When it comes to enticing and retaining employees, perks can be pivotal. And across industries, wellness programs are among the most common types of perks there are. It’s easy to see why benefits packages that include incentives to exercise and prioritize employee health have major advantages for the workers that take advantage of them. But what’s in it for employers? While it can be tough to measure the direct impact of health and wellness programs on bottom-line items like ROI, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that fostering employee well-being through the implementation of such initiatives is well worth it for employers.
After all, the success of a company is largely dependent upon the dedication of the people that work there. Whether an employer is looking to decrease spending on employee healthcare, increase the morale of their team, or simply reap the benefits of a team that has extra energy and focus, there are lots of ways a health and wellness program can contribute to achieving those goals. Here are just a few:
Decrease Employee Absenteeism
According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com, 61 percent of employees say they suffer from burnout. It’s no secret that stress and burnout go hand in hand, but it’s worth it to understand how stress manifests physically and how those physical symptoms result in missed work. The most common stress-related reason employees give for calling out is a feeling of constant fatigue, with 29 percent of those survey respondents saying they experienced the symptom, followed by sleeplessness and aches and pains at 26 and 24 percent respectively.
Exercise has a demonstrated positive effect on decreasing stress and fostering both emotional and physical well-being.
According to the publishing body of Harvard’s Medical School, regular exercise has a proven neurochemical impact on an individual’s health by reducing the stress hormone cortisol and increasing endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers.
On this basis alone, exercise can be extremely effective in managing the physical symptoms of chronic stress and burnout. By taking a moment to evaluate the factors that lead to employee burnout and adding a physical outlet for employees to take advantage of, employers can forge a path to fewer work days missed and more deadlines reached.
Boost Morale and Increase Productivity
Here’s one extremely tangible benefit of implementing a wellness program for employees to take advantage of: a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine compared employees who participated in employer-sponsored wellness programs with those that didn’t. What they found was an increase in productive time for employees that did, to the tune of ten additional hours worked per employee per year.
The cognitive benefits to exercise and overall health are also well-known. Better memory recall, clearer focus, and resilience in times of stress are all linked to regular exercise and a healthy diet. It isn’t hard to see these benefits can directly facilitate a more productive workplace. What’s more, a study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that when workplace wellness programs had significant support from leadership, employee well-being skyrocketed. In these situations, 89 percent of workers said they were more likely to recommend their workplace to potential job-seekers, and it made them less likely to consider seeking employment somewhere else: only 25 percent said they were considering looking for a different job in the next year compared to 51 percent of employees who said they were — and did not have leadership-supported wellness plans.
Reign in Overall Healthcare Costs
A study conducted by Johnson & Johnson found that when there’s consistent, prolonged participation in employee wellness programs, employers can expect as much as $2-4 in savings per every $1 spent. Simply put, employees who are empowered to participate in whole-health programs are managing their own preventative healthcare by default. This means less money lost to rising insurance costs and vanishing productivity dollars due to prolonged illness or inpatient care.
Employers don’t need to wait, however, to see the benefits of a wellness program that hasn’t had a chance to mature. While studies show that well fleshed-out programs can save employers an average of $176 per employee per year on healthcare costs, brand new programs can yield as much as double that in the first year before leveling out — a sure sign that employees are eager to take advantage of programs like these and will utilize them if you put them in place.
Health, wellness, and fitness programs can look like a lot of things: healthier menu choices in the cafeteria, a walkable campus, readily available educational resources and annual fitness challenges for charity or bragging rights are just a few. Whatever you choose to implement, be sure to lead by example and provide encouragement through the actions of leadership and managerial teams: programs with robust support from higher-ups are more likely to succeed!
How we prioritize wellness at Personiv
Personiv is big on employee engagement, especially when it comes to physical fitness. Follow our social channels to keep up with our Run Proud competition going on now across our global locations in which team members compete for top spots (and bragging points) while running or biking anywhere from 160-300KM.