Wellness Programs Offset Productivity Loss Due to Employee Illness

by: Nichole Gunn November 2, 2010

Studies and related statistics prove the benefits of employee wellness programs. Companies of all sizes need to take notice of the positive effects of health and wellness incentives for both the employee and the employer.

Stephan B. Tanda, in an article for the Huffington Post, discussed the strong connection between the well being of employees and a company’s profit and performance. He believes that health is the "Achilles heel" of corporate America.

Referencing a report issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on corporate health and wellness, Tanda noted that estimates place “the global loss in productivity due to chronic illness hovers around the $2 trillion mark.” Of that amount, the United States is responsible for an estimated $1 trillion.

Tanda cleverly put this into perspective by noting that the entire 2009 US bank bailout was $700 billion.

Adding to the lost revenue due to employee illness is the rising cost for U.S. companies to offer healthcare as a benefit. These losses and expenses are making it necessary for employers to take steps to help rectify the situation.

While almost all major corporations offer health insurance to their employees, not all of them have corporate wellness programs in place. This, Tanda argues is something companies, who aren’t already on the employee wellness incentive bandwagon, should initiate.

According to the WEF report, companies that have implemented proactive “wellness programs have experienced an average savings of $700 per employee per year. Along with this, these companies have also “seen a return on investment upwards of 755% in reduced healthcare costs and higher productivity levels.”

Based on these very impressive statistics, Tanda strongly urges “the adoption of strategic, sophisticated and engaging corporate health and wellness programs.”

In another article at Bakersfield.com, Holly Culhane reinforces the use of wellness programs, but adds that all health incentive programs initiated should be fair to all employees, regardless of any existing health conditions.