Are Corporate Wellness Programs Effective?
Corporate wellness programs are becoming more and more popular, as employers want to have healthy employees who will stay with them and go above and beyond their daily tasks to truly grow their company. Employers are realizing corporate wellness programs are not only improving employees’ health by reducing health risks but also greatly improving employee morale.
Offering wellness programs leads to healthier employees, reduced health care costs and, thereby, fewer sick days. Since they help improve employee health behavior and build high morale, they lead to higher job satisfaction and productivity, resulting in higher employee retention.
All of these benefits paint a great picture, but not all corporate wellness programs are actually that effective. Why is that and what can you do to offer a program that truly brings all these benefits? Let’s have a look.
What Causes Corporate Wellness Programs to Fail?
One common reason for this has to do with employees not actually knowing that the program exists, as many employers don’t take the time to inform them. Others offer mandatory programs that don’t provide positive incentives, but rather require that employees meet certain health standards, such as quit smoking and decrease their Body Mass Index, for instance.
With programs like these, employees are often penalized when they don’t meet the set standards. Penalizing in any way isn’t an incentive, and it certainly doesn’t improve morale and productivity.
Many corporate wellness programs fail because they are primarily focused on physical well-being. They don’t ever touch the subject of mental health, let alone try and help individuals who may be dealing with high stress, depression, anxiety, or any other emotional or social difficulties.
How to Make Your Corporate Wellness Program Effective
First of all, you need to inform all your employees about your program and make sure they know exactly what it entails. Don’t make it mandatory and never penalize someone for not meeting your health standards, because that will never incentivize your workers. It will only encourage them to not participate.
Motivate with positive incentives that inspire good behavior that even gets rewarded. That’s what every corporate wellness program should actually be about – working with your employees and helping them lead a healthier lifestyle.
Throw in a free gym membership and provide healthier food options at work but be sure to go beyond physical health. Offer your workers an option to engage in yoga or meditation classes, or anything similar that will relax them and help them effectively reduce stress. Introduce a Friday gratitude challenge that will help your workers focus on positive thoughts and optimism.
Most importantly, hire a professional who will always be available for a talk with anyone dealing with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue. This is important in helping them overcome their problems and improve their overall quality of life.
A corporate wellness program will save you money but, if you really focus on improving your employees’ well-being and building a strong company culture, you will save a great deal of money for the long haul. Your employees will be much healthier and happier, less stressed, more productive, and more motivated to help your company grow. Put them first and they’ll help you reach great heights.
For more information on promoting mindfulness and health check out some of the research we have to offer!