Workplace Wellness Programs Go Beyond The Bottom Line
Updated: May 7, 2019
If the company you work for is implementing workplace wellness to reduce their bottom line, we’ve got some bad news: they probably don’t care about your wellness.
At the dawn of the digital age, there was a lot of discussion about how companies operate. The value of certain assets -- like brick and mortar locations -- came into question. Everything from the design of the building to company roles was reinterpreted.
Today, there is a new normal when it comes to the workplace and what employees can expect from a company.
Many companies now offer workplace wellness programs along with or as part of their overall healthcare package. The goal, ideally, is to create a healthier workforce and, in turn, reduce healthcare costs for the company over time. Healthier employees and lower costs - a win-win scenario for both parties.
Unfortunately, much like open floor plans, the implementation of the idea hasn’t quite worked as desired. Recent studies of workplace wellness programs show they haven’t been effective at reducing healthcare costs.
A 2019 Journal of American Medical Association study produced one headline-grabbing conclusion: wellness programs didn’t lead to lower healthcare costs.
However, the study also concludes that employees did experience positive behavior change and greater nutritional awareness. To me, that speaks to the heart of why workplace wellness programs should be offered to employees in the first place. The fact that you can make a positive impact on someone’s life who puts in 40+ hours a week for your business is what being a leader is all about. Of course, you have to be mindful of budget, but many other studies prove that employees value wellness and well-being programs and remain more loyal to their employers as when they are prioritized. Workplace wellness programs are a chance to show your employees that you care about them holistically and build community within the organization. For those who participate, the action and sense of belonging is a great positive.
In fact, the studies bear this out. Workplace wellness helps to retain employees for longer, and 87% of job applicants consider wellness programs as part of their search.
Additionally, 85% of companies say employee wellness programs increase engagement at work. Happier, more engaged employees = more productive employees. So, in a sense, wellness programs still impact your bottom line.
It’s easy to calculate investment in workplace wellness and your overall healthcare costs. It’s much more difficult to calculate the cost of missed opportunities, training new employees, or losing out on great hires. And that’s the whole point. Workplace wellness is only a failure if the accounting is conducted in a certain manner. When you focus on the human factors involved, it’s a no brainer.
At TouchCare, some of our most successful client relationships are those where we’re able to integrate into their wellness strategy.
As an engagement tool, we streamline things for the member to better deliver on our common goal - happier, healthier employees and lower costs. Given how popular these programs are with employees, we think it would be a big mistake for companies to get rid of them, lest they end up joining the brick and mortar stores who didn’t make the necessary changes for the next generation.