Wellness programs are any program that seeks to improve the health or emotional well-being of employees. These programs can range from free gym memberships to paying them money for meeting fitness goals and programs intended to provide a safety net for staff. Let’s look at why you should implement a wellness program within your organization. We’ll also share a few steps you can take now to achieve these goals.
It Improves Employee Engagement
It is easy to say the company cares. It is a very different matter to take action and demonstrate that the company actually cares about the employees. When you do this, engagement levels go up.
Studies have found that less than a third of employees are engaged. About half are not engaged and up to a fifth are actively disengaged. Disengaged people have lower productivity and are unlikely to go above and beyond expectations. Actively disengaged people are so unhappy that they are unproductive. And their attitude can erode the productivity of their team.
Wellness programs increase engagement and raise morale. This leads to greater productivity in the workplace.
It Improves Morale
Morale can have an influence on productivity levels but can also affect your company in another way – turnover. When people have high morale, they’re happy with their jobs and less likely to quit. Improve your retention rates, and you won’t have to spend as much money filling the roles left empty by those who quit. You may even save on recruitment costs because people refer their friends to the company they love working for. You’ll certainly save money on absenteeism since people won’t decide to call in sick when they’re just sick of coming into work. That alone will boost productivity while lowering labor costs.
The Quality of Work Will Improve
Disengaged employees are just going through the motions. They’re more likely to make mistakes. Correcting their mistakes will hurt productivity while missing them will result in inferior products or services that hurt the company’s reputation. This explains why company wellness programs can improve both how hard people work and the quality of their work.
A side benefit of improved engagement and morale is that teams tend to get along better. When you have more information sharing and people more willing to cover for each other, they’re less prone to make mistakes due to miscommunication or deliberately sabotaging each other.
It Is More Effective than Raises
Companies need to compete with each other for talent. One way of doing this is to advertise the great wellness programs your company has. A well-designed set of wellness initiatives is a selling point to potential new hires, and you know this will improve the productivity of your entire team. This has a greater return on investment than giving small incentives or giving everyone a raise.
Another benefit of improved employee health is that it reduces “presenteeism”, the poor productivity of those who are at work but not very productive due to their ill health. This is estimated to cost two and three times as much as their direct health care costs.
It Reduces Health Costs
Perhaps the biggest reason to have a company wellness program is that it reduces health costs. Wellness programs to prevent health problems or better manage them will reduce the healthcare costs the organization has to pay. This eventually results in fewer missed days of work, reduced productivity due to ill health, and early retirement. Keeping health benefit costs under control will help your business remain competitive over the long-term. And you can achieve these benefits simply by incentivizing people to quit smoking, improve their diet, and get more exercise today.
What Your Company Can Do Right Now to Get Started
Talking to an expert in wellness programs and altering your employee benefits package takes time. However, there are steps your business can take today to begin seeing the benefits we’ve mentioned above.
Many studies have found that wellness programs aimed at fitness specifically tend to lead to disappointment. However, wellness programs are very effective at reducing health risks like high blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.
Start by offering healthier food and beverage choices in the break area and the cafeteria. You could install an office sparkling water machine to encourage people to drink more water. A flavored water dispenser from Bevi could lead them to make healthier choices since they can replace that sugary soda with something that tastes as good. A commercial water cooler doesn’t mean more work for your team since Bevi will proactively restock the machines and handle all the maintenance.
Healthy eating has a major impact on health, and it isn’t hard to get people started. Offer bananas and apples as free snacks to those who are interested, and stock the vending machines with healthier options. Or cater healthy lunches for the team.
Getting employees to increase their activity level could start by offering free gym memberships. Then find out what else employees would like to do.
A wellness program can include many different elements. The right ones provide a high return on the investment. You can’t afford to wait to implement an effective wellness program because it is eroding productivity today and will result in expensive healthcare costs and absenteeism later.