According to a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Education Trust, 81 percent of large employers and 49 percent of small employers offer workplace wellness programs to their employees. These programs aim to improve employees’ well-being by encouraging them to lose weight, stop smoking or make other positive lifestyle changes.
Workplace wellness consists of initiatives to help create and support a healthy workforce. Holistic health promotion uses a combination of effective and inclusive program design, a good health benefits plan and an ergonomically sound work environment. There are several different methods employers may implement in their workplace wellness program including, but not limited to:
Workplace wellness program success within an organization is never guaranteed. However, there are some key factors that help create an increased rate of success for every organization. The most important lies with the C-Suite and management positions. Employee wellbeing must be a priority to create effective policies, budgets, support for implementing the initiatives and employee buy in. Other contributing factors to a successful program include a thorough needs assessment, a well-designed health benefits plan, and realistic outcomes expectations.
Heathy employees affect your company’s bottom line in many ways—in particular, lower health care costs, reduce Worker’s Compensation and Disability costs, increase productivity, decrease absenteeism and increased employee morale. Since most full-time employees spend about half of their waking hours at work, this is the ideal environment to help employees create positive lifestyle change.
Health care costs can be a significant portion of a company’s budget, so strategically targeting this expense with intentional programs can improve an employer’s bottom line. Employees with more health risk factors cost more to insure than employees with fewer risk factors. A wellness program can help support employees with high risk factors, make positive lifestyle changes that will improve their quality of life, and reduce their health care costs. A good wellness program will also help employees with fewer risk factors maintain a clean bill of health.
Comprehensive wellness programs that incorporate ergonomic assessment and change where necessary also help improve employee health and often reduce the risk of a workplace injury, illness or disability. This, in turn, can save employers money, not just on insurance premiums and benefits paid out, but also on the costs associated with worker injury.
Healthier employees mean fewer sick days, which is another benefit employers can achieve through wellness programs. When employees feel well, are well rested and comfortable in their workspace, productivity increases and error rate decreases. These are all positive factors that affect ROI and yield significant cost savings.
A company that cares about its employees’ health is often seen as a better place to work, and wellness programs can attract top talent in a competitive market. In addition, demonstrating a commitment to your employees’ health can improve employee morale and strengthen retention. Below are some of the benefits employees can experience after joining a wellness program:
Employees who experience these positive changes and benefits will often feel more loyal to their company and be more grateful for the company’s commitment to their health.
Elizabeth attended Tri-State University and earned a BS in Marketing. Prior to starting her career with GIS, she worked in health and wellness for 10 years specializing in healthy lifestyle change and chronic disease prevention. She is a Certified Personal Trainer (American Council on Exercise) with a specialty in Orthopedic and Cancer Rehabilitation. She also holds a Level II Ergonomic Assessment Specialist Certification (CEAS II), and serves as a Certified Lifestyle Coach (CLC). Elizabeth resides in La Porte County with her husband Jeff and their children. In 2018, she joined the Board of Directors for Healthy Communities of La Porte County to help support programs that improve quality of life for residents.