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Should You Offer An Employee Wellness Program?

By: Susan Melony

 

Corporate Sport Lifestyle. Healthcare of Business People. Office Workers Working with Dumbbells. Workers doing Fitness Exercises. Yoga Practice. Employee Man Smiling to Healthy Woman.

When you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, your employees can be your greatest asset, but they need to be treated as such. Your focus should be not just on nurturing your employees’ career development, but also providing them holistic support to be the best they can be.

When you invest extra time and money into making sure your employees are their best, your business will reap the benefits.

One area where you can focus your attention is on offering wellness program options. This is particularly important because most jobs in the U.S. are sedentary, according to Jacoby & Meyers personal injury attorneys.

When your employees are mostly sedentary, it can cause health complications that means they take more time off work and are perhaps less productive when they’re there.

Even if you just have a few employees, there are ways you can prioritize wellness to the benefit of everyone.

The following are some things to know and consider as far as employee wellness programs.

Reduced Costs

Sometimes business owners make the mistake of only thinking about the initial cost of starting employee wellness initiatives, but they don’t necessarily think about how it can ultimately reduce their costs.

For example, in the United States, almost 30% of adults are obese. That leads to billions of dollars in health care costs and the development of chronic diseases. You can lower health care costs, the costs of absenteeism, and the costs of diminished productivity when you offer wellness options.

Lower health care costs benefit your employees but also you as the employer. For example, there was a case study of large companies, and it found total health care spending at companies with wellness programs saw slower growth in health care costs. There was a return on investment equal to around $2 to $4 for every dollar that was spent on a wellness program.

Boost Engagement

When you offer wellness programs to your employees, it can boost their engagement. This likely stems from several factors.

For one, when employees feel better, they’re going to be better able to focus on their work.

Additionally, wellness programs can bring together company and employee goals, and that alignment will help employees see their well-being as linked to their professional success within the company.

If employees see you care about their health and wellness, and you’re willing to invest in them, then they are also more likely to stay on board with the company for the long-term. Retention is an important metric because of the high costs of employee turnover.

When you reduce turnover, you save on hiring, recruiting, and training costs.

Employees Want Wellness

There was a survey conducted at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health that looked at employee perceptions of wellness programs. It also looked at perceptions of employers.

According to the analysis of data, around 59.4% of employees believe employers should try to improve their workers’ health.

The implementation of a wellness program can also be used as a recruiting tool. Employees want employers to be actively invested in their health and well-being. If you can show that you are as an employer, you may be able to attract better talent to your organization.

Healthy Employees Can Better Adapt to Change

Employees are that are flexible and adaptable are going to help your business be more innovative. As a whole, your organization will be better equipped to deal with changes at the company level or even the industry or global levels.

When your employees have a high-level of well-being, they’re more likely to be able to roll with the punches when there are changes.

Employees that are physically and mentally healthy are also likely to be confident enough to make empowered decisions so they don’t require micromanagement or hand-holding.

Improve Corporate Culture

Most modern workers appreciate the culture of their workplace even more than they care about traditional salary and benefit perks. Among employees, there is often an emphasis on working in an environment where they’re happy and comfortable, and where the corporate culture is one that’s positive.

Having a wellness program can positively influence your corporate culture.

Tax Benefits

In some states, there are tax advantages for small business owners to provide their employees with employee wellness programs. States, including Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Indiana have introduced tax credits to these businesses with wellness programs.

Reduced Injuries

Most employers have ongoing fears about the potential of employees getting injured at work. It can be costly in a variety of ways, and wellness programs can reduce the risks of injuries at work.

There are different reasons for this. One is the fact that healthier employees are simply less likely to get injured. When an employee feels their best, they’re also more likely to pay attention on the job, reducing the risk of injury.

How to Start a Wellness Program

For some small business owners, the idea of starting a wellness program can be intimidating,  but you don’t have to do it all at once.

Start slow and ask your employees via surveys what they’re most interested in as far as a wellness program.

From there, you can start to define goals. Make your goals attainable and specific, so you can see what your true return on investment is for your wellness program.

Then, once you have these foundational elements in place, you can begin to actually create the wellness program.

Maybe in the early days, you pay for access to an app that employees can use to manage their weight or implement more healthy behaviors. Perhaps you offer healthy snacks in the breakroom or create a step challenge to see who can do the most physical activity.

You can also provide free educational resources to employees.

From there, as you see success, you can build out your program to meet the needs of your employees.

A wellness program should be something every small business owner considers because it can have real, beneficial financial implications.

Published: June 23, 2020
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