7 Benefits of an Employee Wellness Program
What are the Benefits of Offering an Employee Wellness Program?
As time has gone on, our definition of “employee compensation” has continued to expand. Years ago, compensation very well may have included financial compensation and very little else. Today, compensation can include many different things, including healthcare, life insurance, and—as we will explain below—wellness benefits. In fact, according to one recent survey conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, “Some 80 percent of respondents reported that they would choose a job with benefits even if an identical job offered 30 percent more salary but no benefits.”
Of course, finding the perfect balance of salary and benefits will depend on many different factors, including the nature of the underlying position, personal preferences, the business’ current financial situation, and many others. Still, even keeping these things in mind, there is no surprise that corporate wellness programs have experienced a notable surge over the course of the past decade. These wide-reaching “wellness programs” can include many different things, including rewards, biometric screenings, lifestyle coaching, and others.
As your business will quickly discover, there is a range of employee wellness programs available to choose from, making it easy to find a plan that works for your specific business. If your business is considering offering a wellness program as a part of its broader compensation packages, consider these possible benefits:
1. Better Health
Employees are the most valuable asset a business can have. A business will gladly spring for routine maintenance expenses to maintain its equipment (regularly cleaning industrial machinery to ensure it keeps functioning, for example). However, despite the fact that the employees’ well-being is more important than that of any piece of equipment, it is an investment that employers tend to put off. Wellness programs promote healthier eating, better lifestyles, and can potentially add years to each of your employee’s life. Rather than viewing your employees’ health as a peripheral cost that they need to cover on their own, the cost of “maintaining” a healthy worker should be considered a top priority.
2. Increased Productivity
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers $1,685 per employee per year, or $225.8 billion annually.” Health issues can affect seemingly every performance arena, including physical, mental, and interpersonal. Promoting healthy lifestyles among your workers is not only the ethical thing to do, but it can also help your business improve its total output and efficiency.
3. Employee Retainment
If all an employer can offer its employees is cash, the easier (and more tempting) it will be for these employees to leave. Employers that offer cash-only compensation packages should not be surprised as their employees begin looking for work options that provide for their entire well-being. Comprehensive compensation is especially important for Millennial workers, who are statistically much more likely to be willing to switch for benefits than their older counterparts.
4. Better Attendance
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) claims that the average private industry worker receives about 7 paid sick days per year. However, whether these sick days are actually used will depend on a variety of different variables. Because the use of sick days—especially sick days beyond the standard offering of 7—will typically have a negative impact on a firm’s total productivity, it is within that firm’s best interest to (ethically) minimize absenteeism to the greatest extent they possibly can. Across the board, wellness programs have measurably decreased the number of days a given employee will miss per year. When this benefit is multiplied across an entire organization, the benefits of wellness appear even greater.
5. Improved Recruiting
People tend to be friends with those with similar interests and life circumstances, which is why it is not uncommon for employees to recommend (or discourage) their friends pursue an opening at their company. Employees that believe they are fairly compensated are much more likely to speak positively about the organization and help begin building a valuable network. When benefits such as wellness, health insurance, and life insurance are all offered in addition to traditional forms of compensation, employee-supported recruiting can become remarkably more manageable.
6. Reduced Healthcare Costs
Study after peer-reviewed study continues to demonstrate that preventive health measures cost remarkably less than reactive health measures. If a large group, such as a company, can all be engaging in preventive health measures at once, then the total cost of insuring that group can decrease over time. Of course, there are still countless ailments, conditions, and diseases that preventive measure cannot prevent. But investing just a little bit in preventive measures, such as comprehensive wellness programs, will have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line. While comprehensive compensation should already be considered “the right thing to do”, these company-wide savings should make the decision even easier.
7. Sense of Accomplishment
We all know that there are many different benefits for being healthy. By maintaining our health, we can live longer, be happier, have more energy, and will generally have a higher quality of life. But because these benefits can be difficult to hold or actually see, pursuing a healthier lifestyle—which often requires things such as abstaining from our favorite junk foods, exercising more, or making major lifestyle changes—can be a daunting task that is rather difficult to find the motivation for. With a reward opportunity (a major component of some wellness programs), the benefits of being healthier can begin to materialize now, rather than later. This not only encourages employees to make better choices, but it also provides a lasting sense of accomplishment.
From a moral, economic, and logistical perspective, it is clear that offering wellness benefits—including reward opportunities, biometric screenings, and lifestyle coaching—can be extremely beneficial for both employees and employers alike. As time goes on and the benefits of wellness programs like this one from Nippon Life Benefits become more widely known and documented, it is almost certain that additional firms will choose to make this important change to their broader compensation scheme.