Why Every Organisation Should Implement a Corporate Wellness Program
With working hours on the rise, it is becoming increasingly important to maintain a healthy work/life balance. In response to this demand, more and more organisations around the globe are beginning to introduce corporate wellness programs into their human resource management. These programs are designed to establish the balance that many employees are lacking. As we are all aware, employees are the most valuable assets to a company therefore supporting their health and wellbeing is crucial. Read on to find out why every organisation should be implementing these programs and how it can result in a number of key benefits.
What is a corporate wellness program?
The Houston Chronicle defines a corporate wellness program as ‘any program implemented by an employer to improve the health of its workforce’. This can include a number of components from hosting educational workshops on health and wellbeing, to providing discounted healthy food options or gym memberships. A wellness program can also include mental health whereby the employer may offer the services of a psychologist or mental health professional to all employees. A corporate wellness program aims to improve the knowledge of employees in regards to healthy practices, and in turn result in healthier and happier employees.
Reduce illness and injury
There are a number of key benefits of wellness programs within the workplace – the first of which is reducing the rate of illness and injury of employees. This is of benefit to every organisation as it will lead to a reduction in employee absenteeism. Those who have increased stress levels or who are overworked are at more risk of becoming sick. Stress can also be an important factor in the strength of one’s immune system. With a corporate wellness program in place, it is hopeful that employees engage in the activities and make healthy lifestyle choices. It is in the best interest of both the employee and the organisation to work collaboratively towards a healthy workplace culture; both parties will see a number of beneficial results.
The reality is, an employee who is both happy and healthy tends to produce a much greater volume of work than an unhealthy employee. With a healthy mind also comes a greater focus, which in turn leads to a higher quality of work. Someone who is in a positive frame of mind will be eager to come to work, and eager to achieve results. It is likely that productivity will also increase if employees recognise that their employer is investing in their health and wellbeing. Employees who feel valued in the workplace are more likely to have higher job satisfaction which leads to a productive work ethic.
Enhanced employee retention
With greater job satisfaction comes a greater commitment to the goals of the organisation. If employees are happy and healthy they will be more inclined to continue working hard for their employer. According to the ‘Principal Financial Wellbeing Index’ study discussed in Harvard Business Review, ‘45% of employees agree that an employer sponsored wellness program would encourage them to stay in their current job’. With the costs and time commitments involved in recruiting new staff, employers would be naive to overlook tactics that are proven to lower the rate of employee turnover.
Positive employee morale is a crucial component of job satisfaction within the working environment. If all employees are engaging in a wellness program together, it is likely that the dynamics around the workplace will change for the better. Healthier and happier individuals will collectively contribute to boosting team morale. An ideal situation for employers is a workforce comprising of optimistic and determined team members. In addition, a survey released by the Principal Financial Group highlights that more than half of the program participants indicated that wellness benefits encourage them to work harder, perform better and foster a positive working environment.
Significant return on investment (ROI)
In a study conducted by students at Harvard University it was argued that the implementation of workplace wellness programs can generate a range of savings for an organisation. The study suggested that ‘large employers adopting wellness programs see substantial positive returns, even within the first few years after adoption’. For example, in this particular analysis, medical costs fell $3.27 per dollar spent on the wellness programs, and absentee day costs fell by $2.73 for every dollar spent. With these lower costs and absentee rates comes significant ROI for employers in the form of lower replacement costs for absent workers. It is also important to note that there is also significant ROI in terms of the greater productivity of workers and greater staff retention rates.
What do you think?
Does your organisation have a corporate wellness program in place already? Do you find it to be of benefit to you? If not, what would you like to see implemented in your workplace? Please feel free to share your experiences below.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources have been used to prepare this article: The Houston Chronicle; Harvard Business Review and Harvard University.