In the last few years, employee wellness programs have become increasingly popular. Companies are finding that spending extra money to help their employees achieve their goals and live better lives is actually an investment.
It seems counter-intuitive, but spending money can actually save you money in the long run. Additionally, if you spend on the right things, you can boost productivity. You end up with happier, more invested employees, and that can go a long way toward helping you in the long run.
Over time, the increases in productivity and the savings in some areas of your company can result in a return on investment that more than matches your initial outlay for employee wellness programs.
1. Physical Health Employee Programs
Several years ago, I remember my father coming home with a step counter from his work. This was well before the days of wearables. However, his company was instituting a physical health program and everyone got a step counter.
Employee wellness programs focusing on physical health have come a long way from issuing step counters. Many companies are issuing wearables. In fact, the company I work for, Student Loan Hero, sends each employee a FitBit to help them set goals and monitor progress.
Some companies that use these tools offer prizes to winners. So far, we have had two different step challenges since receiving our FitBits. But you don’t have to limit your company to step challenges. There are companies that encourage more sleep at night or encourage greater water intake to replace drinking soda.
Prizes offered to winners can range from merchandise to gift cards to cash.
Also, consider a wellness stipend that can be used for gym memberships, therapeutic massage, and other items that can enhance your employees’ health.
Saving money on health care costs
While there are costs associated with handing out fitness wearables and giving prizes to employees for completing challenges, it can actually be a net gain for companies.
According to Entrepreneur, companies that integrate wearables into their employee wellness programs have lower health care costs.
It makes sense when you think about it. After all, if your employees are encouraged to exercise, eat right, and sleep well, they will be healthier and happier. That means fewer claims against your company insurance plan.
Not only that, but sending biometric data to insurance companies that offer discounts can reduce health care costs as well. There are privacy issues involved, so you need to be careful. However, if you can partner with a benefits provider you might be able to see some savings from implementing your program.
With these physical wellness programs helping employees feel better and sleep better, they are also more likely to be productive. This improves your bottom line and helps employees feel valued, reducing turnover and its related costs.
2. Mental Health Wellness Programs
Physical wellness programs can go a long way toward helping your employees. However, you don’t want to neglect mental health.
Depression, anxiety, stress, and other issues can sap your employees and reduce productivity. On top of that, morale can suffer when employees don’t have access to mental health wellness programs.
You can reduce illness leave, disability costs, and absenteeism, as well as attract strong talent, when you have a robust mental health wellness program, according to Employee Benefit News. This saves you money in the long run by reducing turnover and helping your employees become more productive.
Provide access to counseling and other tools that can help struggling employees. This includes relationship counseling as well as other types of mental and emotional health counseling. While we often make a distinction between work life and personal life, the reality is that what happens at home can affect your employees’ performances at work. Getting that help for them can be a net gain for you in the long run.
You might be surprised to learn how many employees could benefit from help with this type of program. Make it a point to offer services they can access easily, confidentially, and free of charge to them. You’ll end up with a more fulfilled workforce.
3. Financial Wellness Programs
Most Americans are stressed about money. Being concerned about finances can weigh on your employees and make them less effective.
In fact, according to a 2015 poll, about 36% of Americans miss work because of financial concerns. That means your workers’ productivity is being impacted by financial woes. Money is a major source of stress for many Americans — and it has been for several years now.
Money worries tie into mental health, emotional health, relationships, and even physical health. Finances can keep your employees up at night and distract them at work. When your employees can’t focus on their jobs because of their money-related stress, that can be a huge problem. You lose out in terms of productivity and in other ways.
Creating a financial wellness program can help your employees work through their issues and get on the right track. Ultimately, that can help your business.
Consider offering financial wellness programs that allow your employees access to financial planners who can help them map out their goals. It’s even possible to include debt counseling help in your plan. This is a major concern for many Americans, and being able to help your employees get help putting together a debt repayment plan can ease their fears. You can also provide access to financial software, like YNAB, that might come with a fee.
Financial wellness benefits
Employee wellness programs that include financial health go beyond benefits like a 401(k) plan. An increasing number of companies are starting to offer student loan repayment assistance as a benefit. Other companies offer pet insurance for their employees stressed about providing care for their fur babies.
The reality is that many employees are looking for benefits that can help them with their specific financial issues. When you add financial wellness benefits to the mix, you can help your employees get a handle on the situation.
Once your employees feel more comfortable about their finances, they will be better able to focus at work, providing you with better outcomes.
Bottom Line: Employee Wellness Programs Help Your Business
Don’t neglect employee wellness programs. Gone are the days when workers were seen as disposable. Instead, if you want to succeed as a modern business, you need to recognize the value of a happy, healthy employee.
Human capital is every bit as important as financial capital. Consider how much time and money go into training employees. Turnover means you have to go through the process regularly, and that can be costly and time-consuming. On top of that, you end up in a situation where you miss out on productivity as you look for a suitable replacement — then have to deal with the learning curve.
Instead, if you can attract top employees and keep them happy with a comprehensive employee wellness program, you can save a lot of time and money. You can also see an increase in productivity.
Workers like to feel as though they are valued by their employers. The right wellness programs can help your workers feel as though you care. They will be more likely to stick around, feel a stake in the success of your company, and work hard to ensure that you succeed in the long run.