Large corporations were the first to start Wellness programs for employees by considering it as employee perks in addition to the traditional welfare offerings in the form of healthcare plans, retirement benefits or pension plans, maternity leave, paid time off, etc. The employee welfare package helped organizations recruit and retain qualified employees. Except for wellness programs, there have not been any studies carried out to ascertain the measurable effect of the welfare measures in facilitating recruitment or retention of workers. Indeed, it is hard to study these things, but we have a feeling or sense that these do help to attract good workers, although there is no scientific data to support it. On the contrary, there have been numerous studies on wellness programs, and there are hundreds of dependable scientific evaluations of the effects of wellness programs.

Jonah Engler points out that people now widely accept the fact that a culture of wellness in organizations is now a part of employee perks, which thrives on the practice of wellness programs at the workplace.  Wellness programs are now more popular than ever before. As you keep reading this article, you will come to know the reasons for such a full acceptance of the culture of wellness among organizations.

Improves employee health behaviors as experienced by Jonah Engler

Wellness programs focus on various aspects of employee wellness and have one thing in common in that it results in behavior change. With the right skills, education, motivation, tools, and social support, people change their behavior and wellness programs aimed at helping people practice healthy behavior, which is one of the most prominent benefits of such programs.  Employees like to have a healthy workforce that reduces health risks and prevents chronic diseases, which in turn reduces the healthcare costs of employers. However, all wellness programs might not be effective in the same way unless these are well-organized with professional guidance from experts that follow effective behavior change models capable of producing the best results.

Initiating healthy behaviors like eating healthy and exercising regularly that lasts for a few weeks might seem important, but more important is to maintain it for years. It is possible by inculcating a culture of wellness that becomes a way of life for everyone.

Increased productivity

Productivity depends on the availability of the workforce, but if the workforce suffers from poor health, it leads to increased absenteeism that affects the output and brings down productivity. Moreover, when employees are unhealthy, their output at the workplace decreases as they are unable to perform like a healthy individual as they feel exhausted and stressed. An article published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine based on a study showed that participating in wellness programs has positive health benefits that lead to better health of employees and improves attendance, which in turn increases productivity. A healthy workforce will remain motivated to perform at their best and improve productivity. At the same time, employers spend less on healthcare costs and generate savings. 

Reduced healthcare costs

Numerous studies have looked at the financial impact of wellness programs to evaluate its benefit for the organizations. How effective a wellness program determines its ability to reduce healthcare costs. To make the needle of healthcare costs move in a positive direction, is it necessary to ensure much more than learning about nutrition and having an occasional healthy lunch or just doing a biometric screening of employees. Organizations must implement comprehensive wellness programs at the workplace that improves employee behavior and then only should be able to the reduction in healthcare costs.   Since more than a hundred studies have all showed a positive return on investment, there is nothing to doubt about the effectiveness of wellness programs in reducing healthcare costs.

Reduced absenteeism

There is a direct relationship between employee wellness and absenteeism, and there are several papers published that establishes the link. Organizations that practice wellness programs for employees can experience lower absenteeism for several reasons.  The first reason is that people who practice healthy behaviors will turn up regularly in the workplace. Employees who are in good health can keep stress under control and be less absent. Similarly, employees with healthy medical parameters like blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and are not obese or overweight are more regular in attending work. Reduced absenteeism has a double benefit for organizations as it results in increased productivity and lower healthcare costs.

Better employee recruitment and retention

There is no scientific data available to show the impact of wellness programs in recruiting and retaining employees. Yet, the major tech companies keep offering a bouquet of wellness to its employees that include onsite health clinics, free gym membership, and health insurance for self and family, which are part of the benefit plans for employee welfare. Since the benefits are part of the overall package offered to employees, it becomes clear that the wellness package is a bait to attract employees and new recruits and retain them. However, there is no data available to show how much importance employees attach to wellness when deciding to take up a job offer.

High employee morale

There is enough evidence available that wellness programs build positivity among employees as they develop good habits that lead to good health by keeping stress under control. There is improved engagement and communication among employees as they feel valued and appreciated, which gradually spreads the spirit of wellness across the organization, which develops into a culture. Employees are healthier, but above all, they are happier. There is a significant improvement in employee morale that is critical for the success or failure of any business. When employees are healthy and happy, they feel like doing better for the organization, which not only improves productivity but contributes towards business success.

High employee morale enhances creativity as they feel safe and appreciated, which enhances self-esteem and motivate them to solve problems that they would have earlier not dared to and in the process achieve personal aspirations and goals.

As employees have control over their lives and health, they feel happier, which creates a feel-good factor and inspire them to perform better.