Wellness programs are sometimes viewed as “nice-to-have” rather than a strategic imperative. This is a costly misconception. A comprehensive and strategic investment in your employees’ health produces healthier and happier individuals, while safeguarding the financial health of your organization.
Just ask Johnson & Johnson’s leadership team who estimate that their wellness program saved them $250 million in healthcare costs over the past decade. The reduction in costs can be significant for organizations, especially as these costs continue to rise in response to advances in medical technology and the aging workforce. As with the Johnson & Johnson case, companies have the ability to mitigate the risks of absenteeism, decreased productivity and increased financial burden. Here are two important ways corporate wellness programs can reduce health risks and allow both employees and businesses to thrive.
Reduce Unhealthy Habits 70% of the $3 trillion spent on healthcare in the United States each year is a result of unhealthy lifestyle behaviour. Smoking, poor nutrition and a lack of physical activity have enormous financial and societal consequences. Conversely, helping people adopt and maintain healthy behaviours can have a direct impact on both personal and corporate lives.
Employee wellness programs are designed to establish a work environment that promotes holistic employee wellbeing. Creating an organizationally focussed health culture, supported by senior leaders, signals to employees that their health is important. By providing education about healthy lifestyle choices and hosting health-focussed company events, business are also boosting employee morale and fostering relationship building amongst co-workers.
At Sprout, we recommend goals targeted at actionable areas based on your employees’ Wellbeing Survey (HRA) responses. Creating programming that is meaningful and measurable, combined with employee recognition, motivation and a little friendly competition, can drive lasting behaviour change.
Improve Mental Health We’ve recently written about the importance of weaving mental health into your employee wellness initiative. Not only do employees suffer when psychological health is compromised, so too do businesses. Productivity loss, absenteeism, job abandonment, and higher turnover are often directly linked to poor mental health. Government policy has increasingly called out the responsibility of employers to safeguard the mental health of their employees, and organizations are taking note.
Offering mental health initiatives can help promote a healthy culture where employees feel safe when asking for help. Programming focussing on prevention can offer skills for managing stress, building resilience, and reducing stigma. Early intervention is served by increasing awareness and utilization of Employee Assistance Programs. Wellness programming of today is harnessing tech to provide employees with meaningful and timely support. Online HRAs allow employees to complete and receive insights in real time. Digital integrations with EAPs allow employees to easily connect with confidential coaching.
Implementing a wellness strategy provides your employees with the tools to reduce their personal health risks in a safe and supportive environment. Involve senior leaders, integrate employee feedback and work with a team committed to best practices. Your efforts will pay off—in the form of higher productivity, fewer absences, and healthier, more engaged employees.