Every year, more and more companies are making the health of their employees a priority. Covid, attracting new employees, retaining existing employees are all reasons for the shift. Not to mention the studies that show companies that implement employee wellness programs are reaping benefits as well with a healthier workforce, improved productivity, and a reduction in insurance costs.
So What Does Employee Wellness Mean?
Employee wellness programs are initiatives offered by companies with the goal of improving and maintaining the general wellbeing and health of their employees. Instead of correcting poor health, the primary aim of employee wellness programs is the maintenance or promotion of good health. These programs are focused on preventive health care instead of reactive. Many big companies are designing and creating detailed wellness programs that satisfy a more diverse and larger workforce – as well as budgeting capital to finance these initiatives. On the other hand, smaller firms are engaging employees by personalizing their wellness programs.
Examples of Wellness Programs
Wellness Programs can range from health screenings, to fitness challenges, to gym memberships, to adding an onsite game room, to offering flu shot clinics and more…
- One example of an employee wellness program can be found in Google’s commitment to the health of their 10,000 plus employee base. They created the “People & Innovation Lab” which they use to solve organizational problems by applying the principles of science.
- Another example can be found with KIND, who created a “wellness room” where their 700 employees can go to rejuvenate during the day.
The above examples proved to be a success, yet they vary differently. However, they share some vital elements that offer employees effective and useful resources.
Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs
Here are some benefits employee wellness programs will give your company (and some great ideas for goals you might want to set when implementing any program for employees):
- Increases Productivity
Poor health is a major cause of poor productivity in the workplace. When a staff member is unhealthy, they are tired and typically lack the motivation to work. By participating in wellness activities that concentrate on embracing proper health behaviors like regular exercise, your staff’s performance and productivity will increase. They’ll be more motivated and better focused to complete the tasks ahead.
- Decreases the Risk of Diseases
Healthy behaviors reduce health risks that could cause chronic diseases. Health problems such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, etc. are caused by poor nutritional choices and lack of exercise. Wellness programs go a long way in helping your staff learn ways to adopt healthy choices which would improve their health over time. When they eat healthy and exercise regularly, they decrease the risk of health problems and improve their health.
- Enhances Employee Engagement
Activities like weight loss challenges, walking meetings, and others involving fitness and health help to bond your staff more to their colleagues and your organization as well.
- Reduces Stress
Unfortunately, workplace stress is often prevalent and people encounter it one way or another in the course of their daily activities. Stress in all forms is unhealthy for both employers and employees. It causes poor staff health, poor work productivity, and avoidable sick days. By providing wellness programs designed to combat workplace stress, the performance and productivity of your employees can greatly improve. This leads to improved general health of your employees and decreased employee turnover. In addition, this can significantly reduce the company’s health care costs. Other benefits of employee wellness programs are reduction in absenteeism and improved employee retention (less turnover).
Monitoring And Adjusting Your Employee Wellness Program
An easy way to build an effective program and gauge what employees want and need, is to reach out to your employees and simply ask what issues they’re currently facing or what they’d like to see offered. There are several factors that can cause poor health in the workplace like sitting in one spot for hours, poor lighting, lack of healthy snacks in the workplace, burnout, stress etc. Find a common thread that can help you build a more effective (and utilized) program.
Once you have your survey, use that data to structure an offering that addresses the common concerns raised. Be sure to include what you’ll use to measure the effectiveness of any program you implement.
Help your employees take advantage of the offerings provided by the program. Communication is often key to increased participation as it helps employees understand what’s available and the benefit to them. It’s also important to note, you may have to make some adjustments to your normal workplace routine to allow employees to participate in various programs without adding MORE to their schedule.
An effective employee wellness program requires ongoing monitoring and adjustments (and feedback). If the wellness program is not working as intended, then you have to look for ways to enhance it. If it is working – that’s a win! (But think about what else you might add to make even bigger improvements.) An employee wellness program should work like a living process, rather than a rigid set of activities, and the programs should change and evolve with the people they’re meant to serve.
If you’d like to discuss employee wellness options for your company, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to set a time that’s convenient for you to review your goals and discuss options.