Published by Admin on 27 May, 2014
Corporate wellness programs do more than just promote healthy lifestyles among employees. Aside from providing positive reinforcement to get in shape, they also boost the company's bottom line. Back in the day, employers used to do small things to encourage employee health like hanging motivational posters or encouraging employees to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Today, companies are shelling out significant sums of money for wellness programs because they really do work. The initial investment ends up paying for itself and then some over the long haul. According to a survey conducted by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health, almost 90% of employers offer wellness incentives. Below, we take a look at some reasons why so many companies have decided to take the wellness plunge.
1. Fewer Sick Days
Corporate wellness programs typically offer employees incentives for reaching health goals and sometimes even punish them with a bit of negative reinforcement for being unhealthy. The result is a significant improvement in overall employee health. When employees understand how to live a healthy lifestyle and are encouraged to do so through a corporate wellness program, they get sick less often. This helps the company stay profitable. After a wellness program was instituted within the MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2001, lost work days decreased by an astounding 80% and modified duty days dropped by a robust 64%.
2. Fewer Workers' Compensation Claims
Better levels of health are directly linked to fewer workers' compensation claims. Employees who are in shape are less likely to strain muscles, tear ligaments and break bones while performing work activities. To piggyback on the example used above, MD Anderson Cancer Center employees suffered far fewer injuries while on the job after the wellness program was initiated. The company's workers' compensation premiums dropped by half.
3. Healthcare Savings
Corporate wellness programs boost a company's bottom line by saving money on health insurance costs. Doctors Carl Lavie and Richard Milani conducted a study with 185 randomly selected workers and their spouses at a single employer. Participants received exercise training and cardiac rehabilitation. 57% of those who were considered to be high risk at the study's outset became low risk status at the end of the 6 month wellness program. The company's medical claim expenses dropped by over $1,400 per participant. The final results from the program showed a savings of $6 for every $1 spent on the wellness program.
4. It Enriches Both The Company And The Employees
One of the best aspects of a corporate wellness program is that it has the potential to be mutually beneficial to both the company and the employees. Most employers will provide financial rewards to employees who hit health benchmarks for things like blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels. Even an offer of $100 for reaching a height and age appropriate weight will motivate many employees to live a healthier lifestyle. The savings is passed on to the company in the form of reduced healthcare premiums and fewer workers' compensation claims.
5. It Boosts Happiness
Healthy people are generally much happier people than those who are unhealthy. Happier people are also more likely to show up to work and take fewer sick days and personal time off. Beyond merely showing up for work, happy employees are also much more productive than their unhealthy counterparts and will boost the company's bottom line. Don't underestimate how contagious a positive attitude can be. Happy people liven up the workplace atmosphere and lift the moods of others, making the environment much more productive.
6. Employee Retention
One of the undervalued aspects of corporate wellness programs is that they help to retain employees over the long haul. A wellness program shows that the employer cares about the employees. Healthy employees who appreciate their workplace's wellness program are far less likely to jump ship to other employers. The result is a higher employee retention rate which translates to more profits.
7. It Makes Employees Better People Outside Of Work
One of the best ways to sell employees on a wellness plan is to stress the fact that it can benefit them beyond the workplace. Although the company's primary interest is maintaining a healthy workforce, it can also benefit from an employee who has a happy life outside of work. Those who enjoy their time off of work will be much more productive while on the clock. If employees understand that a wellness program will help them get in shape so that they can spend more quality time with their family and living a long life, they'll be more likely to participate in the program with a sincere interest and effort.
8. An Investment For The Long Haul
While a corporate wellness program will be a sizable initial investment, it will eventually produce results. The key is patience. Once employees get in the habit of taking care of themselves, they'll be more likely to practice healthy behaviors over an extended period of time. The result will be a healthier, happier workforce that lowers the employer's future healthcare premiums and workers' compensation claim costs.
9. The Group Mentality
One of the more interesting aspects of corporate wellness programs is that employees are much more likely to participate because their co-workers do. While it is difficult for an individual to motivate himself to sign up for a gym or start a workout routine all by himself, it is much easier for him to participate in a wellness program when his peers do it with him. Nobody wants to be the odd man left out.
10. It Sells Prospects On The Company
Companies need to dangle a few tasty carrots to recruit top tier talent. Job seekers are far more likely to choose a company that offers a wellness program than one that does not. This translates directly to the company's profitability. Companies with the best human capital are able to maximize their profitability. So companies should not only consider a wellness program for the people that they already employ. They should view the wellness program as bait to lure in blue chip employees that will boost the company's bottom line.