At a time when the desire and expectation for employee benefits coverage are on the rise, it’s important for employers to find creative ways to make their employee benefits plans more cost effective. ...
When your business has a winning wellness program that your employees are engaged in and excited about, morale will be high and it can put you on the path to building a healthy, happier workforce. Subsequently, your organization will benefit from better attendance and improved employee retention—it’s a win-win!
Consider the following statistics on workplace wellness:
- 61% of employees agree that they have made healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program.
- Businesses with a highly engaged workforce saw a 17% increase in employee productivity and a 41% decrease in absenteeism.
- The vast majority (84%) of companies agree that wellness initiatives are "very important" or important" as an HR trend, but only 49% of companies report being "ready" or "very ready" to meet expectations.
- A recent industry study reported that 48% of employees weigh innovative company benefits and initiatives in their decision to find their next job.
- In an employee well-being study, only 24% of workers reported participating in wellness programs at their companies.
In this blog post, we’ll give you tips for encouraging wellness in your workplace, and outline strategies for building an effective communication strategy to maximize employee engagement and utilization of your wellness program.
1. Get Your Employees Moving
Exercise is vital to a healthy lifestyle, and it can lead to employees taking fewer sick days and being more productive. One way to encourage regular exercise is to partner with gyms or fitness facilities in your community to offer your employees free or discounted gym memberships. If this is out of your budget, consider coordinating monthly team outings to play some kind of organized sport or trail hike.
2. Create a Culture of Wellness by Proactively Educating Your Employees
Providing nutritional counseling and fostering a culture of health as part of your corporate wellness program encourages your employees to be fit and eat nutritious foods so that they will not only perform better and call in sick less but will be healthier people overall.
Arming your employees with the right information about nutrition and wellness means that they will be more equipped to avoid diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable illnesses.
3. Provide Preventative Services
Flu and cold season is a time of the year that can really impact business continuity if a few employees are down-and-out with an illness. Likewise, regular physicals and biometric screenings can go a long way in identifying potential health problems early on, so that employees can address them before they become problematic. By providing free or reduced flu shots or on-site annual physicals, you can help to reduce the impact of illnesses such as the flu and obesity-related conditions.
4. Support Your Employees’ Mental Health with an Employee Assistance Program
Each year, more than 40 million Americans experience mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides free and confidential assessments, counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees that experience personal and/or work-related problems.
According to the National Business Group on Health, “When EAP services were provided, work loss was avoided in 39% of cases, and work productivity improved in 36% of cases.”
An EAP is an additional tool you can have in your toolbox to keep your employees healthy in both body and mind. EAPs also help businesses address organizational components that may be contributing to a negative work environment, enabling them to resolve and prevent those types of issues from occurring.
Related Reading: Should You Offer an Employee Assistance Program?
5. Develop Communication Strategies to Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Wellness Program
Effective communication with your employee base can make the difference between a successful wellness program and one that falls flat. Unfortunately, companies often fail to communicate the value of their programs so that employees are aware of their benefits and options. Too often, companies limit their communication efforts to specific times of the year, like recruitment and onboarding, and fail to follow up with informational updates or changes to benefits plans, or useful information about wellness programs.
Your communication program should ensure that you keep your employees and their beneficiaries abreast of any changes that could impact their benefits, and explain confusing terms and features of the plans. It should also be tailored to your company and the people that make up your workforce. From employee demographics and geographic locations to internal resources and technology, taking the time to assess the factors that can influence your communication will help you develop an effective communication strategy.
A good place to start is by listening to your employees to determine how they prefer to be informed and then develop plans to leverage those preferred channels when creating communications.
For more tips on how to create an effective benefits communication strategy, check out these resources:
If you’re looking for a way to effectively communicate the features of your benefits plan, consider the tips and resources above. Or maybe, you’re in the market for an entirely new health insurance plan that could help you cut costs while offering your employees more robust coverage. Learn more about how to manage your employee benefits or request a consultation today.
Roxanne Leal has been with SWBC since December 2019. As a Wellness Program Manager, Roxanne specializes in developing strategic wellness programs based on high cost claims, survey data and aggregate reports. Roxanne Leal has worked in the health & wellness industry for over 7 years.