors affect the behaviors of an individual. An employee who is physically fit and mentally sound is more likely to be productive than their unhealthy counterparts. A well-designed employee wellness program with the right features, modules, wellness software, and engagement strategies will help in cultivating healthy habits, leading to healthier behaviors, thus, reducing potential health risks. For example, implementing a smoking cessation program for a group of smokers can help them in quitting smoking, and cultivate healthier eating and exercise habits, which in the long run will reduce health risks.
2. Reduced Healthcare Costs
When employees follow healthy habits consistently, there is a lesser likelihood of falling sick. Based on data collected from almost 22 employee wellness programs and their impact on company-sponsored healthcare costs, the overall average ROI was $3.27 on healthcare costs for every dollar spent on the wellbeing initiatives. In a study, Johnson & Johnson revealed that they saved almost $250 million over 6 years, giving an ROI of $2.71 for every dollar invested in their workplace wellbeing programs.
3. Higher Employee Engagement
A study by the American Psychological Association reported that companies that supported employee health and wellbeing had 91% of their workforce feeling motivated and engaged. Implementing the right employee engagement strategies is the key to ensuring higher participation and the eventual success of the workplace wellbeing program. Fun wellness challenge ideas, rewards and incentives, gamification, device integration, real-time tracking, and such features can result in higher employee engagement.
4. Better Workplace Productivity
In addition to boosting employee engagement and reducing health risks, well-designed corporate wellness programs also enhance overall productivity and business growth. A monotonous workplace environment, stress, and physical illness can impact their focus and productivity at work. A corporate wellness program that prioritizes physical and mental health while making it a fun activity can reduce stress and motivate them. Studies show that employees who don’t eat healthily showed a 66% increase in presenteeism, followed by a 50% increase because of those who don’t exercise, and a 28% increase due to tobacco use. An NCBI study showed employee wellness programs were able to consistently improve overall workplace productivity.
5. Lower Absenteeism Rates
Frequent employee absenteeism can affect productivity, engagement, and overall workplace culture. Poor health can be a key reason for frequent absenteeism or presenteeism. A report by the Indiana State Department of Health revealed that with lower absenteeism rates, companies can save an average of $5.82 for every dollar spent on employee wellness. A comprehensive employee wellness program can keep the workforce motivated, engaged, happy, healthy, and enthusiastic about their daily habits and work. All these positive qualities reflect good health, less sickness, lower absenteeism, and better productivity.
6. Higher Retention Rates
Employees of different working generations have different expectations from their employers. Millennials are known to expect more health and wellness support from their organizations. Similarly, DEI programs and workplace culture are primary considerations for Gen Z employees while choosing their employers. Also, employee benefits packages, like offering wellness programs at work play a huge role in employee recruitment and retention. As per a Gallup study, 35% of the respondents said that workplace benefits and compensation package was the main reason for them to look for a new job, According to an American Psychological Association study, 51% of employees in companies that do not offer wellness programs at work were intending to quit their job in the following year. So, in addition to keeping a check on the latest employee wellbeing trends, employers must also keep a check on the latest employee engagement and retention trends.
Apart from all these benefits for employees and employers, a well-designed and well-executed employee wellness program boosts employee morale and self-confidence. These programs allow the workforce to de-stress, get a clear insight into their personal lifestyle and wellbeing, and instill a renewed sense of energy and satisfaction in them.
In short, employee wellness programs must be personalized and curated to ensure their modules can fulfill the specific health and wellbeing needs of the workforce.