A corporate wellness program focuses on creating an initiative to improve the health and well-being of employees. Wellness programs can be implemented in multiple ways, such as:
- On-site fitness centers
- Smoking cessation programs
- Transit options
- Paramedical services
- Drop-in classes such as yoga, social dance, pilates, or Zumba
- Healthy lunch and snack options
- Siesta and recovery areas
- Employee assistance programs
- Outside-of-the-office adventures
- Health challenges
But what are the real reasons to invest in corporate wellness?
Ultimately this investment is going to save your business money on multiple levels, and increase the health, happiness, and loyalty of your employees. What else could you ask for?
- Lower health costs: Corporations are the largest influencers in disease prevention, just simply by fluke. Companies would rather be focused on selling their products, but the outcome of a wellness program for their employees is too great to be ignored. Wellness programs change the behavior of your employees and the bottom line of health is behaviour. Bad eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and drinking are all habits of choice that raise the risk for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and depression. A wellness program changes those patterns and innately prevents disease. Less disease and health risk means lower health care costs for the company, ultimately providing both hard and soft benefits for the company.
- Positive ROI (return on investment): Your company is going to save much more by implementing a wellness program than the cost of starting one. In fact, the average savings from wellness programs reviewed in 22 studies conducted over a span of 2 years was $3.27 for every $1.00 spent.
- Improved productivity: According to a recent study, presenteeism (working while not in optimal health) is more commonly found in people with poor lifestyle choices, such as bad diet habits, a lack of exercise, and poor sleeping patterns. Many links have also been proven between exercise and cognitive increase in memory and focus. A study from 2013 showed that those who participated in their company wellness programs saved 10.3 hrs and an average of $353 in productivity costs per person, annually.
- Decreased absenteeism: Absenteeism is a sure way for a business to lose money, so any way to decrease this issue is a plus. It is said that 60% of absences are due to stress. Physical activity can decrease stress, increase energy, and allow for better sleep patterns. Recognizing that healthy employees are happier and more productive is the key to success.
- Employee recruitment and retention: Wellness programs started out as an employee perk, but have now become commonplace for medium to larger-sized corporations. The better the wellness program, the more likely you are to attract the employees you’re looking for. Top companies such as Google and Microsoft offer extremely generous wellness packages, and other tech companies quickly followed suit. In the end, they are all fighting to recruit and maintain the best of the best, and what better way to do so than with top-notch wellness packages.
- Heightened employee morale: Healthy employees are happier employees, and after all, employee morale is the make or break of any business.
Can wellness be incorporated into an employee recognition program?
Show support and encouragement to those employees involved in a marathon, team, or simply dedicated to their fitness. Set your recognition program up in a way that allows for time and activity benefits like gym sessions, meditation moments, or vouchers for massage. Get creative and show your team you value their well-being. Foster a ‘wellness culture’ by having employees recognize each other’s wellness achievements. And of course, if budget allows, award your employees for reaching big goals. If an employee has a weight loss goal or is in training for a competition, reward those efforts with points that can be redeemed for rewards of their choice. Recognition will strengthen your wellness culture and provide additional motivation to your employees to stay on track with their health goals.
Incorporating wellness into your business doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming, but it can be immensely beneficial to your organization. Whether you choose to implement a wellness program or to simply add wellness options to your existing recognition program, you will show your employees you support their well-being, all the while benefiting from higher productivity, retention, engagement, and positive employee morale.