There is ample evidence that corporate wellness programs offer many benefits to organizations. Which started as fitness programs entitled as employee benefits and perks, has now become an integral part of many workplaces.
Thanks to decades of solid research information, corporate wellness programs are now a part of most employee benefits packages. When done right, these employee wellness programs offer rewards and incentives, and other employee engagement strategies that support healthier employee behaviors.
Backed by an enormous amount of research evidence and reports, here are the top 5 wellness benefits offered by corporate wellness programs.
1. Employee Wellness Programs Improve Health Behaviors
One of the key objectives of any employee wellness program is to promote positive behavior change in the workforce. With the right planning, tools, and strategies, employees are motivated to adopt and maintain healthier habits that change their behavior and lifestyle. Following healthy habits reduce health risks, resulting in lower chronic disease risks, ultimately leading to lower healthcare costs.
Although employee wellness programs are known to reduce health disease risks and healthcare costs, it is not always the case. There have been cases where there was no significant ROI from the wellness programs, which has led to a debate about their effectiveness. The ineffectiveness could be due to improper planning, unsuitable tools & resources, lack of employee engagement, or using the wrong evaluation metrics.
On the contrary, many wellness studies have shown that well-planned employee wellness programs have been successful in helping employees to eat healthier, exercise more, manage their stress, smoke or drink less, and follow other healthy habits, consistently.
2. Wellness Programs Reduce Potential Health Risks
Studies show that most chronic health diseases are caused due to unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Hypertension, elevated blood glucose, and high cholesterol levels are mostly associated with unhealthy eating habits and lack of adequate physical activity. Studies show that following healthy diet plans and exercise routines for just six weeks can effectively reduce the risk of potential chronic diseases.
Corporate wellness programs motivate and guide employees to follow holistic wellness habits, which in the long run, improve their overall health and reduce elevated health risks like high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels. Although the impact of wellness programs on reducing obesity and its related risks is not very clear yet, it is still apparent that without the influence of corporate wellness programs, the risk of obesity would be more.
3. Corporate Wellbeing Programs Reduce Healthcare Costs
Studying the financial impact of wellbeing programs and their ROI is quite a tedious work, and it takes putting years of data together to understand the real impact. There are plenty of studies backed by health organizations like CDC and RAND Corporation that proves corporate wellbeing programs can reduce healthcare costs. Comprehensive wellness programs inculcate healthy habits in employees, that reflect in lower health risks and lesser healthcare costs. Companies find that the savings made by them upon participating in the well-designed wellbeing programs is more than what they spent to implement and run the program. An aggregate report of 22 studies showed that for every dollar spent towards the corporate wellbeing programs, the companies saved $3.27 in healthcare costs.
4. Better Employee Productivity
Studies show that presenteeism and lower productivity due to poor employee health costs companies at least 2 – 3 times higher healthcare costs than the direct care expenses. There are many reasons affecting employee productivity, like poor workplace culture, distractions at the workplace, low work-life balance, and poor health. Reports suggest that employees with healthier habits are less prone to presenteeism. For example, smokers were 28% likely to be less productive than non-smokers. Likewise, employees with unhealthy eating habits were 66% more likely to be less productive and have high presenteeism rates than those who ate healthily.
In short, unhealthy lifestyle habits were likely to have a substantial effect on employee productivity. Also, poor health conditions like high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood glucose, obesity, depression, heart diseases, and other issues boosted the odds of having high presenteeism. Wellness programs help employees in adopting and living a healthy lifestyle, which in turn, improves their productivity.
5. Reduce Absenteeism Rates
Many studies have reported the correlation between employee wellness and workplace absenteeism rates. It was also evident that corporate wellness programs reduced absenteeism rates as they improved workforce wellness behaviors. For instance, employees who were able to manage their stress had lower absenteeism. Similarly, employees who had lower chronic health diseases also had lower absenteeism. Simply put, employees who followed healthy behaviors and lifestyle had lower absenteeism rates. A Harvard study showed that for every dollar spent towards employee wellness programs, companies were able to save $2.73 and reduce absenteeism. Also, wellbeing programs boost employee engagement, confidence, and morale, resulting in their less absenteeism from the workplace.
There is enormous evidence supporting the fact that corporate wellness programs improve employee health, workplace culture, and organizational productivity. While it may not drive away all the problems, well-planned wellbeing programs can reduce the potential risks and concerns. It helps in maintaining healthy behaviors reflecting better employee wellness and performance, all resulting in better ROI.