Employee wellness programs have become the latest workplace trend, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 1970’s, employee wellness programs were all about workplace benefits and trends. However, since over a decade, the priorities have shifted towards employee health and wellness, and these wellbeing programs now accommodate most of the holistic wellness aspects. Employee expectations of employee benefits and perks have changed, and a well-designed employee wellness program can offer the right benefits at the right time.
“An SHRM study showed that almost 75% of employers are offering some kind of an employee wellness program at their organization.”
What are Employee Wellness Programs?
Ideally, employee wellbeing programs are corporate initiatives implemented to improve employee health and wellness. They focus on holistic wellness dimensions equipped with different resources to tools, including a wellness platform with the latest corporate wellness technology to manage the wellbeing program. It does have to be something where companies have to spend a lot of their wellness dollars. Simple small changes can be considered as employee wellness programs if they aim at improving their health and wellbeing.
A few common modules of employee wellbeing programs that can be implemented by organizations of any size include –
- Preventative health screenings and HRAs
- Free healthy lunches and snacks
- Fun activities and wellness challenges
- Buying wearable and activity trackers
- Gym memberships or on-site gym or yoga sessions
- Health coaching and expert consultations
- Holistic wellness webinars or workshops
- Flexible work hours
- Rewards and incentives
What are the Benefits of Corporate Wellbeing Programs?
Irrespective of what modules they offer, all corporate wellness programs aim to improve employee health and wellness. The programs and wellness challenges help employees to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle habits that reduce potential health risks and improve their quality of life. While the employees benefit by getting to lead a life of holistic wellness, successful corporate wellness programs also benefit the employers in many ways.
Here are a few common benefits of the employee wellness programs –
Boost Employee Engagement and Productivity
Companies that incorporate workplace wellness programs are known to have relatively higher employee engagement rates. According to a Gallup study, higher employee engagement rates are associated with better employee health, workplace wellness, and organizational productivity. A Gallup poll showed that employees lose productivity worth $450 – $550 billion annually due to poor employee engagement. Another CDC study reported that employers faced a loss of $1,685 per employee annually due to poor employee productivity. Many studies proved it that companies who implemented well-suited workplace wellness programs regularly saw higher employee productivity.
Reduced Healthcare Costs
Healthcare costs are rising and it is anticipated to increase by 5.3% in 2021. Studies show that for every dollar spent towards employee wellness programs, companies saved almost $3.27 on healthcare costs. Employee wellbeing programs can help in identifying potential health risks and can offer disease management programs or wellness challenges to prevent any complications or risks. When the health conditions and diseases are in control, it reduces the healthcare costs.
Better Workplace Culture
A Virgin HealthMiles Inc. study reported that 77% of employees with access to corporate wellness programs said it positively improved their workplace culture. This is because well-designed corporate wellness programs improve social wellness within the workplace, boost communication, and build stronger teams. Also, they feel the employers care for their employee wellbeing and reciprocate it with loyalty and employee engagement. When the workplace works in unison, it becomes a better place to work with positive, healthy, and flexible workplace culture.
Easy Recruitment and Higher Employee Retention
Employee wellness programs are now considered a part of the workplace benefits and perks package. Employees now choose employers who offer the best workplace benefits and perks packages, along with better workplace culture. Offering employee wellness programs also give the organizations a competitive edge in the market, as more candidates are likely to choose an organization with better employee benefits packages. Employee wellbeing programs not only help with easy recruitment but also increase employee retention and reduce turnover rates. A study by American Psychological Association showed that in companies that offer employee wellbeing programs, only 25% of employees were planning on leaving their jobs in the next year.
Reduces Absenteeism Rates
When employees are sick, unhealthy, or unhappy at work, they tend to be more absent at the workplace. Absenteeism leads to a loss in productivity and affects the overall business and workplace wellness. Companies with corporate wellness programs are less likely to have their employees absent from work as it builds a positive workplace culture and employees are healthier. Studies show that employers save an average of $5.82 on lower absenteeism rates for every dollar spent on well-designed corporate wellness programs.
In short, corporate wellness programs offer multiple benefits for both – employees and employers. They are key factors to boost employee wellness and workplace wellbeing. Employees who participate and are engaged with their employee wellness programs are more likely to be healthier, happier, and productive, which means better organizational productivity and higher ROI. While the employee wellness programs build loyalty and wellbeing, they also help in saving the company’s wellness dollars and boosts employer brand.