An employee health and wellness program can be hugely beneficial to your business. Not only are you investing in your employees’ futures, but you’re decreasing your business’ health care costs in the long run. Midsize employers are great candidates for such programs. If your business falls into that category, you may have a tougher time paying for the health insurance that you’re legally required to provide, but by investing in a wellness program, you can cut down on future health care costs.
A study by ADP revealed that 44 percent of midsize companies already offered wellness programs in 2012. These programs typically design their offerings around employees’ needs, such as offering programs to help people stop smoking, weight-loss programs, health screenings, exercise classes and chronic-disease management. Programs may also include incentives that encourage participation, such as store discounts or reductions in certain insurance costs.
What are some of the benefits you’ll likely see if you start an employee health and wellness program? Here are a few possibilities:
Savings in Health Costs
Wellness programs require an investment, but you’ll likely reduce health costs throughout the year as a result. In a report released by RAND in 2014, an enterprise company found that for every dollar it invested in a chronic-disease management program, it saved $3.78 in health care expenses. In addition, a report released by makinghealthcarereformwork.com revealed that each employee who smokes tobacco can cost his business $3,400 per year in health care and lower productivity. Imagine how much money a wellness program could save if it helped smokers quit.
Reducing Accidents, Workers’ Comp and Disability
In many companies, workers’ compensation claims and disability payments are a significant factor in the budget. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), improving employee wellness can have a big impact on these costs. Healthy employees are less likely to go on short- or long-term disability and may have fewer accidents overall.
OSHA cites a National Council of Compensation Insurance study that found that an obese claimant’s costs related to on-the-job accidents are nearly triple those of a non-obese person during the first year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention additionally notes that improved employee wellness lowers employer costs related to recruitment, training and other replacement of those who can no longer work because of accident and injury.
Better Morale and Loyalty
It’s hard to put a price tag on happy workers. Exercise can improve your mood, just as becoming healthier can also make you happier. These factors alone can improve morale in the workplace, but implementing a wellness program can also lead to camaraderie among employees as they take exercise classes together or work together to achieve incentives. When employees know that their employer cares about them and doesn’t just see them as cogs in a machine, they’re likely to work harder.
Employee health and wellness programs can bring significant benefits to your small-to-midsize business. Not only will you see savings in health care costs, but you’ll also see fewer absences and improved morale. The money you save from happier, healthier workers who want to stick around can really add up over time.
Stephanie Dwilson has extensive experience providing expertise on topics including health, law and marketing. She’s a science journalist published by Fox News, a marketing expert and an attorney with expertise in personal injury law. She’s also a small business expert featured by Businessweek and Millionaire Blueprints magazine. She’s also worked as a marketing consultant for ministries and a PR lead for one of the largest churches in America.