Yes, Workplace Wellness Works!

Every year, there are more and more articles out there saying that workplace wellness is over or that it doesn’t work. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! According to Mercer, workplace wellness is not only alive, but it is thriving. This is because it’s not just a benefits strategy, it’s a business strategy that creates big results. In Mercer’s 2017 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, they found that more 80% of large employers already provided wellness programs. They also found a growing percentage of employers are purchasing optional well-being services through their health plan or contracts with a specialty vendor for these services (see figure above).

According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Workplace Wellness Trends: 2017 Survey Results Report, employers that offer and measure their wellness efforts have found a decrease in absenteeism by nearly 50%. It also found that 63% of those employers are experiencing financial sustainability and growth in the organization, 66% reported increased productivity and 67% said employees are overall more satisfied

Continuous Growth

As workplace wellness continues to grow and evolve, it is no longer just the companies already involved in wellness or benefits that are embracing well-being. You will notice that almost every HR conference now has sessions, or even days, devoted to wellness and how it improves the workplace. Mercer cited the latest SHRM conference in Chicago as an example, which had plenty of wellness sessions! Other than significantly lower turnover rates and increased productivity, another reason to invest in workplace wellness is explained by this American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine article.The study was conducted to evaluate the stock performance of publicly traded companies that received high scores on the HERO Employee Health Management Best Practices Scorecard in Collaboration with Mercer. Sure enough, the companies that implemented workplace health promotion practices appreciated by 235% compared with the S&P 500 Index appreciation of 159% over a 6-year simulation period.

The Future of Workplace Wellness

Since workplace wellness is an ever changing and evolving strategy, Mercer offers these tips for keeping your wellness program refreshed and efficient:

  1. Speak Out: Be clear about why your offering a wellness program and your overall goals for the program. This may seem obvious, but it is critical that your employees understand your values and reasoning for having a wellness program, especially if it has been a while since first implementing the program. A refresher on the how’s and why’s will keep employees engaged and interested.
  2. Get ongoing employee feedback: Offer surveys or focus groups so you get a better understanding of what your employees are enjoying, what they want more of, and what isn’t work for them.
  3. Keep it customized: Something that works for one employee may not work for another. That is why it is important to have programs and opportunities that can flex with the needs and interests of each employee.

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