Employee wellness is a fast-growing necessity among businesses today. More employers are recognizing the direct link between employee health and performance. A well-designed corporate wellness program can give your team the resources, information, and incentives they need to adopt healthier lifestyles. Companies that invest in their employees reap the rewards of higher productivity levels (and greater profits as a result).
Let's explore what it takes to create a successful employee wellness program and why you should have one.
What Is a Corporate Wellness Program?
A corporate wellness program is a solution to bolster employee health. It usually includes health assessments and coaching. Some may involve programs that promote healthy lifestyles and behaviors.
While corporate wellness programs have been around since the early 2000s, they have grown in popularity over the years. In fact, according to the 2020 annual survey of Employer Health Benefits, most employers had some sort of wellness program in place. 53% of them were small businesses with 3-200 employees, and 81% of them were large companies. As more businesses come to recognize how important a positive corporate culture is, they will invest in initiatives that strengthen it.
The goal of most employee wellness programs is to foster a healthy and happy work environment. Many employers also use them to lower healthcare costs. People visit the doctor's office less often when they have sufficient knowledge and the ability to manage their health.
The Importance of Employee Wellness Programs
A complete wellness program shows employees that their company cares about them. But it doesn't only benefit workers. Employee wellness programs are effective at increasing productivity, engagement, and loyalty. This increases retention rates—thereby saving money on turnover.
The best corporate wellness programs are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, they are customizable so that employers can make changes to suit their specific needs.
Employee wellness programs' benefits are plentiful:
- Increases productivity
- Boosts engagement
- Reduces turnover
- Decreases absenteeism
- Improves everyone's health and well-being
- Attracts new and enthusiastic talent
- Retains top employees
- Mitigates stress
- Promotes physical activity
8 Dimensions of Human Well-Being
An effective corporate wellness program nurtures these eight facets of well-being to improve everyone's quality of life.
Physical well-being goes beyond how someone appears on the outside. A person can look fit but have health problems. With that said, physical well-being encompasses healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and maintaining ideal body weight. Corporate wellness program ideas that address exercise, nutrition, and sleep fall under the ‘physical’ umbrella.
A healthy emotional state is imperative for stellar work performance. People who can manage their emotions and express their feelings tend to be happier, healthier, and more productive workers.
Moreover, The American Psychological Association's 2022 Work and Well-Being survey revealed that 81% of job candidates say that corporate support for mental health is a key factor in deciding where to work. Want to attract and retain high-quality employees? Offering a program that addresses mental health would put you in the right direction.
As humans, we need a sense of belonging and connection to other people. The right employee wellness programs can promote positive social interactions, boost workplace engagement, and encourage team camaraderie. In general, people who feel less isolated tend to take pride in their work.
People achieve financial well-being when they have more than enough money to meet their needs. But many Americans lack financial literacy. As a result, they have trouble saving for their future and spending wisely. Employers can step in to change this with a strategic corporate wellness program that educates about financial wellness.
Intellectual people continually strive to expand their knowledge and skills. This sharpens their ability to solve problems, tackle challenges, and engage in in-depth discussions with others. Companies can nurture this dimension by promoting curiosity and creative life-long learning.
Life is too short to work a job you hate. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more workers seek fulfillment and lasting contentment in their roles. Things like work-life balance and career development are significant for occupational wellness. When people are happy at work, they are more likely to also achieve financial, emotional, and physical well-being.
Organizations should do their part to encourage sustainable living. Even the smallest changes can make a substantial impact. Environmental well-being is not only important for future generations, it also protects employees by preventing health risks in the workplace, such as allergies. Clean air quality makes it possible for people to feel comfortable and do their jobs well.
Everyone's spiritual journey looks different. So, it can be hard for an organization to create a wellness program that tailors to everyone. But you can aim to have something in place to promote peace and harmony and encourage people to stay open-minded.
Components of Employee Wellness Programs
The effectiveness of your wellness program depends on its ability to engage, educate, and motivate employees. The best programs incorporate a combination of the following components:
- Healthy eating
- Wellness activities
- Stress management
- Health assessments
- Biometric testing
It is not uncommon for organizations to start with one or a couple of these. You can do the same and build out your corporate wellness program over time.
Things to Consider When Deciding on a Corporate Wellness Program
Before you create your corporate wellness program, consider the following:
- What are the goals of your wellness program? Should it improve employee health and well-being? Or do you want to save on healthcare costs?
- What is your budget for the program? Do you have an existing budget that you can reallocate from other areas? Will funding come from new sources?
- How much time do you have to start this initiative?
- Who will take on most of the responsibility?
- How many people do you need to collect success metrics and analyze results?
Knowing concrete answers to these questions can help you create a meaningful wellness program. The last thing you want to do is put something in place just because you see other companies doing it.
9 Wellness Program Ideas
There are various approaches to developing an effective corporate wellness program. Some programs center on physical fitness, while others focus on mental health or financial learning. Stress management, behavioral health, and safety programs are also popular in many workplaces. Lifestyle programs that encourage employees to make healthy choices outside of work are becoming more common as well.
Here are 9 ideas to incorporate into your corporate wellness program:
1. Free Gym Membership
Offering a free gym membership is a fantastic way to get your team members up and moving. Employees also appreciate it when their employers consider their health and well-being.
