Employee wellness programs have been growing for several years now. About 76% of companies offer wellness programs in one way or another and are seeing a 50% year-on-year participation increase. 59% of firms have seen reductions in healthcare spending and it’s not just about providing diet and exercise classes anymore. Today’s workplace wellness programs incorporate everything from on-site medical screenings to stress management to identity theft education, and much more.
But which programs deliver results? What makes them worth the time, effort, and money spent? And how can your company create a workplace wellness program with lasting benefits?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself, especially if you’ve been tasked with implementing and maintaining an effective employee wellness program.
To help you out, we’re breaking down the who, what, where, when, and how of employee wellness programs and discussing why investing in workplace wellness programs is important.
What is employee wellness?
Employee wellness refers to any workplace initiative or program designed to help improve the health of employees and/or reduce healthcare costs. But employee wellness programs do more than improve health. If done well, workplace wellness programs can also increase productivity, boost morale, and improve employee retention. And these benefits aren’t just for your employees. Improving employee wellness has real benefits for employers as well.
In addition to reducing healthcare costs and improving productivity, employee wellness programs have been proven to reduce absenteeism, boost employee and company morale. In short, investing in employee wellness is a win for employers and employees alike.
But these benefits aren’t achieved by just any employee wellness program. The key to creating a workplace wellness program with lasting benefits is investing in employee wellness programs that address the specific health concerns and needs of your employees.
For example, if you have a large number of employees at your company who struggle with stress, offering stress management classes would be a good investment. To get the most out of your workplace wellness program, you’ll need to do some research, figure out what your employees need, and then invest in wellness programs that meet those needs.
How do companies decide on employee wellness programs?
Employee wellness programs don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re usually part of a larger workplace wellness initiative, which might include any number of programs, services, or initiatives designed to improve employees’ health. A workplace wellness initiative might begin with a company-wide health assessment, which may include employee surveys, health screenings, focus groups, or other types of employee data gathering.
Based on the information gained from the health assessment, employers may decide to invest in employee wellness programs, such as an on-site exercise facility, a nutrition program, or stress management classes. Or, they might decide to invest in other health initiatives, such as providing walking paths, healthy food options in the cafeteria, or active workstations. Either way, workplace wellness initiatives usually stem from a company-wide health assessment.
Which employee wellness programs deliver the best results?
Which employee wellness programs are worth the time, effort, and money invested? And which employee wellness programs should your company choose?
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to employee wellness programs. When it comes to employee wellness programs, it comes down to your company and your employees. For example, if your company employs a lot of employees who have desk jobs and thus a sedentary lifestyle, then you might want to invest in a health management program offering healthy snacks, gym memberships, and health coaching.
When it comes to choosing the right employee wellness programs for your company, you’ll need to do some research, figure out what your employees need, and then invest in wellness programs that meet those needs.
7 examples of successful employee wellness programs
1. Meta holistic employee wellness program
Meta's wellness initiatives include autism coverage, vision plans, fertility coverage, and a dependant care flexible spending account. Their goal is to build a resilient workplace that helps employees boost their mental and physical health, as well as stay healthy in all other areas of life.
2. Oracle has a dedicated “My Wellness” program
Oracle, a prominent IT giant, introduced the "My Wellness" program, geared to encourage a higher quality of life for its employees. Some of the offerings in the program include physical and mental health initiatives, sleep programmes, financial and legal support, as well as support for people working from home.
3. Accenture conducts anxiety, depression, and substance abuse programs
The HR professionals at Accenture offer confidential support to staff dealing with anxiety, substance abuse, and depression. Continuous support and assistance from colleagues infuse motivation within those who are suffering. It improves their comfort level and helps them become better professionals.
4. Google has in-house paramedical services
In their United States offices, Google has a massage program manager and a team of about 35 massage therapists. The idea is to have relaxed teams, who are able to do their best work. No wonder Google has consistently been rated as one of the best places to work!
5. Microsoft has dedicated yoga and meditation centers for employees
Maintaining the physical and emotional health of people is critical. Thus, Microsoft has started yoga and meditation centers and opened a gymnasium on its premises so that people do not have to take out time to go far to maintain their health and wellness.
6. Dell deploys flexibility for employee wellness
Nearly 60% of the Dell workforce enjoys flexible work rules. The company does so to improve the mental satisfaction and output quality of people.
7. Lidl conducts personal finance-related employee wellness programs
The supermarket giant Lidl allows employees to take up to a 3-month sabbatical, provided they completed 3 years in the company. They also have a Bike to Work scheme, a Christmas Savings Scheme, and pre-retirement planning, among other incentives.
The employee wellness programs at these companies go the extra mile to promote health, happiness, and productivity. Another way to improve employee morale is to create employee development plans.
Employee wellness programs come in all shapes and sizes. Some companies offer gym memberships, while others offer massages, yoga classes, or company-sponsored sports teams. While each of these programs has its merits, the true measure of employee wellness programs is how much they benefit both the employee and the business.
Companies that invest in employee wellness programs are often seen as more attractive places to work. Workers tend to stay longer at companies with a strong focus on wellness programs, and these companies often have an easier time recruiting talent.
Now that you have a sense of the kind of employee wellness programs out there, all that’s left to do is to create a program that works for your people and contributes to their wellness — and watch your company (and its people!) thrive as a result.