Wellness programs have been around for awhile, but increasingly more evidence is emerging that these programs lead to greater employee happiness and engagement. Wellness programs from a purely practical sense can reduce healthcare costs and increase office productivity. But what may be even more important is that employees who are more active are not only generally happier and healthier with lower stress levels, they’re more engaged in their employer’s mission and goals.
“Employers continue to depend on health and wellness initiatives to curb health-care costs and foster a successful and productive workforce,” noted WorldatWork and HealthMine in a report of about 6,500 WorldatWork members.
“Employees who are more active are generally happier and healthier.”
Researchers at WorldatWork and Healthmine looked to gain a broader understanding of current trends and “unique perspectives” in employer-offered healthcare benefits and rewards. Their audience mainly consisted of organizations in the private sector/privately held (36 percent) and private sector/publicly traded (34 percent) and that employed roughly 1,000 to 2,500 employees. What they found was exactly what we stated previously: Employers are offering more health-related benefits than ever.
Three reasons organizations offer well-being elements to employees include improving an employee’s health (82 percent), reducing claims costs and medical premiums (78 percent) and how the benefits are perceived by workers (77 percent).
Cutting costs a major benefit
A different survey conducted by RAND of PepsiCo’s wellness program concluded that employers can greatly reduce their overall costs per worker by integrating a comprehensive wellness program into their business model.
Researchers found that after seven years of running a successful wellness program, employers cut $30 off the healthcare costs per member each month. More specifically, the disease management component of wellness programs resulted in a nearly 30 percent drop in hospital admittance and a $136 reduction per member per month. The benefits are obvious for employers, but are they impacting employees in the same way?
Employees benefit from wellness programs
WorldatWork and Healthmine reported that 75 percent of organizations felt employee satisfaction was the most significant measured outcome of wellness programs. Biometric screening (73 percent), employee engagement (72 percent) and productivity (71 percent) filled out the top four.
“Twenty-four percent of employees want their employers to offer them free gym memberships.”
Employees would agree. In a survey conducted by TechnologyAdvice of nearly 500 office workers between 25 and 54, 24 percent wanted their employers to offer them free gym memberships. That was the second most coveted perk behind flex time and remote working (32 percent). And while free gym memberships are only one possible component of a wellness program, it shows you just how highly ranked this type of incentive is.
Employees take part in wellness programs for various reasons. Some love to live a healthy lifestyle. Whether they’re at work or at home, they enjoy eating healthy and working out. These employees likely gravitate intentionally or not to companies that offer comprehensive wellness programs and related perks because it meets their lifestyle requirements. Other employees opt to join the program because it lowers their spending on medical costs. Those who are healthier, noted Bankrate, are less likely to take trips to the doctor and have a greater chance of spending more days at work.
Employers looking to build (or rebuild) their perks and benefits program should start by analyzing their wellness program and healthcare offerings. As these studies indicate, not only do employees covet a robust wellness program because of reduced healthcare costs, they enjoy the outcomes of less stress and greater employee happiness.
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To learn more about how to turn health into employee happiness download our free eBook, The Secret to a Successful Corporate Wellness Program.