According to the 2017 Business of Healthy Employees survey by Virgin Pulse and Human Capital Media, wellbeing programs are increasingly an integral component of employee engagement, recruitment, retention, and more. “Long considered nice-to-have programs, the data shows that wellbeing is becoming a critical business driver.”
First thing’s first: the difference between wellness and wellbeing. Though they’re sometimes used interchangeably, wellness programs usually focus primarily on physical health, while a wellbeing program is much broader.
“Holistic wellbeing addresses all aspects of health, including physical fitness, mental alertness and financial stability. Programs addressing these factors all contribute to holistic wellbeing,” explains the survey. Programs can include mental health initiatives, health risk assessments, money counselling, stress management workshops, and much more – and they all contribute to saving you time, money, and energy.
Wellbeing programs and recruitment
According to the study, organizations have understood the value of a wellbeing program, particularly when it comes to the recruitment process. In fact, it found that 85 per cent of organizations are now invested in employee wellbeing.
“Organizations with robust wellbeing programs are seen as employers of choice.”
Though it’s important to note that the more initiatives your wellbeing program has, the better. “For organizations to be an employer of choice, they’ll need to offer a wide variety of programs to address the diverse needs of their workforce.”
And being an employer of choice can save you a fortune in recruitment and hiring costs. In our free eGuide, How to create a benefits package, we explain how the cost of a single key vacancy can be up to $12,000 per day.
In short: the faster you attract top talent to your company, the better. And a wellbeing program can speed that process along.
Wellbeing programs and employee engagement
When the survey asked employers why they offer wellbeing benefits, 42 per cent of organizations explained that it drives employee engagement – and 38 per cent said that it impacts positive work culture.
Why? As the survey puts it: “Employees are more productive when they’re less stressed.”
Employees agree – the survey found that 71 per cent of employees feel their wellness program makes them more energetic and productive. 74 per cent of employees also said it makes them feel like their company cares about them, and 62 per cent felt more loyal and engaged.
And an energetic and productive employee is an asset. Research shows they are less likely to take sick days or have a safety incident, and are more likely to boost revenue, increase customer satisfaction, and think creatively.
And more so, engaged employees are happy and loyal – which, in turn, reduces the cost of turnover.
As we mention in How to create a benefits package, a loss of an entry-level employee can cost the company as much as 50 per cent of their salary, while the loss of a highly specialized position can cost the company up to 400 per cent of the employee’s salary.
Getting a wellbeing program started
The first step in implementing a wellbeing program is simple: talk to your team. As we mentioned above, the most effective programs are the most diverse ones, where a wide range of unique employee needs are covered off.
A simple employee survey can facilitate this conversation – send out a few questions or a checklist of potential initiatives to your team to see what resonates with them. You might find that only a few are interested in a smoking cessation program, for example, but they all are keen to get some one-on-one time with a nutritionist.
Talking to your team about this program can also be a good way to feel out the mood of the office as a whole. If your entire workforce indicates that they need stress management counselling, for example, it might be an indicator that some bigger workplace changes need to take place.
Once you have an idea of the initiatives that your team is excited about, work together to get them in motion. Buy-in from your employees at the very start is the best way to get them using the program – and, in turn, reaping the benefits.