Most people spend a majority of their waking hours at work, making their workplace a prime venue for building healthy habits. As an employer, it behooves you to build wellness into your company culture for a number of reasons.
Wellness Makes Good Business Sense
More than 200 scientific studies have illustrated the positive ROI from work site wellness programs.
- According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at work sites with physical activity programs, healthcare costs decreased by 20 to 55 percent; short-term sick leave was lessened by 6 to 32 percent, and productivity grew by 2 to 52 percent.
- Findings from 56 studies published in the American Journal of Health Promotion showed an average 27 percent drop in sick leave absenteeism, a 26 percent decline in healthcare expenses, and a 32 percent improvement in workers’ compensation and disability management costs at companies with wellness programs.
Broken down into dollars and cents:
- The Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan recently noted that an organization saves an estimated $350 per year on each low-risk employee who stays low risk for costly health issues, and $153 per year on each high-risk worker whose healthcare risks are lessened.
- The ROI on implementing a company wellness program equates to about $5.80 for every $1 spent.
How to Get Started
Regardless of your budget, an employee wellness program is well within your reach. And remember, in the long run, it will boost your company’s bottom line. Get started on your way to work site wellness by:
- Assessing your needs: The most common tool to determine where a program is most needed is a Health Risk Appraisal (HRA). This questionnaire reviews personal lifestyle practices such as smoking, seat belt use, dietary habits and exercise. It also identifies related risk factors. An HRA will give you an idea of which needs your wellness program should address. Another option is to conduct an employee interest survey.
- Designing the program that works for you: What your program looks like will be based on the results of your initial assessment. For example, one company in California created a “health points” program at almost no cost. Cross-departmental teams earned points over a 12-week period by doing certain healthy things, like drinking more water every day or going for a walk on their lunch break. Employees not only achieved their personal goals, but 75 percent of them had maintained their healthy habits when they were polled six and again 12 months later.
- Evaluating your program: It can be challenging to nail down a rate of return on better employee health. However, you can use such factors as absenteeism rates, productivity metrics and surveys about morale to help quantify the effectiveness of your wellness program. Or, just ask your employees: Are they happy with the program? Do they feel it has helped them? What changes or improvements would they like to see?
The workforce development experts at StaffMasters offer a full spectrum of wellness, safety and employee relations solutions to help you build and maintain an industry-leading workforce. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.