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It’s 2023 And You Still Do Not Have A Wellness Program?

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As workplace leaders, it’s up to you to promote the health, happiness and productivity of your employees. Healthier employees are happier, and happy employees are more productive.

More and more employees are turning to their employers to provide wellness and lifestyle benefits such as stress management and counseling, nutrition programs and virtual fitness memberships.

Many employers understand the growing importance of wellness in the workplace, and are recognizing wellness is more than just physical health. That’s why in 2021, employers invested the most $ in mental health (88%), stress management/resilience (81%) and mindfulness and meditation programs (69%).

And for good reason.

Why do you need a wellness program?

Not only do employee wellness programs help tackle stress and improve physical and mental health, but they can affect business success as a whole by reducing turnover, healthcare costs, absenteeism and increasing productivity.

It’s a win-win!

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes that wellness programs promote employee engagement and allow workers to reach their full potential.

A survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that of employers who implemented wellness programs:

  • More than half found a decrease in absenteeism
  • 63% experienced financial sustainability and growth in the organization
  • 66% saw increased productivity
  • 67% said employees were more satisfied

North American companies with the most effective wellness programs experienced some nice cost reductions and financial gains including:

  • 18% higher revenue per employee
  • 1.8 fewer days absent per employee per year
  • 28% higher shareholder returns

A meta-analysis showed that for every $1.00 spent on wellness programs:

  • Medical costs fall by about $3.27
  • Absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73.

If you’re looking to have a happier, healthier, more productive workplace, you’ve come to the right place! You’ll learn how a wellness program in the workplace can benefit employees and employers, how to ensure it’s successful and much more!

What is a wellness program?

A wellness program is any program or activity in the workplace designed to promote the physical, mental and behavioral health of employees by creating an organizational health and wellness culture.

Wellness programs can be anything from providing information on healthy eating to monthly workshops on different wellness topics, and may include activities like:

  • Stress management or resiliency education
  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Exercise and fitness programs
  • Weight control
  • Nutrition education
  • Health and wellness assessments

What makes a wellness program successful?

According to the American Psychological Association, the best wellness programs share 5 key components:

  1. Employee Involvement. Involving employees in the decision making process empowers them and gives them increased job autonomy.

Involve employees in meaningful ways through self-managed work teams, employee committees, continuous improvement teams, participative decision making and employee suggestion forums.

  1. Work-Life Balance. Lots of companies talk about work-life balance, but few actually achieve it for their employees. Successful programs acknowledge that employees have responsibilities and lives outside of work and help them better manage these multiple demands.

You can facilitate work-life balance through flexible work arrangements (flextime or working remotely), assistance with childcare and eldercare, personal finance management resources, benefits for family members and domestic partners and flexible leave options.

  1. Employee Growth and Development. It’s no surprise employees are more satisfied when they can expand their knowledge, skills and abilities. In turn, they’re more likely to be engaged and stay with a company that allows them to advance their careers.

Strive to support growth and career development by providing opportunities like continuing education courses, tuition reimbursement, career development or counseling services, skills training provided in-house or through outside training centers, opportunities for promotion and internal career advancement and coaching, mentoring and leadership development programs.

  1. Health and Safety. Good wellness programs help employees improve their physical and mental health with the prevention, assessment and treatment of health problems.

Health and safety efforts include a wide variety of workplace practices such as: training and safeguards that address workplace safety, efforts to help employees develop a healthy lifestyle and behavior choices (stress management, weight loss and smoking cessation programs), adequate health insurance (including mental health coverage), health screenings, access to health and fitness facilities and resources to help employees address personal issues (grief counseling, for example), Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and referrals for mental health services.

  1. Employee Recognition. You want your employees to feel seen and valued. Recognizing them for their hard work goes a long way! This can be big or small, formal or informal, and monetary or non-monetary.

Recognize and reward your employees with monetary compensation, competitive benefits packages, acknowledgement of contributions and milestones, performance-based bonuses and pay increases, employee awards and recognition ceremonies.

One key thing to keep in mind is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to creating a wellness program. They work best when they’re tailored to the needs of employees and the unique challenges of each organization, and when they are able to adapt based on employee engagement, input and feedback.

Benefits of wellness in the workplace

When done right, wellness programs can introduce a number of benefits for both your employees and your company.

Benefits for Employees:

  • Better physical and mental health
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Higher morale
  • Enhanced motivation
  • Reduced stress

Benefits for Companies:

  • Lower healthcare costs
  • Improved quality, performance and productivity
  • Reduced absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover
  • Fewer accidents and injuries
  • Improved customer service and satisfaction
  • Enhanced corporate image
  • Better able to attract and retain high-quality employees

Wellness programs give you a competitive edge

Employee well-being benefits are now one of the most important criteria for employees when applying for or accepting a new job.

In fact, more than 6 in 10 employees say well-being support programs are a top priority for them when looking for jobs.

With a healthy workplace environment more valuable than ever to employees, top points go to companies with a positive wellness culture. Meeting employee expectations for supporting their well-being is essential for employers to be able to compete for top talent and become an employer of choice.

Not only does having an established wellness program improve employee recruitment and retention, but it also increases productivity and motivation.

No wonder companies who prioritize wellness for employees outperform the rest by 10%!

Wellness program examples:

  • Asana has yoga programs, free gym memberships, executive coaching and monthly workshops with different health-themed topics. Even better? There’s designated nap rooms for employees to de-stress, recharge and catch some zzz’s in between work.
  • Google offers onsite healthcare services, as well as access to fitness centers, classes, and community bikes.
  • Microsoft encourages physical activity with gym memberships, fitness equipment and activity purchases, Zumba classes and more. Education and resources are available for smoking cessation, weight management and fitness training. There’s also health-care services, health screening events, stress management and free personal and family counseling services.
  • Bank of Canada’s workplace has on-site fitness facilities with instructor-led classes. Their wellness center includes a quiet lounge, a wellness library, rooms for meditation or stretching, a private space for nursing mothers, light therapy lamps and blood pressure monitors.
  • KPMG LLP’s wellness program includes a pool of funds that employees can use however they decide – whether for premium benefit coverage, retirement savings, boot camps or a relaxing retreat.

Fun fact: Microsoft and KPMG have worked with Twello to provide corporate wellness classes – an easy way to bring wellness to the workplace!

How can you implement a wellness program?

A well-designed, comprehensive wellness program is going to keep your team happy and boost productivity and performance.

But the key word here is “well-designed.”

If your current wellness initiatives are stocking the break room with granola bars or hosting the occasional happy hour on Zoom and calling it a day…you might want to re-think your approach.

Not sure where to start? Browse our comprehensive wellness catolog which includes a variety of expert-led classes on mindfulness, meditation, fitness, nutrition, yoga and more!

Classes we recommend:

  • Mindfulness 101 – the perfect introduction to wellness for you and your team!
  • Our Sampler Pack is a great way to get a taste of all our favorite wellness classes.
  • The Manager’s Pack, Mindful Leader Pack and Leadership Pack workshops are specifically designed for employers looking for ways to incorporate wellness in the workplace.

That’s what we’re here for!