Thinking about making this a part of your corporate wellness program? Here are some things to consider when choosing a gym for your company:
- Some people prefer to work out alone, while others enjoy the company of others in a class setting. Make sure you choose one that is a happy medium for all so that everyone can take advantage.
- Consider where you want the gym located. It may be convenient for your employees to have it near your office space. This way, they can access it at any time during their workday, whether it be during lunch hour or after work.
Telemedicine is a growing field that allows patients to communicate with doctors remotely. Employees can take advantage of a telemedicine program for consultations, diagnoses, and treatment. Some telemedicine programs even provide patients with health education and follow-ups.
This type of wellness offering is a great way to improve engagement in your workplace. When employees have on-demand access to healthcare, they don't have to travel or take time off to be seen. This saves time and hassle, and as a result, people can better focus on their projects. Telemedicine programs can also benefit companies by reducing unnecessary doctor's visits and, thus, healthcare costs.
3. Disease Management
You may have heard the classic saying, "prevention is key" when it comes to health and wellness. Providing employees with the tools and resources they need to manage their health eliminates the need for treatment in the first place. Once people develop chronic conditions or illnesses, it takes a lot more work to heal and recover. This can hurt their performance at work.
Depending on the size of your company, you may partner with a health care professional to help employees with diet, exercise, and disease prevention. You can also connect people with free resources through your corporate wellness programs. Employee wellness programs can include online portals with information about chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease.
4. Health Coaching
Health coaching helps employees make informed lifestyle choices, which improves their health in the long run. For example, a person who walks to work each day may want to build up their stamina so that they can walk farther or faster. A health coach could guide how to accomplish this goal by offering suggestions and encouragement.
If some members of your team have been eating fast food every day, you may need to help them with their nutrition. A health coach can teach them how to prepare more nutritious meals. This may involve providing recipes or guidance in the kitchen.
5. Free or Affordable Nutritious Meals
People who spend the majority of their days at work often don't have enough time or energy to prepare nutritious meals. Offering free or discounted lunch in your office can help mitigate this issue. It is also important to educate your employees about the benefits of a healthy diet. This information, along with access to nutritious foods at work, will help them make better food choices and be more productive on the job.
One way to make nutrition more accessible is by partnering with local restaurants that specialize in healthy meals at reasonable prices. They can create menus that suit your company’s needs and preferences - whether it’s vegetarian options or gluten-free items.
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6. Flexible Work Schedules
Let's face it: people are happier and more productive when they can tailor their work schedule to match their lifestyle. A flexible setup can not only reinforce work-life balance but also improve performance. If you give your workers flexible schedules, they will be less likely to quit. Contrarily, those without wiggle room may be compelled to leave your company for another one that offers better benefits or higher pay.
Microsoft's Work Trend Index recently surveyed more than 30,000 people. Of these workers, 73% reported that they want their employers to keep offering flexible remote work options after the pandemic. Many of those employees were even willing to accept lower salaries in exchange for this perk.
Furthermore, offering a flexible work schedule is a surefire way to attract new quality talent. People looking for jobs prefer to work for a company that offers flexible hours. Recent research from CareerBuilder indicates that jobs allowing people to work from home full or part-time received seven times more applications than traditional in-office roles.
7. Wellness Education
Employee education is a critical element of any effective corporate wellness program. Learning about wellness empowers people to make positive changes in their lives.
Let's say an employee participates in a stress management class. Discovering new coping mechanisms can help this person achieve personal and professional goals quicker than if there were no education component.
Wellness education can take many forms:
- Classroom lectures
- Peer-to-peer sharing groups
It doesn't matter so much which delivery method you choose, all these forms of education are valuable. What matters most is that all employees get access to critical information so they know where they stand now relative to their health goals.
8. Exciting Fitness Classes
Fitness is much more appealing when the workout itself is fun, so why not add exciting, yet rigorous fitness classes into your corporate wellness program?
Here are some examples of fitness classes you can introduce:
If your company is fully remote, you might want to think about offering virtual employee wellness programs like yoga or stretch sessions via Zoom.
Before deciding on one or a few of these class options, survey your employees to gauge interest levels. The goal is to offer something that people look forward to taking part in. Once you get a good idea of what people want, you can partner with a local gym or health club to offer the class(es) at a discounted rate. Employees will be more willing to participate in them knowing they are getting an exclusive deal.
9. Financial Counseling
Did you know that a staggering 61% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck? This signifies a dire need for financial counseling. Understanding the benefits of saving and investing money can relieve financial stress, help people plan for a relaxing retirement, and spend smarter.
Financial counseling also plays a big part in preventing Americans from drowning in debt. It is estimated that the average United States household with debt owes $155,622. That is more than $15 trillion altogether when you account for mortgages, auto loans, student loans, credit cards, and home equity lines of credit. Financial counseling teaches people how to cut back on unnecessary spending so they can support themselves and their families. People should never be in a situation where they need to choose between paying their bills and buying groceries.
Boost Employee Health and Productivity with the Right Wellness Incentives
With so many different corporate wellness programs to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one best suits your needs and budget. Many factors go into making this decision. You must consider your company’s size, budget, goals, and current employees' health status. Implementing the right wellness incentives can keep everyone healthy and boost productivity.
Need further guidance on crafting the perfect corporate wellness program? Terryberry specializes in solutions for a healthy and happy workforce. We make it a breeze to run wellness challenges to boost team engagement, build camaraderie, and improve staff wellness. Get in touch with us today to build a better tomorrow for your workplace.