The Importance and Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs

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With the rising health costs, there have been concerns among the media communities regarding wellness in the workplace. Not only do wellness programs in the workplace help to reduce health costs, but also boost productivity and influence the culture in a positive manner, thereby gaining traction. More than 7 in 10 companies offer wellness program of some sort.

From research, employees following a healthy lifestyle tend to be more engaged in their work than those who don’t, and engaged employees are seemingly healthy. Research also suggests that 22% of employees actively involved in the wellness program of their respective organization are fully engaged, while their non-active counterparts are only 11% fully engaged. This makes it critical to find out the importance of wellness through studying the trends in wellness within the workplace.

From the look of things, employee wellness seems to be related to employee engagement through a simple phenomenon: happiness. A deeper look at the wellness field will reveal that before one can become truly healthy, he or she needs happiness. Experts would agree that exercising or choosing healthy veggies over French fries is a lot easier when one is in good spirits. This is a good example of how one’s mood dictates his or her life choices. Similarly, this also applies to employees.

Being in a good mood allows someone to handle stress well rather than becoming preoccupied with it, thereby spending less time and energy worrying or complaining about what cannot be changed. Stress can bring with it several health complications. Therefore, the importance of wellness cannot be overemphasized as far as maintaining positive emotions is concerned.

It is undeniable that a wellness program aimed at helping employees experience happiness in conjunction with education on healthy living can help entice them to take part in such programs and adopt healthy habits. Employees could become more engaged and less stressed. This could ultimately enhance their creativity and productivity at work.

Create a culture that promotes engagement and wellness. According to experts, culture is a critical component of nurturing employees to become healthier. It also enables them to become happier in life and more engaged in the workplace. The other component is personal responsibility, which rests on the individual employee who is in charge of his or her own happiness.

A critical aspect of engagement is giving employees the feeling that there is an opportunity for them to learn, grow and develop within the organization. All that is required is the right programs to initiate the right messaging. Wellness programs tend to boost employee health for ultimate happiness. They also equip them with the right skills necessary to fill the desire learn and grow professionally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. This is a win-win situation for both the employer and the worker because the worker is empowered to become healthier, happier and to improve his or her professional life as well.

Surprisingly, wellness programs are highly affordable. Some wellness vendors advise employers to spend more on these programs because returns are directly proportional to investment. However, quality supersedes quantity when it comes to wellness programs. With proper planning, individual interest survey, and appropriate marketing, an organization can effectively operate an employee wellness program with an annual budget of between $200 and $500 per employee.

Since research and wellness programs may vary, the employer can expect varying ROI for programs. However, industry statistics indicate that for every dollar spent on a wellness program the organization is likely to save $3 on health-related expenses. Note that the ROI figure is just for healthcare cost, not the benefits attributed to healthier and happier laborers, higher engagement, enhanced performance, more job satisfaction, less burnout, less missed work days, and greater commitment to work and to the organization.

No organization can overlook the importance of wellness, as such a program can be a differentiating factor in the employee recruitment process. This is especially true for young employees, as studies suggest that Millennials tend to actively participate in a wellness program more than their older counterparts. More than 50% admit to being more active in such programs compared to Gen X’s 46% and Baby Boomers’ 40%. Millennials tend to demand more from their workplace than the earlier generations. Regardless, such programs can help develop employees into more productive beings.

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