You want your employees to be happy, healthy and above all, productive. If your office dynamic is a bit sluggish, think about spicing up the daily routine with some new initiatives – and watch the returns roll in.
Are you concerned about your employees’ health and well being? Employee wellness programmes are far more than just a trend for startups in the tech industry looking to reel in the next generation of talented workers. Taking workplace health and wellness seriously isn’t solely a matter of good will – it’s a shrewd business strategy to promote increased productivity and success. As many studies have corroborated, the health and wellness of a workforce translates directly to a business’s overall profitability.
An Optum research study investigating the overall benefits of workplace health and wellness initiatives found that “well-designed workplace wellness programmes can be highly effective in helping employees adopt and sustain healthy lifestyle change, with significant benefits for employee and employer alike.” And these results weren’t limited to the traditional office setting; occupations among employed respondents surveyed were split roughly equally between white collar and blue collar industries.
According to the study, the practise proved useful on two levels: 82% of employees who worked at companies with health and wellness programmes reported that such programmes had encouraged them to stay with their employer for longer. Along with the obvious improvements to employee satisfaction levels and retention rates, it’s also the case that these programmes provide concrete benefits to a company’s security and financial well-being.
Benefits for Employers
As much as organisations want to provide a positive environment for their workers, most HR departments feel they can’t afford to dedicate substantial financial resources to anything without a positive return on their bottom line. Health and wellness problems, then, are often written off as frivolous perks only utilised by giant, well-funded companies. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), however, these programmes can represent a veritable strategy for corporate success.
In two separate case studies — one at Johnson & Johnson, and another at an unnamed company — the resulting savings far outweighed programme expenditures. At Johnson & Johnson, HBR reports that wellness programmes have cumulatively saved the company $250 million on healthcare costs over the past decade, and from 2002 to 2008, the return was $2.71 for every dollar spent. The other company, whose focus was on cardiac rehabilitation and exercise, saw $6 in savings for every dollar spent.
Building a Wellness Plan
After studying 10 organisations across a variety of industries in which wellness programmes “have systematically achieved measurable results,” HBR has compiled a set of six “essential pillars” for a successful corporate wellness programme. They are:
Pillar 1: Multilevel Leadership – top-down support from management
Pillar 2: Alignment – align wellness goals with the company’s overall goals
Pillar 3: Scope, Relevance, and Quality – employ unique and engaging ways to improve wellness
Pillar 4: Accessibility – offer convenient and low-cost health and wellness options
Pillar 5: Partnerships – gain legitimacy and cut costs with meaningful partnerships
Pillar 6: Communications – employ clear messaging and make the HR department available to answer any questions and encourage employees to take part
Given the proven benefits of these initiatives to the bottom line, consider integrating all (or some) of these pillars into your own company’s wellness programme. Your employees will thank you and your company will thrive.