Businesses have been realizing the benefits of employee wellness programs. The benefits range from increased productivity, to reduced healthcare costs, to employee retention, all affecting the bottom line. Another new trend resulting from these programs is the personal employee benefit.
In a recent measure of Harris Interactive’s Principal Financial Well-Being Index, almost half the participants, 43 percent, join in company wellness programs for their own personal health benefits, which can result in greater livelihood potential. This type of intrinsic employee motivation, and the number of employees involved, can easily result in a financial benefit to the company.
Along with improved health, one-third of the participating employees also participate in wellness programs in an effort to reduce their personal healthcare costs. Thirty-one percent of the participants are motivated to participate in an effort to not only improve their health, but live longer also.
The results of the Harris survey also demonstrated that losing weight was another primary factor in employee participation; fifty-three percent of the employees enrolled in a weight management program. This rate almost doubled from the 2009 survey, which was 28 percent.
Other statistics from the survey show that 68 percent of employees with chronic health issues or those at ‘high risk’ follow “personalized action plans,” demonstrating a 21 percent increase from the prior year. And, 84 percent of the participants elect to get blood sugar screenings, compared to 66 percent in the prior year.
In a statement, president of Principal Wellness Company Lee Dukes explained, “This dramatic increase in workers taking advantage of these wellness benefits is indicative of Americans’ greater sense of personal responsibility towards their own health.” He added, “With health care costs on the rise and increasing public awareness of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, Americans are ready to take action. Workplace wellness gives employees a convenient, simple way to get started.”
Employers are reaping the benefits of employee participation in wellness programs. Twenty-eight percent of the survey participants feel confident they are reducing their sick days as a direct result of the programs, and 38 percent feel the programs are also resulting in better stamina and energy levels, resulting in increased productivity.
Better health and increased energy and productivity helps to increase employee satisfaction, which in turn increases employee loyalty. Forty-eight percent of the survey’s participants noted that wellness programs are a motivating factor in staying with their current job.