As the research on the benefits of workplace wellness programs grows, many employers are asking whether or not they really need a workplace wellness program for their organization. The answer is undoubtedly a resounding “yes”—and here’s why.
THE BENEFITS OF HEALTHY EMPLOYEES
The research shows that healthy employees are one of a business’s greatest assets. You go out of your way to hire talented, motivated people—and you want them to show up ready to do their jobs. Sick employees have higher rates of absenteeism. Even when they are in the workplace, their productivity may be low because they don’t feel well. Sick employees often have more on their minds than simply work, so they may be unengaged in the workplace or their jobs.
Second, sick employees cost your firm money. Sick days rack up as salaried employees get paid not to be at work, and you lose production. When employees are paid by the hour, a sick day can mean lost wages for them, but can cause serious staffing issues for you. And employees who are managing chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiac disease, or even something like a bad back, tend to claim more on their health benefits. Since their illnesses are chronic, their costs are ongoing—which means more claims and, often, higher costs. That can drive up your benefit premiums and even make your health plan unaffordable for your employees—and your business.
WELLNESS SHOWS THE WAY
When all the costs of unhealthy employees are considered, wellness programs become a much more appealing option. While some may dig in their heels, a wellness program often costs less than the alternative. First, it promotes health among your employees—who then feel better, take fewer sick days, and have more energy for their jobs. Healthy employees are simply more productive and engaged in the workplace. Second, workplace wellness programs can foster interpersonal relationships among your employees, offer you a chance to reward them for their behaviour, and even help boost employee satisfaction with their jobs.
THE COSTS OF WELLNESS
Unhealthy employees can cost organizations a lot of money. Wellness programs offer a much more cost-effective option for employers. Healthy employees make fewer claims on their insurance plans and, when they do make claims, those claims tend to be for less money. This follows the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Some insurance companies may even offer you a discount on your health benefit premiums if you have a wellness program in place.
Next, there may be help from the government. Some programs allow businesses to write off the costs of wellness programs, which can make them an even more affordable option for employers. Seminars and visits from professionals may be eligible business expenses. Finally, wellness programs promote health among your workforce, which helps employees live their best lives—which includes being engaged with their jobs and being at work frequently, which means better productivity for your business.
DO YOU NEED A WELLNESS PROGRAM?
You might still ask whether or not your business needs a wellness program. The overwhelming evidence points to wellness programs as one of the smartest benefits an employer can offer to their employees. There are myriad advantages for everyone when a wellness program is in place in a company. More and more, workplace wellness isn’t just a nicety—it’s a necessity. While you may not “need” to have a program, it doesn’t make sense not to offer one, especially not when wellness programs have so many benefits and are so affordable. The better question is why don’t you have a wellness program yet?
Felicia is the manager of human capital solutions at AugmentHR. With over six years of recruitment experience coupled with multi-faceted HR roles, Felicia is an expert in matching people with the right role and environment. She has worked in many different industries, including investment banking, HR consulting firms, medical, and commercial. Understanding people is one of her strengths, and she has recruited at every level, from directors, project managers, and engineers to operators and general labourers. Her ability to network and develop relationships has been a key tool to her success. With approximately two years of experience managing people and creating a positive work environment, Felicia’s diverse skill set makes her a well-rounded individual. Her business education and background help her identify different business needs and human capital solutions.