Workers participating in an employee wellness program.

Improve Business Health With an Employee Wellness Program

Employee wellness programs include a variety of initiatives that help employees improve overall health and well-being: disease prevention, health promotion, and education programs.

Why Institute an Employee Wellness Program?

An employee wellness program is an initiative designed to improve the health and wellbeing of employees and reduce their risk of illness, injury, or disability.

In recent years, human resource departments and employers have found that there are clear benefits to offering health benefit programs like diet and exercise plans, stress management courses, smoking cessation and more. They lower absenteeism rates by reducing the number of sick days taken by staff members, increase efficiency and improve morale – it doesn’t get much better than that!

Where to Start With Employee Wellness?

The first step in creating an employee wellness program is to identify problem areas. For example, if you’re looking to cut health care costs, it’s helpful to know how much they cost now.

Upper level management needs to work with their human resource counterparts to obtain an overall idea of employee health. Health trends and possible health risks must be evaluated.

Do employees require more physical activity because the job is sedentary? Should corporate eating areas do better to promote healthy eating? Is the job taking a toll on employees’ mental health? Once management develops a picture of the mental and physical health of the employees, then additional factors need to be considered: How much will this cost? How will it reduce expenses or improve productivity? What is the return on investment?

How Does a Company Create an Employee Wellness Program?

Employee wellness looks different for every company. Keep these factors in mind when developing your business’s unique program.

  • Tailor your wellness program to the culture of your organization. You may want to start with a survey and find out what’s important to employees when it comes to their health, what they’re worried about, and how they’re currently taking care of themselves. Once you know this information, it will be easier for you to develop a plan that meets their needs.
  • Make sure that your program is flexible enough for employees’ schedules and lifestyle choices. Employees have different needs depending on whether they are single parents or married with children; whether they live alone or share space with roommates; whether they walk or commute by car — so make sure there are plenty of options available when it comes to choosing ways for them to improve their health!
  • Be open-minded when considering new ideas because not everyone will want the same thing. Some people might like yoga classes while others prefer running groups.
  • Think outside traditional boundaries when designing an employee wellness plan. This will make it more fun and engage team members equally, regardless of age group/gender identity.

What Should Be Included in an Employee Wellness Program?

Here are some of the things you should consider when planning out your employee wellness program. Not all of these measures need to be enacted, just the ones that fit best with the health plan/culture for your company:

  • Wellness initiatives and activities
  • Wellness incentives
  • Flu shots
  • Health screenings
  • Free or reduced-price gym memberships
  • Perks for smoking cessation or weight loss
  • Availability of healthy food and healthy snacks
  • Financial wellness counseling

Ensuring the Success of Employee Wellness Initiatives

Employee wellness programs are designed to help employees lead healthy, productive, and satisfying lives. They’re a great way for companies to foster a positive work environment that also benefits the bottom line. But in order for these initiatives to work effectively, they require buy-in from employees.

Employee engagement and communication is key. Employees who are engaged in their workplace tend to be more productive at work and better able to take advantage of opportunities that come up within their company or industry. Employee morale and camaraderie among co-workers will improve as engagement rises.

Employee Wellness Initiatives = Reduced Healthcare Costs

Employee wellness initiatives can help reduce healthcare costs by reducing absenteeism, improving productivity and preventing chronic diseases.

  • Reducing Absenteeism:

    Employees who are in good health are less likely to miss work than those who aren’t. By offering wellness programs that encourage employees to take better care of themselves, you can help keep them healthier and therefore more productive.

  • Preventing Chronic Diseases:

    Healthy employees cost less than unhealthy ones because they miss less work and have higher productivity levels. In addition, chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes are much easier to treat when they’re diagnosed early on rather than after they’ve progressed into advanced stages (which ultimately requires more expensive treatments).

  • Reducing Smoking:

    Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in America, and it contributes to a host of health issues, such as cancer, high blood pressure, lung disease, and heart disease. When smokers stop smoking due to their participation in a corporate wellness program, it can result in significant savings for employers who cover their employee’s healthcare costs through insurance premiums. Plus, the employee benefits from better health!

Benefits of Wellness Activities in the Workplace

Employee wellness initiatives reduce healthcare costs by encouraging healthy habits and healthy lifestyles. They also improve employee well-being and productivity, positively impacting your company’s bottom line. Most importantly, improving employees’ well-being can go a long way toward enhancing company culture and employee retention. It’s a win-win situation!

If you want to learn more about how you can get started with an employee wellness program and what it takes to make it successful, reach out to Meridian HealthCare today.