Revel Blog

Why You Need an Employee Wellness Program

Coral Drake | January 26, 2024 |

labor management Featured
Why You Need an Employee Wellness Program

You probably know that employee health is a priority. But are you able to implement employee wellness benefits that justify their cost? 

Read on to see how wellness strategies could help you save money and improve your overall operations. The good news is, employee wellness programs can be well within reach, no matter how big or small your company is or what it does. 

Why You Need an Employee Wellness Program

Healthy Employees Cost Their Companies Less

How Wellness Programs Can Result in Cost Savings 

  • For employers the costs of lost productivity due to health-related incidents are often significantly higher than those of health insurance. Conditions like depression, anxiety, migraines, and respiratory illnesses are major contributors to workplace absences.
  • In one study, 57% of participants with high health risks achieved a low-risk status while participating in a worksite cardiac exercise program. This resulted in medical claim costs being reduced by $1,421 per participant.
  • Organizations with highly effective wellness programs report significantly lower voluntary attrition than those with less effective programs (9% vs. 15%).

Examples of Companies Saving Money with employee wellness programs 

Johnson & Johnson

  • Attributed $250 million in healthcare cost savings over a decade thanks to its wellness programs, with a return of $2.71 for every dollar spent from 2002 to 2008.

MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • Saw an 80% decline in lost work days and a 64% decrease in modified-duty days within six years of implementing a wellness program, resulting in $1.5 million in cost savings.
  • Experienced a 50% decrease in workers’ comp insurance premiums.

Software firm SAS Institute

  • Experienced a voluntary turnover rate of just 4% due to its effective employee wellness program.
  • For every dollar spent on its on-site health care center in 2009, it generated $1.41 in health plan savings, totaling $6.6 million in savings for that year alone.

Supermarket chain H-E-B

  • Found that annual healthcare claims are about $1,500 higher in employees not participating in its wellness program compared to participants with a high-risk health status.

Health Benefits

Wellness programs have the power to meaningfully affect employee health behaviors, encouraging healthier lifestyle choices like reduced smoking, better eating habits, more exercise, and effective stress management.

For example, at Johnson & Johnson, employee smoking rates have dropped by more than two-thirds since 1995. And those behavior changes have very real consequences. 

Initiatives like on-site clinics, healthier food options, and fitness activities make it easier for employees to live healthier lives. Perhaps more importantly, these wellness programs build a culture of health, in which employees feel encouraged to make healthy choices. 

A comprehensive wellness program addressing physical activity, a balanced diet, stress management, substance use limitation, adequate sleep, and healthy social relationships meets each employee where they are, equipping them to lead healthier lives at work and home. 

Mental Health Benefits

One out of every five adults in the United States struggles with mental health each year. That means there are almost certainly employees struggling with mental health at your company. Workplace wellness programs are an effective way of addressing this often-overlooked aspect of employee health

Wellness programs raise awareness about mental health issues like depression and substance abuse and offer employees a way to get the confidential help they need—before lack of treatment renders them unable to function well at work. 

Mental health support in the workplace leads to better concentration, improved performance, and fewer sick days. A culture of increased empathy and understanding of mental health builds a more supportive workplace culture where employees are more likely to seek the help they need. 

Good wellness programs are holistic. Activities aimed at improving physical health and building bonds between coworkers often boost emotional well-being too. A comprehensive employee wellness program is more than just a series of health initiatives. It's a commitment to the true well-being of each employee.

Wellness Plans Reduce Employee Stress

Wellness programs from meditation to yoga, mindfulness workshops to support groups, mental health initiatives provide practical coping strategies for daily stressors. They also help to build a more positive work environment, where the individual is valued, not just the job they do. This results in employees who make fewer errors and are more likely to engage in active learning. 

Corporate wellness programs help employees become more adaptable and less rigid, fostering a culture where they can roll with the punches and keep performing despite stressors. 

Wellness programs highlighting the importance of work-life balance make burnout less likely by ensuring an employee’s sense of fulfillment and personal satisfaction isn’t limited to their professional contributions alone. 

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement and team bonding are core components of a successful workplace. However, many business leaders don’t think of health initiatives and wellness strategies as tools for building a robust and creative team

In fact, employee wellness programs aim to not only improve individual health, but cultivate a healthy workplace where employees feel energized, engaged, and connected to one another and their company.

Fitness classes, support groups, meditation, and other wellness programs help to develop better communication and relationships among coworkers and decrease the sense of hierarchy that can impede progress in an organization. 

Employees who feel that their company cares about them are more likely to care deeply about their company. 

Keeping and Attracting Talent

Employee wellness benefits play a crucial role in employee retention and recruitment. These programs are transitioning from being a 'nice-to-have' perk to a 'must-have' essential for employees who are increasingly struggling to achieve work-life balance and who value health more than ever.

In fact, 87% of employees regard health and wellness packages as important factors when choosing an employer (source). Companies offering comprehensive wellness programs—anything from wellness screenings, gym membership reimbursements, on-site clinics, healthy dining options, and wellness competitions—are at an advantage in attracting new talent. 

Wellness programs play a vital role in shaping organizational culture into a place that makes people want to stay. They build the kind of loyalty among employees so crucial for long-term retention. 

Even if employee wellness benefits like health insurance aren’t a perk your business can provide directly, there are other resources that can help. 

For example, Giving Kitchen, a philanthropic partner of Revel Systems, is a nonprofit organization that helps food service workers in crisis. In short, they help food service workers in need at no cost to employers. 

Spread the word about Giving Kitchen (and other health and wellness organizations and resources) to your employees for an added safety net in moments when they need it most.