Employee wellness programs (EWP) are more popular than ever today. EWPs are implemented by employers to maintain and improve the overall well-being and health of their employees. An employee wellness program is holistic in nature and aims at supporting employees to adopt and sustain behaviours that improve their quality of life, reduce health risks, and enhance personal effectiveness while also increasing productivity, strengthening employee engagement, and optimizing human talent and resource investments to benefit the organization. When implemented in an appropriate and efficient way, these programs can provide employees with strategies and tools, incentives, privacy, and social support to create a culture of wellness at work and promote good health behaviour.
Employee wellness programs can take many different forms. Some examples of wellness programs include: individual therapy sessions for employees, offering preventative health screenings, offering mental health related training and support groups, workshops on topics like stress management, emotional well-being assessments and appropriate interventions among others. While one may think that these programs cater only towards helping the employees, the truth is that employee wellness programs can be beneficial for both- the employees and the employers/organization. Here are some of the key benefits of having adept employee wellness programs in place:
Higher levels of employee productivity:
Numerous studies have revealed that employers/organizations who implement employee wellness programs constantly report improved levels of employee productivity (Goetzel & Ozminkowski, 2008). By taking part in wellness activities that focus on adopting good healthy behaviours like regular exercise or stress management, employees can increase performance and productivity, leading them to being more motivated and focused to accomplish tasks.
Lower healthcare costs:
Working at an organization which promotes a healthy lifestyle can benefit their employees health. Employee wellness programs have the ability to reduce employee-related health care expenditures in the long run by making them less likely to get injured or fall sick. The most famous example of this is that of the Johnson & Johnson’s employee wellness program - which saved the company over $38 million in its first four years itself.
One of the other advantages of employee wellness programs is that they help your organization remain competitive within the labour market. These programs help enhance your brand, making it easier to attract and hire top talent. Potential candidates are also more likely to choose an employer who offers such programs. Additionally, companies with employee wellness programs in place have reported higher rates of successful employee referrals. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 89% of employees at organizations that offer and support wellness efforts are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work.
Lower employee turnover:
Employees in organizations that offer employee wellness programs are less likely to leave their jobs than employees in organizations that do not offer such programs. This not only helps in tackling the issue of turnover, but also helps in employee retention. A successful wellness program shows your concern for the well-being and health of your employees and makes them feel appreciated and valued. This in turn keeps them loyal and they are more likely to stay at your organization.
Reduced employee absenteeism:
Wellness programs have been shown to improve the health of employees, which in turn impacts their absenteeism from work. When your employees are stress-free and healthy, they are less likely to be absent from work.
Higher levels of employee engagement:
An established wellness culture fosters a focused and engaged workforce which subsequently benefits the careers of its employees. Such programs help employees connect to their colleagues and engage with other members in their organization. Employee engagement has also been positively correlated with better health in employees.
Employee wellness programs offer various benefits to both employees and employers. Implementing such employee wellness programs are key to the health and well-being of your employees and company. They have a direct, tangible effect on the productivity and profits of an organization. By implementing wellness programs, you can build loyalty among employees and improve your employer brand while saving you money.
- Goetzel RZ, Ozminkowski RJ. The health and cost benefits of work site health-promotion programs. Annu Rev Public Health. 2008; 29, 303-323. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.29.020907.090930 PMID: 18173386.