What does supporting your employee’s health look like to you? Do you offer an on-site gym? Do you help employees afford healthcare for themselves and their families? What about stress management and other mental health solutions? Health can mean so many different things to your workforce, but whether you’re talking about mental, emotional, or physical wellness, a workplace that offers employee wellness will make an impact for the better.
It’s not only one of the best ways to help your employees be happy and successful, but is also completely attainable. Through both your policies and the benefits package you offer, you can create a wellness program that makes a real difference in the lives of your employees both inside and outside of work.
For true work-life wellness, you need a system that actually encourages employees to prioritize their health so that they can perform at their best and find genuine happiness (which is absolutely connected!). This higher degree of satisfaction and health may seem like a pipedream for modern businesses that are constantly moving and have demanding responsibilities, but when you have helpful resources designed for your employee’s wellbeing, that work-life wellness is perfectly possible.
With the right program in place, the benefits of wellness at a corporate level are limitless! Let’s get into those benefits and what you can do as leaders to create a healthy workplace.
What Are Employee Wellness Programs?
An employee wellness program is an intentional strategy that businesses undertake to improve employee health and support individual employees as they manage and overcome specific health-related problems. At its core, your program should focus on the health and wellness of employees, whether that program includes seminars, workshops, training, daily activities, and external resources that contribute to someone’s wellbeing.
Employee wellness programs also empower companies to support the physical, mental, and nutritional health of modern, hybrid workforces with in-person, online or on-demand access to gyms, studios, and trainers — combined with dozens of apps for sleep, meditation, healthy habits and more. Not only are wellness programs a way to provide benefits, but they are also a benefit themselves. When you list your benefits on a job posting, you should include your wellness program!
Show potential hires that working at your company is more than just a means of making money. Of course, everyone is concerned with their salary; but, thefringe benefits that come along with the job are often just as important; in fact, 83% believe their wellbeing is just as important as their salary! If you have a program that supports wellbeing, you’re far more likely to attract top talent (which we’ll dive into soon).
There are different types of programs, like a point-based wellness program or a holistic wellness program, each with its own advantages and designs. Whatever type of program you decide to go with, your main objective is to improve company engagement, performance and retention by first improving employee wellbeing. Help employees find work-life wellness and become the healthiest version of themselves with a great program — and then get pumped for the following benefits!
10 Benefits of an Employee Wellness Program
Since 36% of respondents worldwide do not think their employer demonstrates a commitment to their wellbeing, the pressure is on to not be one of those companies! As a leader in your business, you have the opportunity to make your company a place where people are excited to work for the culture itself. You are sure to find other wellness program benefits than these 10 we’re going to outline for you, these are some of the core perks that both corporations and employees can enjoy.
- Encourages Healthy Behaviors and Cultivates a Culture of Wellbeing
First and foremost, an employee wellness program supports employees in their healthy habits and encourages people to focus on their wellbeing inside and outside of work. If a company offers the ability to afford a gym membership, that employee knows that the company, one, cares about their employees, and two, motivates employees to act on their membership.
The same thing applies to mental health. If employees sense hypocrisy in their leaders, like when management says they prioritize mental health but overload employees’ workloads, that’s a sign that the company doesn’t sincerely care for an employee’s health. Go for authenticity, and put your money where your mouth is! Show your employees that they matter by following through on the policies you create.
- Improves Work-Life Wellness
Your employees, even the ones that love being at their job, have a life outside of work that they need to nurture and enjoy. The more that your employees can enjoy their work lives, the more they enjoy their time off — and in return, well-rested employees who get the proper time off perform better at work. This is what we call work-life wellness, where employees have their needs met so that they aren’t working long hours, get adequate rest, and can manage their stress so that it doesn’t interfere with their personal lives.
From a corporate perspective, you can think about the blockades that work can create and work to break those barriers down. For example, if you want to try and give more time back to your employees, consider a work-from-home option or a hybrid workplace. This protects the mental wellness of your employees. A wellness program can help shape work procedures to protect your employee’s time and health efforts outside of the office.
- Reduces Absenteeism
Absenteeism is a sign that your employees are overwhelmed, overworked, and overly stressed. Not only is this a frustrating experience for both the employee and your company leadership, but this also costs your business. Employee wellness programs, however, are a preventative measure you can take to protect employees from even entering the absenteeism phase.
Now, remember: absenteeism is different than using paid time off. If someone is using their PTO, they have every right to take advantage of that time off however they please if they are following the correct procedures — it’s their time! Absenteeism is when employees are not working or showing up for work when they haven’t scheduled time off. A wellness program can help prevent actual fatigue from being overworked and ultimately lower absenteeism.
- Increases Productivity
The last thing you want is a drop in productivity — not only can it cost businesses over $2.5 billion annually, but it also is an indication that your employees are unhappy and have an unhealthy relationship with their job. A wellness program can bolster your employees and ensure that they have the means to manage their stress. Plus, employees who eat healthily and exercise also tend to be more productive. Another CDC study showed that companies that support workplace health have a greater percentage of employees at work each day.
- Improves Employee Engagement
If you want your employees to care about their work, use a wellness program to boost employee engagement! This creates more meaningful connections between colleagues and a sense of community and even increases someone’s satisfaction with their life at work and home. This is one of those major win-win-win situations: your employees feel healthier and happier within their environment (win), take more interest in their work (win), and ultimately contribute more to their team and company (win).
- Reduce Stress
We’ve discussed this one in bits and pieces so far, but it’s just so important! Programs that help keep employees happy and healthy are preventing unnecessary stress and help employees maintain their health so that they feel good enough to work like normal. Health benefits protect employees from unhealthy living and other wellness programs should provide employees with coping techniques for stress, too. If employees are left to manage their stress alone (and without the resources their employers should be providing) they will likely experience burnout and slowly pull away from work. The remedy to this is a wellness program that prioritizes emotional health, proper breaks, and open communication when burnout starts creeping in.
- Improve Morale
Wellness programs bring employees together, especially when social activities are incorporated into the program. They also make everyone feel more appreciated and valued, which will make employees more enthusiastic about their job and ultimately happier.
- Reduces Healthcare Costs
Healthcare is one of the most important benefits your company can offer employees, but it can cost a pretty penny as 2020 was a record year in healthcare costs, and unfortunately, they will continue to rise at more than 5% a year moving forward. While this shouldn’t stop a corporation from providing healthcare, healthier employees can help lower those costs for your company. The easiest way to accomplish this? Use a wellness program to encourage and support healthy behavior and habits.
- Helps Employee Retention
Top performers stay where they feel like their best selves — this includes their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. A wellness program is a literal way that you can show your employees that you care about their health and actually take steps to improve their health. This means that not only is your top talent performing well, but it’s also likelier that you’ll retain your top talent.
- Attracts New Talent
What about bringing in new faces to the company during the talent acquisition process? Providing comprehensive wellbeing benefits is a good way to differentiate companies (and cultures) with prospective employees. Proven to be a top priority for up to70% of talent when evaluating a new job, competitive health benefits are going to bring in more competitive employees who know their worth. With a wellness program that offers exciting benefits, your company will have an edge over similar businesses that are vying for the same talent.
A wellness program can change the entire atmosphere at your workplace as you work out your benefits strategy. With the right resources in place and the right attitude in leadership, your co-workers and employees can feel more supported, inspired and healthy than ever before.
Need ways to up the ante of your wellness program? Gympass offers passes to thousands of gyms and wellness apps that your employees can use as they take control of their health. Talk to a wellbeing specialist today to learn more about how Gympass can be the ultimate benefit of your wellness program!
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The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.