When it comes to defining company success, the bottom line is often top of mind.
As an HR leader, you know the number one asset to your company's financial success — its employees. Keeping your workforce healthy and productive is essential for your organization’s future.
This is where wellness programs come in. Creating an effective wellness program can improve the health and wellbeing of your employees, which, in turn, can significantly increase their productivity and impact your company's bottom line.
It’s a tactic that works time and time again: Nine out of 10 companies that track the impact of their wellness spending see a positive return on investment, thanks to increased productivity, reduced healthcare costs, and talent management savings.
Improving employee wellness is so effective, it's becoming standard across industries: over 80% of large companies offer wellness resources and activities for their employees, according to a survey conducted by SHRM.
But not all wellness programs are created equal. Here's how to create an effective wellness program that drives bottom-line growth through workforce wellbeing.
- Understand Employee Needs
All the best projects start with a needs assessment! Surveying your workforce to understand their health and wellness needs, interests, and goals is a great place to start. This will help you design a program that meets their unique needs and engages them effectively.
- Define Your Goals
Set clear, measurable goals for your wellness program. These could range from reducing employee sick days to boosting productivity, or improving employee satisfaction and morale. For a more bottom-line focus, consider measuring the reduction of your healthcare benefits due to your wellness program. All of these have quantifiable impacts, enabling you to track your financial returns over time.
- Allocate Resources
Now, it's time to allocate resources for your program. Consider the financial investments you'll make and any personnel costs associated with creating and managing the program. Make sure to speak with your healthcare benefits provider about any wellness dollars they might offer to pay for some or all of this new program. Keep in mind that these upfront expenditures are investments, as employee wellness programs have been shown to produce $6 in returns for every dollar spent.
- Build a Wellness Team
Create a team of enthusiastic employees who can help plan, promote, and manage your wellness program. These Wellness Champions can foster ownership and ensure the program resonates with all levels of your organization. Research shows people who have a Wellness Champion in their department are more engaged and satisfied, have a better view of their overall wellbeing, and have a higher opinion of their employer. And you have dedicated resources that are responsible for ensuring the wellness program is evolving to meet the changing needs of your employees.
- Select Suitable Activities
Variety and flexibility are the name of the game. A diverse mix of offerings cater to a broader range of employee preferences makes the program more accessible, so opting for a comprehensive wellbeing program can help increase participation rates. Gympass, for example, provides employees with access to high- and low-intensity exercises, in-person and remote experiences, apps for nutrition, sleep, period, and activity tracking, guided meditations, and more. Employees can take part in the program whenever and wherever they are.
- Incorporate Mental Wellness
Mental wellness is crucial for overall health. Resources like meditation apps and yoga classes can help your employees manage stress and increase mindfulness. These attributes support the mental clarity people need to be productive. They are also a critical part of building a wellness plan that delivers results — Deloittee estimates that every $1 invested in employee mental wellness initiatives generates $5.30. And such savings are not limited to office environments: Investing in the mental health of workers in field-based industries like mining and construction drove $5.80 for every $1 spent in mining, $3.50 for every $1 spent in manufacturing, and $2.30 for every $1 spent in construction, according to PWC.
- Design Incentive Structures
Encouraging participation by offering incentives like discounted gym memberships, health insurance premium reductions, or extra vacation days can increase participation rates. The more employees that take part in your program, the greater the impact it can have. Employees that check-in to Gympass programming five times a month, for example, drive 35% reductions in healthcare spending compared to those who use it infrequently.
- Promote Healthy Eating
Nutrition is a cornerstone of wellness — employees with unhealthy diets are 66% more likely to report productivity drops, according to research conducted at Brigham Young University. You can support healthy eating by offering nutritious options in your cafeterias, organizing healthy potlucks, providing discounts at local health food stores, or covering subscriptions for apps like Lifesum, which offers meal and diet planning, or Nootric, which provides personalized nutrition support from dietitians.
- Communicate Effectively
Employees can't take part in a program if they don't know what's going on. Regularly communicate about your wellness program through emails, newsletters, or on-site posters. Celebrate the employees that are really engaged. Clearly communicate the benefits of the program. Consistent updates about upcoming events, success stories, and program benefits can boost participation.
- Evaluate and Update
Regularly evaluate your wellness program to see if it’s meeting its goals. Track employee satisfaction surveys, as well as HR metrics like healthcare costs, absenteeism, and employee engagement. This will help you make adjustments and to optimize your wellness offering moving forward.
- Sustain Long-Term Engagement
Keep your program fresh and engaging by introducing new activities or challenges, celebrating success stories, and continuously promoting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Your wellness program should evolve every year. Don’t let it go stale. This will help ensure consistent participation that sustains the program's positive impact on your bottom line.
Launch a Program With A Proven Track Record of Savings
Creating a successful wellness program takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth it for both employees and employers.
By understanding your employees' needs, encouraging active lifestyles, addressing mental wellness needs, and measuring the impact, you can create a wellness program that improves your company's bottom line.
You have help at every stage when you partner with Gympass. Our network of over 50,000 fitness providers and dozens of wellbeing apps provide the support employees need to thrive. From nutrition tracking to personal trainers to on-demand workouts, our services provide flexibility, variety and community to drive true engagement.
Companies that offer Gympass see 43% better retention rates and up to 35% reductions in annual employee health care costs for actively engaged employees. This drives substantial talent management and healthcare savings.
There’s a reason more than 10,000 organizations already rely on us for a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce! Speak with a Gympass wellbeing specialist to start saving today.
- Bravo. (2019, March 21). Do Wellness Programs Save Companies Money? https://www.bravowell.com/resources/do-wellness-programs-save-companies-money
- Deloitte. (2022, July 1). Interested in a 5x roi? consider Mental Wellness Initiatives. https://action.deloitte.com/insight/2274/interested-in-a-5x-roi-consider-mental-wellness-initiatives
- Fournier, J. E., & Mattke, S. (2021, March 4). Do Corporate Wellness Programs Work? https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/spring2021/pages/do-corporate-wellness-programs-work.aspx
- Gympass. (2023, May 18). Return on Wellbeing Report 2023. https://gympass.com/en-us/resources/research/return-on-wellbeing-study-2023
- Hollingshead, T. (2019, August 12). Poor employee health means slacking on the job, business losses. BYU News: University Communications. https://news.byu.edu/news/poor-employee-health-means-slacking-job-business-losses
- PwC (2014). Creating a mentally healthy workplace: Return on investment analysis. PWC.com.au. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://www.headsup.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/beyondblue_workplaceroi_finalreport_may-2014.pdf?sfvrsn=6
- Wieneke, K. C., Egginton, J. S., Jenkins, S. M., Kruse, G. C., Lopez-Jimenez, F., Mungo, M. M., & Limburg, P. J. (2019, June). Well-Being Champion Impact on Employee Engagement, Staff Satisfaction, and Employee Well-Being. https://www.mcpiqojournal.org/article/S2542-4548(19)30040-2/fulltext
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.