Wondering how a corporate wellness program can benefit your business? With health care reform updates just around the corner, many companies are looking for ways to reduce premium costs while improving the health of their employees. A carefully managed wellness program can help to support these goals in many unique ways.
The Cost Savings of Corporate Wellness Programs
In 2010, Harvard Business Review published a special report What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs? that advised how much a wellness program can save a business in health care costs. Researchers at Harvard had determined that for every dollar spent on a wellness program, insurance premium costs dropped by as much as $3.27, while employee absenteeism-related costs were reduced by $2.73. That’s a significant saving considering that company-sponsored health care benefits are vastly more expensive than corporate wellness programs.
Additional Benefits of Wellness Programs at Work
Outside of the cost savings associated with corporate wellness programs, there are many other ways that this effort can benefit your organization. Let’s look at a few of the many benefits of a wellness program at work.
- Improved employee productivity – When employees know that their employer cares about their well-being, they tend to look forward to coming to work every day. Happy employees return the favor by being more productive and engaged in their assignments. A solid corporate culture based on mutual respect and appreciation is not complete without a workplace wellness program in place.
- Increased employee loyalty, retention and morale – Interestingly enough, a link between wellness programs and employee retention has been found. In 2008, a survey conducted by Maritz Research, a leading global marketing research firm, revealed that workers who are consistently offered wellness support and incentives are more likely to participate and be loyal to their employer.
- Reduced workplace injuries and illness – Employees who have access to wellness support at work can better reach fitness and health goals. This can help to reduce workplace injuries because they are stronger and more limber. Illnesses related to obesity, smoking, and alcohol use can be reduced dramatically. Wellness programs that include preventative care and maintenance can also help employees stay healthier during peak cold and flu seasons.
- Prevents workers’ compensation and disabilities – Wellness programs increase awareness about personal responsibility for health and fitness. Therefore, this can help reduce the amount and severity of workplace accidents that result in costly workers’ compensation and disability claims every year. While not all accidents can be prevented, a wellness program can help employees to work safer.
- Less absenteeism and sick leave abuse – Considering that companies who invest in wellness programs are working towards a healthier employee population, it’s not surprising that employees who participate tend to miss less work. In 2008, a PriceWaterhouseCooper study highlighted the positive effect that corporate wellness programs have on employees. Of the 55 employees surveyed, 45 reported less absenteeism and sickness as a result of participating in their workplace wellness program.
While these are some general findings that support corporate wellness programs, unless a wellness initiative is offered in a meaningful way to employees, it may not be as successful in achieving these goals.
Getting More Out of a Corporate Wellness Program
To get the most out of a corporate wellness program, it’s important to choose one that is customized to your employee population. Out of the box wellness programs, may not offer all the elements that your employees need to get healthy. You’ll also want to ensure that employees are educated regularly about the benefits of participating by members of your leadership and marketing teams. Most importantly, when creating a successful wellness program, be sure that incentives are offered at regular intervals to drive employee engagement.