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Workplace Wellness: What It Can Do for You

It’s a competitive job market. Unlike in years past, today’s workers are willing to pursue opportunities with other employers if they believe their lifestyle will upgrade. Health and benefits packages are becoming an essential tool for employers when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, not just in the most popular sectors and geographies, but across the board.

Consider the following statistics: A survey by the National Business Group on Health last year found that more than 78% of employees feel that their employer’s wellbeing programs make the company more attractive for potential recruits and 70% say it is one of the top reasons they stay loyal to their employers. Meanwhile, a report from Future Family revealed that 67% of women making between $75,000 to $99,999 and 52% of those making more than $150,000 would change jobs for better fertility benefits.

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Employers are finally responding to this need by reshaping how they use employee benefits programs to attract, retain and engagement with the right talent. Today, nearly nine-in-10 employers cover infertility benefit through their employee benefits packages, according to data from the National Business Group on Health, which include in-vitro fertilization (IVF), egg freezing, adoption and surrogacy. Nine out of 10 global companies offer some sort of employee wellness program.

Make It Personal

When health is made personal, employees discover the true value that wellbeing can hold in their lives. Johnson & Johnson, which has one of the longest-standing employee wellness programs in North America, understand that employees don’t strive to get healthy because it’s the right thing to do in some theoretical sense. For a lot of people, well-being is simply a means to an end. The employee wants to be there for their family, to get off hypertension or diabetes medication, to perform better at work.

 

The employee wellness industry in North America is estimated to be worth over $6 billion, with private vendors selling companies either stand-alone wellness plans or ones that are a part of the health insurance.

 

If the employer can tap into the workers’ personal motivations, it can more readily impart the worth of employee wellbeing. Employers like J&J use a platform called “Energy for Performance in Life,” which is designed by the Human Performance Institute division of Wellness & Prevention. Its goal is to teach workers how to maximize their energy in order to improve their lives. The program is designed to be less clinical and more of a lifestyle-advancing tool. Making the wellness program more relevant in day-to-day existence has drastically increased the number of workers engaging in it.

Collective Impact for Wellness

Wellness needs to be done with employees, not without them, or to them. When workers feel a particular initiative is their own, their engagement increases. Some of the best employee wellness programs actively design for “grassroots” partnership and saddle the force of shared responsibility to support commitment. It is important to let employees design their own wellness initiatives relevant to their division’s needs. This sort of empowerment goes a long way. The employer may encourage employees to become their own health and wellness representatives in their office – initiating drives such as yoga and zumba, and recruiting other employees to join in their collective wellness programs. This helps in spreading the message that their wellness is important to you and also guarantees the initiative’s reach. It also keep workers accountable for their personal wellbeing and gives them the support they need during life’s most crucial moments.

 

More than 66% of U.S.-based employers offer some type of employee wellness program. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, 99% of employers with 200 or more employees offered at least one wellness program in the past decade. Of these, employers, 70% offered gym membership discounts or on-site gyms, 72% offered stop smoking support programs, and 59% offered weight loss programs. A majority of these employers also offered some form of financial assistance, such as reduction of insurance premiums on dental care.

 

Employers need to quit challenging the legitimacy or effectiveness of wellness programs. Instead, we must celebrate wellbeing-focused initiatives on a day-to-day basis more than ever. Our society is dependent on the reach and influence of people, and to rethink the debate from a focus on sick care to a focus on overall wellbeing is more important than ever. A range of employee wellbeing programs have made headaches into our lives – and with the help of private companies offering wellbeing-focused plans, there is greater hope for support. Let’s give our employees the support that will encourage them to lead healthy lives.

Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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