Why Invest on Employee Wellness?
For leading companies in the world, employee wellness programs have been utilized for nearly a decade now. These programs help drive down healthcare costs, which keep on increasing due to a slowly-aging workforce.
However, for most companies, wellness programs have often viewed as an add-on. Rather than a core requirement and strength to pursue the company mission and vision.
For instance, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) smoker employees have been reduced by two thirds in a span of 15 years. The figures of sedentary workers and those prone to high blood have also been slashed by half.
This is J&J’s strategic plan — heavily investing on worker’s physical, social, and mental wellness. And did it pay off? For starters, these programs saved $250 million on healthcare alone. The company saves almost $3 for every dollar they spent on the program.
In essence, the mantra “prevention is better than cure” is the main thrust of this campaign.
Here are some ways that companies could start the health and wellness trend in your own workplace:
Leadership is key.
In most work areas, the number of those who do not participate in wellness programs will outnumber those who do. Reasons will vary; common ones are lack of time, lack of interest, or even disbelief in the method. You may also stumble upon employees who are not aware that such a program exists. And some that are skeptical about the management’s goals with the program. A rallying voice from community leaders will always be the driving force that can motivate, persuade, and pursue these activities.
Change starts from the top.
For companies whose structure is around bosses, higher-ups, and superiors, a culture of initiative could be imperative to spark change in the office. When the CEO can be visibly seen exercising, employees may likewise feel motivated to exercise. Or may even reduce self-consciousness which may dissuade them from pursuing this new habit.
While CEOs and Bosses may inspire and instigate change from the very top via policies and setting examples, the middle management ties it all together. Since each department may have different bosses, they could may very well create workplace cultures and goals. It could be pursued by the whole department as a united unit.
Have a purpose.
Those who formulate and champion the wellness programs in the office should make it a point to tie down wellness programs with company objectives and outlines. As well as its culture and its goals, to make employees feel that these activities are serving a purpose that will let them achieve the end goal of the company while staying well.
Planning is important.
It is imperative to plan for wellness activities well in advance. It does not hurt to disseminate and answer all pertinent questions about the topic, as well as provide ample avenues for all interested employees to express themselves. When the company’s internal communications team makes an effort to emphasize the goals of these programs, employees will feel more than welcome to ask questions, as well as to participate in them.
Incentives that make employees feel better are strictly better options that those that force employees to act against their own beliefs or capabilities. As an example, it is better to help employees cope and beat their smoking addiction, rather than mandating smoke-free sites and potentially terminating any violators. With the latter policy, this makes employees feel discouraged, and will drive the addiction underground, instead of providing constructive solutions to the problem. A better example could be to provide assistance and incentives for all who enlist in smoking rehab programs, with the end goal of finally cutting off tobacco reliance.
Stay in theme with your business alignment.
If your business requires strenuous body work among your employees, then it could be preferable to have wellness programs. Program that encourage workers to exercise often, keep up cardiovascular health, and even emergency first aid care. However, for offices with desk-based work, a different approach such as counseling for mental health, while enjoining them to improve physical health via gym memberships, could be key. In the end, it all relies on what type of business you are in, and what your end goals are.