Employee Wellness Program Benefits and Options
By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday October 25, 2022Updated : Thursday June 22, 2023
An employee Wellness Program can go a long way toward improving company culture and employee health and productivity. We explore all the benefits of these types of programs. Plus, we provide a comprehensive list of the different options employers can offer to build a thriving workplace culture and engaged workforce.
16 Employee Wellness Ideas to Create a Better Workplace
Why Have an Employee Wellness Program?
There are certain issues that Employee Wellness Programs can tackle. While the jury is still out on the exact figures regarding the return on investment, what is clear is the connection between healthy employees and a company’s bottom line.
13 Tips to Help Promote Employee Health and Wellbeing
Employee’s Mental and Physical Health
Most companies’ biggest expense is employee compensation, and part of that includes employee benefits. Physically or mentally unhealthy employees may end up increasing the costs of the benefits plan more in the long run. Conversely, implementing a wellness program with a disease management component can reduce health plan costs. A Rand study saw an 86% reduction in health plan costs.
And healthier employees are more engaged and productive. Which leads us to….
Happy and satisfied employees are 31% more productive and have a 19% increased accuracy on tasks. And everyone can appreciate that more productive employees mean better business outcomes.
Wellness programs help create a positive environment and company culture, which affects the satisfaction level and productivity of your employees. In fact, 91% of employees with a workplace wellness culture reported being satisfied with their jobs.
Time lost due to absenteeism (and therefore lost productivity) can also be attributed to employee wellbeing. Employees with low “life satisfaction” miss an average of 15 days more per year than those who are highly satisfied with their lives.
6 Factors Affecting Employee Productivity and How to Influence It
Employee turnover costs Canadian companies an average of just over $22,000 per year, according to a study by Express Employment Professionals. And the more employees you have, this cost only increases.
A Mercer study looked at the connection between employee wellbeing and turnover and found that employers who were doing the most for their employee’s wellbeing had an 11% lower turnover rate.
Return On Investment (ROI) of Wellness Programs
Many studies have been done on the monetary return for businesses. Are wellness programs really worth it?
One problem when analyzing the reports is that wellness programs can range from in-depth and supportive, to “lip service” programs that only look good on paper but are not very useful.
“Well-designed wellness programs lead to an ROI ranging from $1.5 to more than $3 invested over a time frame of two to nine years.” – Winning with Wellness report (2016)
However, one thing we can all agree on is no one is losing money by investing in their employee’s wellbeing, and for the most part, the types of programs boost employee satisfaction, productivity, engagement and overall health.
Common Wellness Program Options
We’ve compiled a list of the most common Wellness Program options available and the benefits they provide to employees.
- Wellness Spending Account (WSA) – these provide employees with the flexibility to choose what will benefit their health goals the most. Whether it’s a gym membership, a meditation app, or ergonomic office equipment, employees decide.
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – these provide employees with access to resources and counselling for all types of issues. From financial advise to elder care to substance abuse.
Calculating the Return on Investment of Employee Assistance Programs
- Paramedical services – these are usually covered under the Extended Health Care benefit, and include practitioners such as massage and physical therapists, psychologists, chiropractors and more. Employees requiring these services can run up a tidy sum without coverage.
- Flexible Work Schedules – employees with children, chronic conditions, disabilities, or even major changes going on in their personal lives may need flexibility in their schedules. Allowing employees some freedom with their work schedules can make their lives much easier. Who doesn’t like an employer that understands external pressures and demands?
- Flexible Work Locations (remote and hybrid) – if possible, allowing employees to work from home some or all the time shows an understanding of employee preference. In fact, 72% of employees say they are extremely or very satisfied with working from home.
- Personal Time Off (PTO) and Vacation – it sounds simple, but providing vacation and paid personal time off is a big part of employee wellness. The trick is to make sure your employees are using their vacation days.
How Encouraging Employee Vacations is Good for Business
More Wellness Program Options
Here are some more ideas for helping employees keep their healthy lifestyle going both at work and afterwards.
- Corporate gym memberships
- Wellness Program Incentives
- Healthy snacks and drinks
- Standing/treadmill desks
- On-site yoga/fitness classes
- Vacation incentives
- Self-Assessment tools such as Change4Life
- Lifestyle apps such as MindBeacon or ALAViDA
Employee wellness is a journey, not a magic button. It takes patience and a willingness to try new ideas. However, as demonstrated in this article, we think it is well worth the investment in the people that help to make your company as amazing as it can be.