According to industry research, 77% of workers believe that employee wellness programs improve workplace culture. But traditional workplace wellness programs that focus only on the basics, like physical fitness and massage, fall flat when it comes to supporting total well-being.

As an HR and business leader, if you could boost employee morale, skyrocket productivity, and reduce healthcare costs at your company, would you?

Well-being and performance may be inextricably linked, but not all companies are investing in this vital area. The same research showed that only 31% of company leaders feel satisfied with their current health and wellness metrics.

Today, we’re sharing eight reasons why this is one of the most important initiatives your company can undertake. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

8 benefits of employee wellness programs

1. Improved productivity

When you motivate your employees to have healthy eating habits, exercise, and take care of their mental health, these benefits extend farther than mere physical benefits.

Yes, health can improve, and there is a lower risk of developing certain chronic diseases. You’ll also notice a near-immediate uptick in productivity when you make it simple for employees to enjoy a 30-minute yoga class to combat that 3:00 p.m. slump of energy rather than reach for that fifth cup of coffee.

Not sure where to begin? Why not implement a corporate fitness program? From Pilates to Zumba, there’s a class to fit every need and a healthy way for team members to beat workplace stress and stay fit simultaneously.

2. Higher employee morale

It’s a simple equation. Healthy employees with companies that offer programs for employee total well-being equate to happier and more loyal people who attract the same.

When everyone in every department feels appreciated and noticed, morale can’t help but rise. When you implement an employee wellness program, you’re demonstrating that you value and are supportive, not only for their work performed but also for their overall well-being.

One great way to achieve this? Employee rewards and recognition.

Enable peer-to-peer celebrations and micro-expressions of gratitude when they notice a job well done. Celebrate birthdays, tenures, and any extraordinary achievements. Highlight publicly when someone achieves a specific metric, bypasses a personal goal, or marks an important milestone.

Then, make the rewards as unique as the individual. Throw one-size-fits-all gift ideas out the door and consider what the recipient would love.

Consider experiential rewards with trips to exciting destinations, such as a spa for two, a trip to wine country, or surfing. Personalized gift baskets, or a reserved parking space for the next few months! Nerd out on thoughtfulness, and you win.

Read more: 21 Creative Employee Recognition Ideas For a Happy Workforce

3. Improved employee retention

Pamper your employees with the health and wellness programs, and they’ll less likely jump ship if another offer comes along — even one that involves more money.

This consideration is a critical one, especially given today’s job climate. According to one survey, employee allegiance is waning, with only 42% of employees reporting they feel a strong sense of loyalty to their employers. Given that we are in a state of the distributed workforce and contract employee transformation, this makes sense.

More proof: 58% of surveyed employees said that benefits were an important retention driver and that they’d be more likely to stay with a company with advancement opportunities and a positive corporate culture. Another study found that employees who worked at an office with an active wellness program were less likely to switch jobs in the next 12 months than those who did not (46% versus 52%).

4. Reduced absenteeism

Sick and injured employees cost U.S. employers $225.8 billion every year. That equals $1,685 per employee.

Why the exorbitant bill? Consider the wages and salaries paid for those absent employees as they sit recovering at home or in a healthcare facility.

Business managers may not be able to keep everyone well every hour of the day. Still, they can make strides toward improving the overall physical and mental health of their workforce.

Employee wellness programs make it easy for employers to extend benefits, including dental checkups, chiropractic, massages, and even meditation sessions across their office. These can include mobile health and well-being solutions that come straight to campus or to the employee’s home.

Also, reimbursement programs let the employees take the reign, applying their extra funds toward a local gym or yoga studio membership, for example.

As they give fitness and well-being a more significant role in their everyday life, these employees will build up their defenses against illness and strengthen their bodies against injury. That means they’re more likely to show up in your conference room than the hospital room.

5. Reduced healthcare costs

Think the cost of absenteeism is staggering? Next, consider how much sick employees cost employers when it comes to healthcare.

Studies reveal that taking every component of worker’s compensation into account, including sick days, ill or injured employees cost U.S. employers $576 billion every year.

When you encourage your workforce to adopt healthy behaviors, you lower their health risks, along with your insurance bill.

6. Fewer cases of burnout

As a society, we’re more connected than ever before, so our jobs should be easier, right?

Turns out, even with the wonders of technology at their fingertips, today’s workforce is feeling the pressure to perform. One study showed that 23% of employees feel burnt out very often at work, and 44% sometimes feel this way.

This isn’t always a silent burden that employees deal with in private. Left to fester, these anxieties and stressors can lead to physical ailments, as well. The same study showed that burnout-related issues cost U.S. employers between $125 and $190 billion in healthcare spending every year, used to treat diseases, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Gastrointestinal issues

One of the top benefits of employee wellness programs? Employers can implement lifestyle convenience systems that take certain burdens off the shoulders of employees.

From dry-cleaning pickup services to phone repair and car refueling, how can you make life easier for your company’s most valuable assets?

7. Better teamwork

Even if your workforce is distributed across global teams, successful teamwork is what propels them along. If employees can’t communicate and collaborate with ease, fissures and frictions will form.

This is where Employee Resource Groups come into play.

For example, diversity and inclusion groups instill a sense of belonging and allow teammates to come together to share ideas. You can also encourage employees to join affinity groups that center on who they are — LGBTQ+, Latinas/Latinos, African Americans, Asians, and Veterans — or based on personal passions, for example, wine tastings, book clubs, kite surfing, and hiking.

You can even have certified and trained employees lead the exercise classes held in your office. All of these ideas foster a sense of community and allow teammates to bond in a comfortable and low-stress environment.

8. Easier recruitment

Want to remain competitive in your industry’s labor market? Employee health and well-being programs are your ticket to staying relevant and top-of-mind with prospective hires of all ages.

When you have one in place, it helps to elevate your employer brand. When you become more visible, you’ll have an easier time finding, attracting, and retaining top talent.

The bottom line?

The best employees want to work at the best companies. And, at an increasing rate, they’re seeking out those that offer benefits exceeding monetary reward. They want lifestyle convenience offerings and perks that show their employers are empathetic to their cry for work-life balance.

Then, once they join your team, they’re more likely to refer their equally-qualified peers. Research shows that when employees work at a company that supports their well-being efforts, 89% of them are willing to recommend their company as a great place to work.

Implement an employee wellness program today

Ready to embrace a culture of health, fitness, and motivation within your workplace? Looking for a way to reward your employees for their hard work and encourage their brand loyalty? Want to enhance and streamline your Employee Resource Groups?

If so, it’s time to embrace employee wellness programs, and we’d love to help you with this next step.

Espresa takes the guesswork out of designing a wellness program that celebrates your values and mission as a company, and with a platform that employees love. Reach out to our team for a free demo today!


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