7 employer-based benefits of an employee wellness program

A smiling man in blue coveralls in a warehouse, working for an employer with an employee wellness program

Almost nine in ten large employers offer an employee wellness program according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Certainly, helping employees lose weight, quit smoking and create an overall healthier lifestyle offers them many benefits. But what benefits does it provide to the employer? Here are seven.

Improved attendance

Research has connected weight, diet and level of physical activity with absenteeism in the workplace. For instance, one study found that obesity increased absence rates by 72%. Conversely, those following a healthy diet had a 50% lower absenteeism rate and employees who got regular physical activity reduced their days off work by 36%.

Increased productivity

Healthier employees are also more productive employees. When someone feels good mentally and physically, they’re better able to give their all during the workday. They’re also less likely to be sidelined by fatigue because they have the health and stamina needed to complete their job duties. They may even be willing to do more because they feel so good.

Better workplace morale

There is a strong link between level of health and mood. The opposite is also true. Harvard reports that mental health issues affecting mood can contribute to health conditions such as heart disease, digestive troubles, and more. It’s hard to be happy and positive if you feel bad physically. Providing an employee wellness program enables companies to increase the health of workers, thus also improving their mood. This helps create a more positive workplace.

Lower healthcare costs

If you provide health insurance coverage for your employees, you already know that these costs can quickly add up. But when you also offer an employee wellness program, you can reduce these costs and lower the number of insurance claims according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – by as much as 25%. Higher levels of health can also help to reduce the cost of other types of insurances as well, such as life insurance.

More engaged workforce

Research conducted by Quantum Workplace reveals that as employee wellness increases, so too does employee engagement. It found that those with very low physical, emotional and financial wellness have a maximum level of engagement of 55%. Compare this to employees with very high levels of wellness in these areas, which have levels of engagement between 94% and 95%. Engaged employees are better able to focus on their work, as well as being more likely to step up and contribute to the workplace as a whole.

Helps retain current talent

While rate of pay, adequate time off and insurance-based benefits can help you keep your top employees, offering an employee wellness program can also make them want to stay. This is partly because offering this type of program tells your staff that you care enough about them to help them increase their health and overcome their biggest obstacles related to living a healthy lifestyle. It also enables them to invest in their own quality of life without having to find and secure these programs on their own.

Attracts new talent

Not only can providing an employee wellness program help you hold on to your most talented employees, but it can also serve as an attractant to potential applicants. If a job candidate is on the fence between your company and another company that offers similar pay and other benefits, your employee wellness program may be the deciding factor.

In the end, an employee wellness program provides the opportunity to invest in your staff in a way that is mutually beneficial. Healthier employees lead to a healthier, more productive workplace. In this case, everyone wins.

Want more strategies to help with employee retention? Check out our content library here. 

About the Author

Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.

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