All you need to know on employee wellness programs

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First of all, let’s talk numbers –money and health wise. Corporate wellbeing or employee wellness programs typically generate a 300% return on investment, as shown in a Study funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The financial gains are generally attributed to the immediate lowering of the medical cost of employee’s unhealthy lifestyles and its positive effects on their productivity. Over 40% of employers that have installed employee wellness programs state that they effectively reduced overall health care costs in their organization. Subsequently, corporate wellbeing is now widely seen as a cost effective tool to combat ever growing health care costs, as research of the Kaiser Family Foundation shows.

It is in fact so effective, that health insurance companies are now implementing those programs in their coverage –a clear sign that it’s a cost reducing measure. This is the primordial reason for smaller companies to jump on the employee wellness bandwagon, as their budget is usually rather tight. So, before you determine that corporate wellbeing isn’t affordable for your enterprise, you might want to check on your coverage.

How effective is an employee wellness plan? A tricky question, seeing as such a plan requires a lot of expertise and being tailor-made for your company. In general though, companies with over 200 employees indicate that it improves wellness (81%) and reduces costs (69%). Smaller companies see smaller effects, but they’re still positive nonetheless, with 57% stating that their programs have improved corporate wellness and 42% saying that they’ve reduced their costs.

Quite a few companies that have installed these programs have measured their effects on the growth trend of their healthcare spending. In a Buck Consultants Survey, 61% of the companies indicated that the reduction in that trend due to their programs, amounts to 5% annually.

For your employees, the results are obvious. Most wellness programs focus either on exercise, mental health, smoking cessation or a healthy diet, which means that participating employees end up having a healthier and more enjoyable life, especially in the long run.

When picking a program, there’s only one thing that should be on your mind, in order for it to be effective: your employees. Or, as Alan Kohll puts it in his article on Forbes, “Ultimately, your employees should be the focus of your wellness program—end of story.

In that same article, Kohll gives plenty of valid reasons as to why you should at least be thinking of installing a corporate wellbeing program.

He explains that they’re surprisingly easy to implement, as they can be managed by a Committee or given to an HR representative with similar duties. He then addresses the (false) idea of wellness programs being only rewarding towards already healthy people. In reality, corporate wellbeing programs typically are very inclusive, meaning that they are beneficial to everyone that participates. Moreover, unhealthy participants often find their healthy colleagues to be great sources of inspiration and support.

Another advantage of corporate wellbeing programs, is that they can –and should be- highly adapted to your organization and its specific needs and employees.  A program focusing on a healthy diet for instance, should ideally incorporate the meals your cafeteria offers, in order for it to be able to achieve its maximum effects.

Seeing as how beneficial these programs are, it’s no wonder they’re in great demand. Last year, 80% of employers offered corporate wellbeing programs to their employees. Larger companies are even more convinced of its successes, with 92% of all companies admitting they’ve organized such programs in the past year. Even U.S. president Barack Obama is convinced of its effects and consequently installed new labor laws to promote them. With our motto“happy people, productive employees”, it’s obvious that Hercules Academy  underwrites this credo. We’re more than glad to help you out.

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