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How Well-Being Programs Benefit Both Employees and Organizations

Today, well-being programs are becoming an expectation at work, not just a nice-to-have. And for good reason. A well-rounded, strategic program can benefit both the employees and the organizations they work for. This week, we delve into four key well-being program benefits that have a tangible impact on the business.

How a well-being program benefits employees and the organization.

So how do well-being programs benefit employers and their employees? Truthfully, the benefits for workers are similar for organizations. When one benefits, the other does as well. Here are just some of the ways that well-being programs benefit employees and employers:

1. Reduced healthcare costs due to healthier lifestyles.

Health assessments and biometric screenings give an employer insight into the population’s current health and future health risk. This makes it easier to target the right programs—like disease management and health coaching—to the right people. At the same time, these screenings help employees learn about their current health status and discover personalized tips and recommendations to start improving their well-being.

As employees engage with the recommended programs, we typically see a reduction in healthcare claims related to chronic conditions, which leads to lower healthcare costs for the organization. A 2016 Global Healthy Workplace study reported that, of those respondents measuring the healthcare cost impact, 54% reported their programs were reducing trend by 2 to 5 percentage points per year.

By helping to improve an employee’s healthy habits, well-being programs also positively impact areas like mental health, physical health, and overall morale. And all this leads to happier, healthier employees that feel supported by their companies and want to continue working for them long-term. This leads us to our next benefit!

2. Better recruitment and retention.

When the job market is competitive, a good benefits package is vital to recruiting key talent. This is particularly important to younger employees. A 2016 Aflac survey found that health and wellness programs are major factors in millennials’ decision to take or remain in a job. And our own study shows that millennials and Gen Z expect more well-being offerings than other generations in the workforce. Beyond that, millennials actually use the well-being programs their employer offers more than other employees.

If a well-being program is actively supported by senior management, we see an even greater impact. And research backs this. A study by the American Psychological Association found that, in organizations where employees do not view leadership as committed to their well-being, only 17% would recommend the company as a good place to work.

When it comes to staying with an employer, the existence of a well-being program can have a positive effect. “Engagement in health and wellness programs translates to greater employee loyalty, which can significantly contribute to productivity and a stronger bottom line for employers,” says John Holcomb, Optum president of Population Health Solutions.1

3. Increased productivity.

When you’re not feeling well, it’s hard to give your all at work. So, if employees are suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, back pain, or obesity, they’re probably less productive. Mental health concerns—like depression and anxiety—can also affect performance. And today, many employees are experiencing burnout, which clearly impacts performance, but can also lead to long-term illnesses if not treated properly.

These conditions often result in high rates of absenteeism in an organization, or even presenteeism, when employees are physically at work, but not performing at an optimal level. According to the CDC, the net effect is that U.S. employers lose more than $225 billion each year in productivity due to employee health problems.2

A quality corporate well-being program can help.

When a corporate well-being program focuses on holistic practices instead of just physical health, more programs are available to support an individual’s specific needs. For example, someone who’s experiencing high levels of stress and burnout may find value in resilience programs, meditation apps, and company-provided group yoga sessions. And someone else who’s on their feet all day may prefer learning about the importance of sleep, participating in a wellness challenge to drink more water, and getting more information about nutritious, high-energy foods.

Said another way, the best well-being programs include options that are meaningful to each individual. That way, people can choose the programs and modalities that support where they are in their own well-being journey. This, in turn, can improve their productivity both inside and outside of the workplace because they’re more rested, healthier, and happier.

Happier, more productive employees can also inspire others in the workplace to make positive lifestyle choices, resulting in even higher productivity and job satisfaction all around. It’s a win-win for both people and the organization they work for!

4. Improved morale and employee engagement.

Organizations that care about the workforce’s health and well-being reap the benefits of happier employees who are more engaged in their well-being and work. As executive coach Naz Beheshti writes, “Healthy and engaged employees, in concert with a strong workplace culture, are the secret sauce for business success.”3 Put simply, an employee well-being program sends a strong signal to the organization that you value employees as human beings, not just workers.

And studies indicate that employees want employers to be involved in multiple aspects of their health, including the parts that cross over into their personal lives. Our recent study found that 70% of employees surveyed feel employers should provide offerings for mental and emotional health, and 54% would like employers to offer caregiver support, among other kinds of non-traditional benefits. Employers can create long-term employee loyalty and motivation by providing solutions like these.

Creating ways to get people across the organization to interact and work together—like wellness challenges or virtual team-building events—can also help employees feel more connected to their coworkers and the company they work for. This, in turn, contributes to increased retention, engagement, and morale.

Overall, companies that value and promote employee well-being send a clear signal to employees that they care about them—both inside and outside the workday. This commitment to health pays off for the business in the form of happier, healthier, more engaged, and loyal employees.

For more information about how your organization can benefit from an employee well-being program, contact us at connect@webmd.net.

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