Wellness Programs—A Win for Everyone!

In our latest book, The Big Book of HR, in Chapter 29—Risk Management—we discuss the value of wellness programs in today’s workplace.
“Many organizations provide employee wellness programs, including nutrition and weight control, smoking cessation, stress reduction, and fitness. These programs yield healthier and more productive employees, which translates into savings on health insurance for the employer and the employee. Motivating employees and their family members through information and incentives that are tied to wellness program participation and behavioral change also pays off.”
We cite an example of return on investment of wellness programs from Johnson & Johnson, a leader in wellness programs. They offer a $150 benefits bonus to overweight employees who reduce their body mass index by 10 percent. They found that its wellness program slowed the rate of increase of healthcare costs by $565 per employee.
Another example from The Big Book of HR is Citibank—they debuted a new wellness program in 2008 and found that every dollar spent on wellness returns $2 to the company!
Wellness programs can be simple or they can be as complex as your organization desires. One easy way to get started is to sponsor flu shots or other vaccination clinics at your workplace. You can work with your Employee Assistance Program to bring in nutritionists to talk about how to eat healthy. You can work with your local fitness center to offer reduced rates. You can offer on-site health screenings. You can bring in speakers to talk about stress reducing techniques in the workplace.
Before you start, here are some things to consider:
• What are the goals of your wellness program?
• How involved does your organization want to be in the health of your employees?
• What is your budget?
• What is your desired return on investment?
• Will you offer rewards?
• What will your wellness policy be and who is responsible for administering the program?
As you put your program together, be sure to involve the families of your employees. This can have a significant impact on reducing healthcare costs for them and for your organization.
A well managed wellness program can have impact on employee recruitment, engagement, and retention. When employees feel that their employer cares about them as individuals, they tend to be more productive and to want stay where they are valued.
• How can you the success of a wellness program:
• Has the number of sick days declined?
• Has the number of healthcare claims declined?
• Has productivity increased?
• Has workplace stress declined?
• Are your employees more physically fit?
• Has the use of tobacco declined?
• Have workplace injuries declined?
• Has employee engagement increased?
• Has your wellness program been a positive when recruiting new employees?
• Has your retention increased?
For more information on recruiting and retaining employees as well as lots more information, see The Big Book of HR, available from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com or your local bookstore!

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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.