As a business owner, one of your most valuable assets is your employees. It's a commonly known fact that healthier employees can affect productivity, but a major indirect cost to consider is the healthcare costs associated with unhealthy employees. According to the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), the majority of health care costs are aimed at treating conditions that are preventable. Depending on the health of your employee population, this can increase costs for both you and your workers. Targeting and helping to prevent medical conditions among your workforce can significantly reduce health care costs.
As with any business initiative, the key factor in developing a wellness program is attaining a return on investment (ROI). If your program is successful, your employees will be healthier and will have fewer medical claims. If your health plan is self-funded, dollars saved from your wellness program can improve your bottom line. If self-funding is not an option for your organization, your benefits consultant should work as your advocate and inform your insurance company of your wellness efforts in an attempt to negotiate a lower premium.
In addition to rising health care costs, absenteeism and presenteeism also affect employer profits. Employees are generally physically absent from work due to stress, illness, family obligations, or personal issues. Presenteeism refers to employees who show up to work but cannot fully focus on their tasks due to a number of causes. Wellness programs can help address these issues by helping to lower stress, prevent illness, and increase employee productivity.
How to Yield the Best Return on Your Wellness Program Investment
Here are five strategies that you can implement to increase the ROI of your wellness programs.
1. Use Your Insurance Plan to its Fullest
Your insurance plan is required to provide free preventive care benefits for plan participants. These benefits have no out-of-pocket cost for your employees and can help catch conditions early and prevent future claims.
2. Create a Targeted Plan
Identify the biggest problem areas among your employees. Are some employees struggling with obesity? Do you have many smokers? Choose the areas with the highest prevalence to create your initial wellness
3. Make Workplace Modifications and New Policies
Implement changes in your workplace to promote healthy living, such as a “Take the Stairs” program, offering healthier vending machine choices, or starting a walking group during lunch. If you plan annual company outings, consider adding a fitness component, such as a 5K run or company softball game.
4. Utilize Community Resources
Nonprofit organizations, your county health department, the chamber of commerce, local health care providers, and your city government can be great resources for information. Leverage existing information and resources to pass along to your employees.
5. Communicate Benefits to Your Employees
Instead of emphasizing how your wellness initiatives will benefit the organization, highlight the benefits for your employees. Send out positive messages such as “You will feel better,” or “You’ll have more energy.”
Whatever your needs, SWBC’s Employee Benefits Consulting Group can provide consulting services to help you design and maintain a plan that meets the requirements of your organization. We will provide the analytical support, develop custom communication materials, and assess the benefit to your company.