Modern organizations today are facing several challenges like globalization, satisfying customer’s needs at any cost, adapting to new technologies 💻, retaining the best talent in the market, building revenues, minimizing costs, and more. While it’s easier to imbibe technology and operational processes, the same can’t be applied to people management practices. Managing employees, their productivity, and steering human resource management practices is not only critical to success but also tough for achieving the company’s long term goals.
Corporate Wellness Programs – The Need of the Hour
Being healthy 🥗 is essential for living well and for longevity. In the business world, employers are eager to create a team of healthy and happy employees. As we know these employees tend to be more productive 👨💼, have lower rates of absenteeism and foster a positive work environment.
Wellness programs include:
- Programs sponsored by an employer that seek to improve the physical and/or mental health of an employee.
- Programs designed to encourage individuals to take preventive measures to maintain their health, through education, screening, and risk assessment or disability management to prevent the onset or worsening of a disease.
- Employment-based activity or employer-sponsored benefits to promote health and disease management.
Health and Lifestyle Issues Employees Face
Unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, alcohol abuse 🍷, poor nutrition, and lack of physical activity directly impact work performance. About 30 percent of the adult population is obese, leading to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. Lifestyle issues that employees face lower productivity 😞 and prove costly to companies. Research states that over the past twenty years, employee health and well-being have declined considerably. Also, there is an increase in the onset of these diseases among younger employees.
A survey found that a significant number of corporate employees admitted to physical inactivity, high stress, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, diets that lack fruits and vegetables, and so on. Also, more and more employees are getting fewer hours of sleep. Sleep-deprived employees 😴 are less productive, stressed and prone to making more errors at work.
Employees also face higher levels of stress because of family responsibilities, deadlines in work, workload, relationships with peers and managers, economic commitments, personal health issues, relationships, etc.
Components of an Effective Wellness Program
An effective wellness program can reduce health care costs, lower absenteeism, and improve overall productivity.
The effectiveness of a wellness program is based on the following factors.
- An effective wellness program sufficiently rewards the employees and nudges them to better work-life balance. It increases health awareness among employees and reduces job stressors.
- Wellness programs can include voluntary health assessments followed by a one-one meeting with a health professional to address the risks that may be found. Health education can be imparted to share information on blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke, lifestyle modifications, workplace bullying, and safe driving.
- Health-related bulletins can be circulated in newsletters and pasted across the premises. Employees can be allowed to access online tests to record stress, work-family issues, and nutrition, and so on.
- Companies can offer rewards for following healthy behaviors. These include opportunities for taking risk assessments to address health issues, participation in sessions addressing health risks like obesity, and preventive programs.
- Wellness programs create a workplace environment 🏢 that supports employees in engaging them in healthy behaviors. Companies can offer integrated programs to bring awareness about good health and improve engagement with employees through marketing of wellness programs.
Advantages of including Wellness Programs in Corporate Culture
There are lots of positive outcomes in providing wellness programs to employees, for example:
a. Providing a wellness program to employees demonstrates an employer’s concern for the employee’s well-being, thereby increasing motivation, job satisfaction, and productivity as a result.
b. Wellness programs help employees identify and focus attention on existing conditions and illnesses.
c. Employees feel gratitude to the employer for providing information through health risk assessments about existing or unknown health conditions as they would incur lesser medical costs in the future.
d. Counseling on nutrition, substance abuse, weight, exercise, and other habits helps employees to make positive lifestyle changes and increase their commitment to healthy choices.
e. Wellness programs lower workplace stress, reduce absenteeism and boost morale 🌼.
f. Providing wellness programs improve the company image, facilitate recruitment, and reduce turnover in addition to reducing job injuries as well.
It is obviously critical to get employee co-operation if corporate wellness programs are to make a difference. Assessing the pointers discussed above indicate how successful a wellness program is. These measures indicate whether the wellness program is on the right track in improving the health of employees and for the welfare of the organization.