Corporate Wellness Programs – Are You Doing Enough?
Updated: May 30
Tim Errington, Chiropractor
When we take a close look at today’s corporate world we see that the forward looking, early adopter companies are engaging their employees and demonstrating clearly that they care about all aspects of their well-being.
By investing in health and wellness initiatives they encourage and develop healthy daily habits within their workforce, gradually creating a healthier team, with more energy, focus and drive. This is how leading companies are looking to build competitive advantage. It is well proven that when staff are ‘cared’ for, they feel more secure in their roles, are more likely to stay, and this ‘culture of care’ is more conducive to producing their best work. Most will freely accept that stress levels are way too high and that this is unhealthy. Stress changes your physiology (how the body works) and if it is constant it will eventually destroy your health.
The problem is bigger than you think.
Everyone knows that there are growing instances of chronic disease, postural and spinal concerns, stress related conditions, headaches and digestive disorders etc, these are everywhere and the stats don’t lie. There is, however, a new cause for concern. More and more employers are gradually becoming aware that their workforce is becoming less interested and engaged. In effect they are ‘tuning out!’ What we are seeing is a new widespread crisis, that of ‘disengagement’ of their employees.
This declining ‘engagement’ is costing companies millions. As they look for solutions to get their workforce back ‘on track, it seems that the solution could well be closer than they think. To drive engagement we must invest in our people, making the employees feel wanted and give them a greater sense of purpose. With this in mind, companies are looking to create a ‘culture of care’ and investment in workplace wellness is seen as one of the keys to turning disengaged, disinterested employees into productive, focused champions of their brand, committed to the ‘cause’.
When the company wants a well-organised, highly motivated, productive workforce, creating a ‘culture of care’ is foundational.
Improved Company Culture
A growing player in Corporate Wellness programs is Virgin Pulse. To better understand how employers and employees are engaging in wellness programs, they surveyed 361 organizations and 3822 employees to gain an insight. Their analysis has revealed compelling results.
Wellness drives company culture: 87.4% of employees state that wellness positively impacted work culture.
Employees want to be healthy: 96.3% participate to improve their own health making health a bigger motivating factor than finance!
It’s not just about physical health; it’s about mental well-being as well.
Employees want their employers to offer more.
Wellness programs offer employers an advantage on recruitment.
When the company develops wellness initiatives a ‘culture of care’ is encouraged.
Indeed, this ‘culture’ is having a noticeable difference. This study showed that more than 8 out of 10 (87.4%) employees report that the company’s wellness programs are improving the work environment. But do disenchanted, disengaged employees actually embrace what is on offer? Well, actually yes they do. 9 out of 10 say they do take advantage of wellness initiatives. With high levels of engagement, employers are seeing, not only healthier, more engaged employees , but also a return on the bottom line. The best wellness programs are those that will have lasting effects and communicate a culture of wellness.
A ‘culture of care’ reflects in an improved bottom line
When quizzed, many workers reported beneficial changes, with 76.1% reporting improvements in physical energy, and 61% feeling generally happier as a result of participation. 31% state that they are able to be more productive and 32% stated that they have improved focus and 31% have fewer sick days due to wellness initiatives.
Companies must look at the Big Picture
When you look at any of these factors in isolation you may think that the overall benefits will be small. However when you consider the compounding advantages that your company will enjoy, it simply makes it a matter of “when and how to implement”. “I feel that the health and wellness programs help the company because employees have more energy and are more engaged throughout the day. I have used less sick time and feel more productive in general.” – From employee comments on the Business of Healthy Employee: A Survey of Workplace Health Priorities (2014)
When companies are active with wellness programs, over half the staff involved state that they feel more valued. How this translates is even more interesting, because what we see is that the biggest benefit is how access to wellness initiatives affects engagement and productivity.
Disengagement is a worldwide problem
Worldwide, there has unfortunately been a huge increase in reported employee disengagement, whereby the employees are not giving it 100%. Most of you corporates will concur. Can you imagine the results if your team lifted their energy levels, focus and application by 20%? What if they are only using 80% of available brainpower? Chris Boyce of Virgin Pulse commented – “We’re in the midst of a disengagement crisis. Wellness programs are a straightforward way to help employees make daily changes that lead to sustainable health changes and improvements in workplace engagement and productivity.”
Indeed, the survey revealed that 5 out of 10 employees feel more engaged and 6 out of 10 feel more productive as a result of wellness programs.
52.6% of employers report that wellness programs increase engagement
These are all very compelling stats for HR departments around the world to consider. The more proactive, forward thinking companies are already implementing wellness programs but the huge ‘shift’ is yet to come. Obviously, to initiate and implement a huge wellness program takes time and resources. But, it’s about getting the best from your resources and the best way to achieve your goal is to start moving forward.
All companies desire the best possible workforce
No matter which industry you are in, it is safe to assume that you want the most productive, stable workforce possible. They are your competitive advantage, they make the difference. Happy employees are your best brand advocates and unhappy employees can become the worst. Ideally, you would be the employer of choice for your industry. Then it becomes vitally important that staff needs are being met.
Virgin Pulse’s Chris Boyce said “Happy employees are your best brand ambassadors. They’ll advocate for your company, share their positive experiences among their social networks, and recommend your company as a great place to work to their friends and family members. The potential is huge.” Wellness initiatives not only promote employee well-being, but are also a huge selling point when recruiting staff. These wellness initiatives are widely embraced because they help employees feel better about themselves and to become healthy more easily. Who wouldn’t want this?