4 facts employers should know about wellness programs

If your company is thinking about starting a wellness program, here are four important facts that may influence the decision.

The importance of different employee incentives fluctuates depending on the priorities of job seekers. With more research revealing how sedentary lifestyles impacts workers' overall health, it should come as no surprise that more job seekers are interested in corporate wellness programs.

If your company is thinking about starting a wellness program, here are four important facts that may influence the decision.

"As of 2014, 60% of companies offer wellness programs."

1. Wellness programs are a growing trend
The number of companies offering health programs has been steadily increasing over the past several years. The 2014 National Study of Employers showed that 60 percent of businesses had a wellness program, up from around 50 percent in 2008.

As more businesses capitalize on this trend, many job seekers may start considering wellness incentives when reviewing job offers. This could give companies with beneficial health programs an upper hand when it comes to attracting top talent - according to Humana, 90 percent of workers consider a company's wellness program when evaluating job offers.

2. Effective programs benefit employers
Some employers may be hesitant to implement wellness incentives because of the funds needed to get a program off the ground. However, studies have shown that effective wellness programs can be equally beneficial to companies as they are to workers.

While results will vary between companies, research has demonstrated that around 80 percent of companies experience positive benefits after implementing wellness incentives. These perks can include reduced absenteeism, lower medical costs and fewer workers compensation claims. One study from Harvard Business Review found a $6 return-on-investment per $1 spent on a wellness program.

Corporate exercise groups aid social and physical health.

3. Workers want comprehensive options
While smoking cessation programs and health screenings are two great wellness incentives, employees often want more options when it comes to corporate health programs. Businesses need to fully consider the needs of their workers and offer incentives pertaining to emotional and social health.

Here are a few wellness options that employers may want to consider:

  • Start a corporate walking club to boost social and physical health.
  • Host financial planning seminars to help eliminate employee stress.
  • Consider telecommuting options, which will allow workers to spend more time with their families.
  • Plan company events to celebrate the accomplishments of certain teams or employees.
  • Hold a company-wide competition to see which team can take the most steps in a week.
  • Hold weight loss meetings in the office.
  • Offer grief counseling to workers who may have lost a family member or are going through another hardship.

When employees feel as though they are being supported, they are more likely to have higher morale and increased productivity.

"Without employee engagement, wellness programs may fall flat."

4. Engagement is key to a successful program
As with any employee program, it's not enough for employers to simply create wellness incentives and expect employees to take advantage of them. To get a wellness program off the ground, businesses need to promote the activities and get key players on board with the cause. Managers and executives should lead the charge and work to get their employees engaged with the program.

"It's really got to be a continued effort," Garry Lindsay, author of the Workplace Health Prevention Survey, explained to Inc. magazine. "You have got to make an investment; it's not going to be just handing out pamphlets. It's going to be something that is integrated in [your] business."

It's also essential that managers set a good example when it comes to corporate wellness. If a supervisor is telling his hires to join the wellness program, but he smokes regularly, the suggestion may seem hypocritical and undermine the effectiveness of the program. For this reason, employers need to make sure they have the support of key personnel before launching any wellness incentives.

This content brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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