May 28, 2021

Understanding the Importance of Wellness vs. Wellbeing

Woman on rock formation doing yoga

Wellness and wellbeing are often used interchangeably, but understanding their differences will allow your employee wellness program to actively add value to your overall business operations. Studies already show that companies with a wellness program are reaping real, financial benefits; for every dollar companies spend on wellness programs, dollars lost due to employee absenteeism fall by about $2.73. But what if more can be done? What if your wellness program can be tweaked to net you even higher returns and increased employee productivity?

What’s the Difference Between Wellness and Wellbeing?

Wellness is about the physical health of your employees. Healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and having a good night’s rest all fall under the umbrella of “wellness.” 

Photo of girl hugging a woman while doing a yoga pose


Around 75% of companies have some sort of wellness program in place in order to attract and retain their top talent. Toyota, for example, offers flexible health plans that extend into retirement, while Nuance Communications offers its employees a $500 wellness account, which employees can put towards their personal health and wellbeing. A whopping 96% of professionals further point out that wellness allows employees to produce their best work. It’s no wonder, then, that companies are looking for ways to actively invest in employee wellness.


Wellbeing, on the other hand, looks at all the dimensions that make up a well-lived life, of which wellness is one component. According to Gallup, five elements make up someone’s sense of overall wellbeing:

  1. Career wellbeing: Liking what you do every day
  2. Social wellbeing: Having meaningful relationships in your life
  3. Financial wellbeing: Having financial security and management skills
  4. Physical wellbeing: Having the energy to carry out day-to-day tasks
  5. Community wellbeing: Liking where you live

Photo of smiling woman in a blue business jacket

Wellness programs tend to only focus on one of these five aspects: physical wellbeing. However, physical wellbeing is only one part of the entire puzzle. For example, a wellness program that encourages an employee to eat healthy food does very little good if the employee is constantly stressed out about their financial situation. To make matters worse, financial stress will eventually affect their physical wellbeing too. Those that are financially stressed are 11 times more likely to have sleepless nights and are 10 times more likely to not finish their daily work tasks. 


To turn this around, wellness programs need to target all areas of wellbeing. Work initiatives that address all stressors affecting an employee’s performance have been shown to work, too. On average, those who rated themselves as having excellent overall wellbeing estimated that they produce higher quantities of quality work than employees who have poor overall wellbeing. 

Creating a Comprehensive Program for Employee Wellbeing

Creating a comprehensive plan begins with understanding your employees. What are the stressors that are negatively impacting their performance? What are the issues that your current wellness plan does not cover? Your program strategy needs to be tailored to meet the needs of your employees while making effective use of your company’s time and financial resources. 

Then, you need to make sure that your employees buy into your revamped wellness program, and will stay engaged with it. Give them measurable wellness goals that target all areas of their wellbeing, acknowledge the wins, and stay flexible enough to tweak your program as needed.

Building a program that meets all the needs of your organization is easier said than done. That’s why our team at Sprout doesn’t just provide you with a dynamic platform to help you drive wellness initiatives at work. Our team also provides you with complete, end-to-end support, ensuring quick adoption and continued engagement. Our approach has allowed us to create real, measurable changes for all of our clients. If you’re ready to kick your organization’s wellness program into high gear, contact us today.

Book Your Discovery Call



Subscribe to Blog Updates