Disengaged workers cost the U.S. economy more than $450 billion in lost productivity each year. (source: Optum)
However, employers offering wellness programs report increased productivity and higher morale. Think about it, a driving force behind wellness programs is stress reduction. Less stressed-out employees = a more productive and comfortable work environment. It's a win for everyone!
Wellness programs help employees adapt to a healthier lifestyle. This leads to a happier and more productive workplace.
Early employee wellness programs were designed to help control health care costs. Success was measured by a reduction in claims, lower employee absences and fewer disability claims.
Today’s programs focus on employee engagement and total performance as the true measure of success. Only one in four employers offer a wellness program to control costs. Twenty-five percent of organizations measure the success of that plan with traditional ROI. (source: International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans).
Typical Wellness Programs
- Telemedicine (Urgent Care and Mental Health)
- 40% of millennials, who now make up most of the workforce, say that a telemedicine option is important to them. Telemedicine provides flexibility and convenience for patients. Telemedicine can also save the employer. It is reported to be a net cost savings between $19-$121 per telemedicine visit.
- Smoking Cessation Programs
- Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance providers and employers are required to cover smoking cessation programs at no cost to the employee.
- It is estimated that employers can save approximately $6,000 per employee who quits smoking. This is due to a decrease in medical bills typically associated with smoking.
- Weight Loss Programs
- Weight loss programs can lower health care costs. It can also improve workers’ morale and retention.
- Weight Loss Programs can include nutritional counseling, weight loss management, and fitness programs. Fitness trackers are popular amongst companies.
- Offering incentives and rewards to everyone in the company can lead to success.
- Employee Assistance Plans
- Employee Assistance Plans (EAP) are intervention programs designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be affecting their performance at work. The types of problems may be marital, financial, or emotional programs. They can also include substance or alcohol abuse.
Modern plan and design
While savings still matter, employers now focus on employees’ health and well-being. This can be something as simple as fresh fruit in break rooms or a walking group during lunch. Some companies have even installed workspaces with more natural light, clean air systems and ergonomically correct furniture.
Modern wellness programs also find new ways to communicate with employees. They are combining seminars, testimonials, and social media posts with activities like team outings and corporate charity drives. Families are often invited to take part and employee feedback is encouraged.
Reductions to health care premiums and contributions to a health savings account no longer motivate employees. With no time to complete health risk assessments or simply a lack of interest, employees may need an extra push.
Employers are offering incentives like free company merchandise, gift cards and cash. In a instant gratification world, these are perks the employee can realize almost immediately.
Updated wellness programs get results
63 percent of companies with a wellness plan have reported financial sustainability and growth. (source: IFEBP) Employees offered wellness benefits were:
- One and a half times more likely to continue working for their employer
- More than three times more likely to be proud of where they worked.
An improved culture of wellness can also be seen. Companies with successful programs report employees engaging in healthier behaviors like getting more sleep and drinking water instead of soda. They also see employees moving around the office and taking fewer trips to fast food restaurants for lunch.
All of this can take time. In some cases, it can take more than 12 months for changes to make an impact. Successful plans evaluate what worked and what did not on a regular basis. Getting employee feedback on these programs is key as employers continue to make improvements.
Putting a plan in place
Simply having a wellness plan is not enough. To see results, you want the right mix of programs and incentives to encourage engagement and drive participation.
Traditional measures of success like blood glucose and cholesterol screenings can still support your wellness program. You may even want to offer regular blood pressure monitoring. Combine this with other wellness initiatives like discounts to a local gym or on-site nutritional counseling, you can have a positive impact on the life of your employees.
Reach out to Rebecca Wilson to learn more about wellness programs and how your company could benefit from one.