Benefits and Compensation

Why Provide an Employee Wellness Program?

Does your organization offer an employee wellness program? More and more employers are opting to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits to see why:

  • Employee wellness programs can improve overall employee health levels, thus reducing the number of employee absences due to illness. By simply increasing the amount of exercise any given employee gets, this can have a positive impact on health and reduce absences. This is a direct cost savings for the employer because it reduces the amount of productivity lost from days away from work. It also reduces the administration associated with tracking absences.
  • Even for employers that have a PTO bank (rather than sick days), a reduction in employee illnesses can be a benefit—even without a reduction in days away from work. This is because employees will have more of an opportunity to rest and recharge if they’re able to take more of their PTO as vacation rather than as sick days.
  • While at work, healthier employees can be more productive. This is derived from improved energy levels and less stress.
  • There is also a reduction in “presenteeism” when employee health levels improve. Presenteeism is the phenomenon in which employees are at work, but not as productive as they could be because they’re not feeling well—but not feeling sick enough to take a day off, or don’t have days off to take. Better health levels reduce this phenomenon.
  • Healthier employees may be less likely to get injured or ill at work. This drives down illness and injury rates, which in turn can reduce workers’ compensation insurance claims.
  • A wellness program can have a positive effect on employee morale. It shows the employees you’re investing in their well-being.
  • A wellness program is a benefit that can be touted during recruitment, serving to assist with recruitment and retention.
  • Helping employees to improve their wellness levels can lead to increased confidence and satisfaction. This can also lead to improved employee retention.
  • Employees who are healthy are better equipped to deal with everyday stresses. This can translate to happier, more productive employees and fewer conflicts.
  • Healthier employees are less likely to have high medical costs, which could reduce the cost of the health insurance premiums (and/or the deductibles and total costs) provided by the employer. This can translate into a better or more affordable healthcare plan for all employees.
  • Wellness programs can be customized to best suit an employer’s needs while staying within the implementation budget.
  • Depending on what specific components are included in the wellness program, it can be a way to foster better relationships among employees by encouraging teamwork and allowing the employees time for fun activities with their coworkers.

Due to the overall outcome of improving employee health, reducing stress, and increasing productivity—all while reducing costs—employee wellness programs are usually seen as having a good return on investment if implemented well. Bear in mind, however, that it will take some time for all of these results to come to fruition.

If this is something you’re considering, remember that wellness programs must meet the requirements set forth under the Affordable Care Act. Get assistance to set it up if you’re unsure of the legal needs to be in compliance.

*This article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel with specific questions.