You Don’t Need to be a Rocket Scientist to Understand the Value of Wellness
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Worried about rising healthcare and workers’ compensation costs? Put wellness initiatives higher on the 2015 list.
According to a 2013 Workplace Wellness Programs study by the RAND Corporation, about half of U.S. employers offer wellness initiatives. If you’re part of the half that still hasn’t bought in, here are a few key elements to wellness programs that when mixed together, create a more positive and profitable environment.
1. Control costs – Healthcare costs are a significant portion of a company’s budget, so strategically targeting this expense can benefit an employer’s bottom line. An investment in your employees' health may lower healthcare costs or slow the cost increases. Employees with more health risk factors, including obesity, smoking and diabetes, cost more to insure and pay more for healthcare than people with fewer risk factors. A wellness program can help employees with high risk factors make lifestyle changes to improve their quality of life and lower costs, while also helping employees with fewer risk factors remain healthy.
2. Get more productive employees – Research shows that workplaces with wellness programs have employees who are more productive at work.
3. Have less missed work – Reduced absenteeism can yield significant cost savings and return on your wellness investment. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, obese workers' absenteeism costs U.S. employers $8.65B a year. Healthier employees mean fewer sick days, which is another benefit companies generally achieve through wellness programs. Plus, employees’ healthier behavior may translate into better family choices, so employees may also miss less work caring for ill family members.
4. Reduce workers’ compensation and disability costs – Employees who make healthy changes and lower their health risk factors often have a reduced chance of a workplace injury, illness or a disability. This can save the employer money, not just on insurance premiums and benefits paid out, but also on the replacement cost of recruiting and training a new worker to replace one who is out of work for health reasons.
5. Improve morale and recruiting – A company that cares about its employees' health is often seen as a better place to work, and wellness programs can attract top talent in a competitive staffing market. In addition, expressing a commitment to your employees’ health can improve employee morale and strengthen retention. Employees who experience these positive changes and benefits will often feel more loyalty to the company and be more grateful for the company’s commitment to their health.
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