Wellness Programs: Employer Benefits
Remember Sally? She’s our friend we met two months ago in “Wellness Programs at Work: Why Bother?” who, as a general rule, leads a sedentary lifestyle and eats take-out mindlessly most days of the week.
We talked then about the reasons we owed it to Sally to have a worksite wellness program in place, why that would be in Sally’s best interest. And as you were reading, you probably asked yourself (or asked my article) these two questions: How much does it cost? and How does it benefit me as an employer?
First, let’s answer the money question. This, of course, will depend on many factors. Will you create the program in-house or bring in an outside firm? Will you seek programs covered by insurance or will you look for out-of-pocket options? Will the company provide funding for the entire program or will you provide the opportunity and require your employees to foot the bill? Will the program be available 100 percent on-site or will there be virtual components? Will you provide any incentives or will personal fulfillment be the “prize” for participation?
There are many no- and low-cost solutions, like the ones I mentioned in my article, “April Fools’ Resolutions.” For most of the companies we work with, we design plans that are covered 100 percent by insurance, so there is no out-of-pocket cost to the employer or employee. We have companies who pay us completely with company dollars and we have others who pay for part of the wellness programs and then have other add-on services available that the employees can pay for directly or with FSA/HSA funds.
To deliver even lower-cost options to self-funded employers, we recently developed an eight-week online weight loss program. The possibilities are virtually endless!
As a general rule, you would first want to decide if your company insurance policy had any wellness coverage, decide what, if any, out-of-pocket funds you have available, then work backwards.
What are the benefits to employers?
Benefits package. The perceived value of a wellness program may help with employee recruitment and retention. According to a recent Society of Human Resource Management survey, three-quarters of employers are now offering wellness plans as part of their benefits packages, and more than 50 percent of employees utilize some level of corporate wellness programming. Therefore, your company may be at a competitive disadvantage if employees and job seekers expect employee wellness programs but you are not offering one.
Reduction in healthcare costs. According to The International Foundation of Employee Benefits plans, most employers that have analyzed the return on investment of their wellness programs have found $1 to $3 decreases in their overall healthcare costs for every dollar spent. Essentially, employee wellness plans serve as a proactive measure to reduce overall healthcare spending.
Increased productivity. Of course, we know healthier employees take less sick time. However, studies have also shown that healthy employees have more energy and positivity, a term called Employee Positivity Factor, which also leads to increased productivity and improved customer service.
If done right, an employer will be able to reap the benefits of wellness programming with a very small investment. Following the steps I have laid out in previous and future articles will help ensure you are investing your dollars and not wasting them.