What is worksite wellness?
Worksite wellness programs are designed to encourage employees to make healthier lifestyle choices (employee wellness), often with an emphasis on supporting and rewarding employees as they progress toward better health. But they can also be a critical component of a successful company, especially as wellness in the workplace becomes increasingly important.
Wellness programs can be a resource to help HR managers support a culture of health and wellness, improve teamwork and morale, and manage rising healthcare costs. Most companies start off by gauging employee health, and priorities with an employee wellness survey.
Employees who participate in worksite wellness programs are also more productive, happier, and can be 3x as likely to recommend the company as a great place to work.
You may have heard these initiatives called many names — corporate wellness, employee wellbeing, company wellness programs, or even employee wellness benefits–but the concept is the same.
Wellness programs are initiatives or benefits offered by employers to help people achieve better health outcomes.
Why does it matter?
Worksite wellness is now an essential part of the employee experience, and sometimes even can make or break your company culture. Why?
Health and wellness problems don’t stay at home…they follow people to work! Employers shoulder the cost of distracted, disengaged, and stressed out workers, which can lead to poor morale and higher turnovers. Those negative factors can chip away at your company culture, and make it harder to get after your goals.
Additionally, today’s jobseekers expect any competitive employer to offer some kind of wellness benefit. In a survey of 2,000 American jobseekers, more than half agreed that a company’s benefits and perks are a major factor in considering whether to even accept a job offer!
Because of this, HR managers most often say they’re motivated by three main factors when it comes to implementing a new program or benefit: recruitment and retention, boosting employee engagement, and reducing health costs.
(To learn more, read our whitepaper, “Measuring What Matters: The ROI of Workplace Wellness” for information about how employee wellness programs can lead to a return on investment in any of those three areas.)
What are the benefits of a worksite wellness program (for Employee Wellness)?
Creating and managing a worksite wellness program is an important step in improving the health and productivity of employees and potentially improving the overall cost of employer-provided health care (in fact employee productivity is shown to increase when they exercise, and fit employees are generally better team players).
Some of the top benefits that employers report from their wellness programs include:
- Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism
- Improved productivity and focus
- Improved employee morale
- Greater employee loyalty, reduced turnover
- Stronger company culture and/or a company culture of wellness
- Preventing injuries (which also leads to fewer workers’ compensation and disability-related costs)
- Lower healthcare costs
- And more “fun” in the office, more people happier to be at work!
Because of the ever-increasing costs of health insurance and the importance of employee health, employers should consider implementing a well-thought-out wellness program that benefits both the employee’s health and the employer’s bottom line. Many companies are even implementing wellness committees nowadays, so that they can better manage their organizations’ wellness program (here is how you can implement a wellness committee)
Examples of Workplace Wellness Programs
Workplace wellness programs are designed to support and encourage a culture of good health among employees. All of these programs can fall into two categories: lifestyle wellness or disease management.
Disease management programs are less common, and frequently seen at a larger employer. structured treatment plans to help people manage their chronic conditions and aim to maintain and improve quality of life. A central goal is to help people with chronic conditions (like asthma, obesity, or diabetes) manage their own care, avoid complications, and stay out of the hospital. These programs are less common and only affect a small number of employees (by design).
Lifestyle wellness focuses on reducing health risks and preventing the development of chronic conditions through healthy lifestyle and behavior change. Think exercise, nutrition, sleep, physical activity, stress management—this approach is all about getting the most amount of people to regularly make healthy habits, and choices.
These are probably what you’re thinking when you think of worksite wellness!
As the industry has grown and the offerings have become more sophisticated, employers There are hundreds of options available to today’s employers looking for lifestyle wellness benefits, and workplace wellness is more affordable and accessible than ever. Because every company will have different needs, every wellness program looks different!
Some common examples include:
- Information to educate workers about health and wellness. This could even mean implementing an engaging wellness newsletter! Here is how you can create a wellness newsletter.
- Holding wellness fairs so that you can educate your team about health, and wellness in a fun and friendly atmosphere
- Free or subsidized services such as gym memberships, exercise classes, nutrition counseling, training, counseling, or health coaching
- Reimbursements or “wellness funds” to offset costs related to personal health and wellness
- Ways to help manage day-to-day health, such as nutrition tips or stress management ideas
- On-site wellness activities or resource, like flu clinics, on-site gyms, massages, or free healthy food at work
- Engagement-boosting activities like team wellness challenges or events
Many of these also include incentives and rewards for participation!
More Reading: Employers often struggle to understand how to structure a financial wellness incentive, how much makes sense to offer, and what it will ultimately cost the company. Read our premier whitepaper, Incentivizing Wellness, for recommendations for your company.
How Employers Can Get Started, and Improve Employee Wellness
It’s easier than ever to offer a wellness benefit — no matter the company size or budget. Here are a few next steps.
- Take our introductory webinar series to learn about designing your own worksite wellness program
- Read about the options in our whitepaper, the Definitive Corporate Wellness Landscape.
- Look at vendors and reviews to see what other companies are doing. Check third-party sites for candid reviews, or look to your HR membership association for recommendations.
- Meet with a benefits broker who can advise you and compare several vendors or providers. Some can even secure discounts!
- Schedule an introductory call with our sales team for more one-on-one recommendations