Building a Modern Wellness Program

Support employees’ well-being while building your bottom line.

Early employee wellness programs were designed to control health care costs. Success was measured by a reduction in medical claims, disability claims and employee absences. Today’s programs emphasize employee engagement and total performance as the measures of success. Only one in four employers offer a wellness program to control costs, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP).

Modern plan and design

While savings still matter, wellness programs are more focused on employees’ health and well-being. This can be something as simple as providing fresh fruit in break rooms or creating walking groups during lunch. Some companies have even installed workspaces with more natural light, clean air systems and ergonomically correct furniture.

Modern wellness programs are also finding new ways to communicate with employees. They are combining seminars, testimonials and social media posts with activities like team outings and corporate charity drives. Families are often invited to take part, and employee feedback is encouraged.

Contemporary incentives

Most employees aren’t motivated by small reductions to their health premiums. With no time to complete health risk assessments or simply a lack of interest, they are looking for a more immediate impact. 

Incentives like free company merchandise, gift cards and cash are perks that employees can realize almost immediately.

Updated wellness programs get results

Disengaged workers cost the U.S. economy more than $4.5 billion in lost productivity each year, according to Optum. But employers that offer wellness programs report increased productivity and higher morale.

And the IFEBP reports that 63% of companies with a wellness plan have reported financial sustainability and growth. Employees offered wellness benefits were:

  • One and a half times more likely to continue working for their employer
  • Over three times more likely to be proud of where they worked
Employee burnout

An improved culture of wellness can also be seen. Companies with successful programs report employees engaging in healthier behaviors like getting more sleep and drinking water instead of soda. They also see employees moving around the office and taking fewer trips to fast food restaurants for lunch.

All of this can take time. In some cases, it can take more than 12 months for changes to make an impact. Successful plans evaluate what worked and what didn’t on a regular basis. Getting employee feedback on wellness programs is key as you continue to make improvements.

Putting a plan in place

Simply having a wellness plan is not enough. To see results like those discussed above, you want the right mix of programs and incentives to encourage engagement and drive participation.

Traditional measures of success like blood glucose and cholesterol screenings can still support your wellness program. You may even want to offer regular blood pressure monitoring. By combining these initiatives with more holistic wellness activities like discounts to a local gym or on-site nutritional counseling, you can have a positive impact on the life of your employees.

If you would like more information on how to develop an engaging employee wellness program or improve the one you have, contact your broker or benefits adviser. They can help you put a plan in place that will support your employees’ well-being while building your bottom line.

For support on this or other Employee Benefit topics, please reach out to the OneGroup Employee Benefits team.

This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Please refer to your policy contract for any specific information or questions on applicability of coverage.

Please note coverage can not be bound or a claim reported without written acknowledgment from a OneGroup Representative.

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