Wellness is a catchword heard more and more in employee benefit circles. While some employers are skeptical about how wellness can have a positive impact on business, many others are all in. From a business perspective, there are many good reasons why it makes sense to invest in your employees’ wellness.
What is Wellness?
Wellness is a term that encapsulates the many efforts and activities that a person undertakes in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Workplace wellness means you (the employer) are supporting your employees in elevating their health.
Wellness is a preventative measure to encourage employees to nourish and prioritize their health; this leads to lower health risks and less chronic disease. The core of wellness is to change behaviours. It means supporting and encouraging employees to become aware of and make choices toward a healthier, more positive existence.
What does a Wellness Program Look Like?
There are many different components that can be part of a wellness program. As each company is different, a successful program must be configured to best support the employees. The program should give employees tools, incentives and support to adopt and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
One of the main pillars of a wellness program is encouraging employees to increase physical activity. There are many ways of doing this. Some common wellness initiatives include workplace walking or running clubs; subsidized gym memberships, fitness classes, and personal training sessions; or an allowance for fitness equipment. It’s important to be creative and know your workforce. Maybe monthly fitness challenges at the workplace are a hit, or a discount at the local sports store. Or if your company is located near a ski hill, maybe your wellness program should include lift tickets. Different programs are effective for different people.
Providing access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program is another pillar of wellness. An employee and family assistance program provides enormous support for mental health through counselling and online articles and tools. An Employee and Family Assistance Program can also help lower stress by providing practical help to address life issues related to finances, relationships, child rearing, trauma, smoking cessation, and more.
3 Reasons to Invest
As an employer, there are many reasons you should invest in employee wellness. Apart from the moral reason of supporting the people you depend on, there are 3 very clear business reasons to invest in wellness.
- ProductivitySupporting your employees in pursuing a healthier lifestyle will result in happier, healthier employees. Healthy employees are absent less, which means more work is getting done.
It also decreases presenteeism. Happy, healthy employees aren’t distracted by worrying about mental and physical health challenges, therefore making fewer mistakes. All of this together means your employees will have a higher capacity for production. They’ll also be better able to cope with stress, and better able to bounce back after difficult times.
- RetentionIt’s a competitive labour market and your employees may be tempted to look for greener pastures (such as another job). Wellness programs can help reduce turnover, as they have become an important part of a total compensation and benefits programs. Studies show that a company’s benefit plan can be a determining factor behind whether an employee moves to a new employer. With so many companies offering remote work options, it’s now easier than ever for employees to consider opportunities from a broader geographic distance. This means there are more companies competing for the same employees.
From a business perspective, it is costly to recruit and train new employees. Without a doubt it is more economical to keep the employees that you already have. They also possess knowledge and experience about your company that takes time to acquire.
Recruitment goes hand-in-hand with retention. Attracting the best employees will help your company be the most successful. The quality and breadth of your benefits package can influence whether a potential employee accepts or rejects your job offer. If you’re looking to grow your company or replace employees who have left, a good benefits plan with the inclusion of wellness programs can help you do so.
Wellness programs not only help with recruitment and retention, but also in fostering a deeper level of employee engagement. Wellness programs show that you care about your employees. This pays off when you need your employees to ‘go the extra mile’ in order to set your company apart.
- Contain Benefit Plan CostsInvesting in employee wellness can pay off by helping contain other employee benefit plan costs. The goal of wellness programs is to support employees in achieving better physical and mental health. This means they will likely make fewer claims in other areas of the plan.If wellness programs help to prevent disease and minimize the effects of existing health conditions, then fewer prescription drugs will be required. Prescription drugs are a major component of total employee benefit plan costs.
Focusing on wellness can also help minimize another major cost driver: disability claims. Healthy employees will have fewer disability claims. This can have a big impact on total employee benefit plan costs.
Good Advice is Key
Wellness programs are an investment that you don’t want to skip. It pays off with happier, healthier employees who are more productive and who exhibit a deeper loyalty toward your company. Does your employee benefits plan do that? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone or in-person or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefit packages that work as hard as you do.