Is This Management Strategy Worth it?

Joe Weinlick
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More and more companies are strategically implementing employee wellness programs as a management strategy. In 2015, 80 percent of companies offered educational information and wellness resources to their employees. According to recent studies, 92 percent of companies with more than 200 employees offer some type of comprehensive wellness program. These programs are designed to benefit employees, but also help boost business in several ways.

Employee Health Benefits

The most obvious and expected benefit of wellness programs is improved employee health, with 59 percent of employers believing their programs do just that. Wellness programs encourage employees to adopt healthy behaviors such as eating right, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking and managing stress. Employees engaged in these programs are likely to eat more fruits and vegetables, lose weight and maintain reduced stress levels.

Business Benefits

Wellness programs offer many attractive benefits to companies as well. Healthier employees are more alert, engaged and motivated at work, leading to greater performance and productivity. Employees also feel more satisfied with their work, leading to higher morale. Over time, companies with wellness programs see reduced employee stress, fewer absences, reduced staff turnover and up to an 8 percent increase in employee productivity.

Nontraditional Wellness Perks

As the popularity of wellness programs continues to increase, more companies are redefining what wellness means to them. While emphasis on health screenings and healthy living is expected, some businesses are offering additional features to their programs, such as extended paid time off, community volunteer projects, parenting classes and leadership training. Some companies even offer cooking classes, on site "nap" rooms and tuition reimbursement. The International Foundation of Employee Benefits states that employers feel these are the top non-traditional aspects of wellness programs. For more and more companies, emphasis on emotional and psychological fitness is just as important to employee well-being as diet, exercise and medical screenings. A happy, satisfied employee is much more likely to perform at a high level and stay with their company for longer.

Bottom Line

While developing and launching an employee wellness program can be a huge investment for any business, the return on that investment is often significant. For many programs, the average return on investment is three dollars for every dollar spent, with some wellness programs raking in double that amount. The money companies receive typically comes in the form of healthcare savings. Wellness programs that educate employees on the prevention and management of diseases help curtail costs of health insurance, medical treatment and prescriptions. In short, healthier employees cost less to employ and insure.

Wellness programs continue to gain popularity across all professional industries. Companies that adopt wellness programs as a management strategy see multiple benefits to employee health, productivity and the overall bottom line. For the vast majority of businesses, adopting a wellness program is a smart investment.

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