There is no doubt that wellness is ‘on trend’, with individual spending on health and wellness increasing from a $3.7 trillion to a $4.2 trillion market between 2015 to 2017. That’s nearly twice as fast as global economic growth (3.6 percent annually, based on IMF data).
Corporate wellness programs make up a reasonable proportion of this spending and are predicted to continue growing at a similar rate. Yet, the questions remain – are corporate health and wellness programs having the impact that companies want? And, more importantly, is it benefiting the employee’s overall health?
Looking at these questions is like playing a game of cards. You have the employer – the casino; the employee – the card player; and the dealer – management, who often have little control over the game, they are just dealing the cards they’re given.
Calling the health and wellness program bluff
The recent emergence of studies claiming that health and wellness programs are not effective are largely based on the ‘costs’ associated with healthcare before and after a health and wellness program intervention. But is this the only measure of success? And aren’t there many factors in the equation?
For example, how do you measure something like health and wellness that is a longer term investment, by only shorter-term studies? Or, how can you measure the efficacy of a health and wellness program solely by cost savings? This is especially relevant when there are many other ‘hard-to-measure’ factors which are part of the return on investment.
It’s time for everyone to put their cards on the health and wellness table
Companies want increased productivity while reducing overall production costs. They want a ‘healthy’ employee to reduce insurance costs; to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism; plus enhance employee productivity and performance. Companies want to know that investing in employee health and wellness will result in a profitable return on investment.
And why shouldn’t they?
But is there a misalignment of expectations here?
An employer may measure their investment into health and wellness programs from a purely financial ROI perspective. But that is not how their employees view or measure it. Well, perhaps that’s the issue with effectiveness of employee health and wellness programs. The employee’s expectation doesn’t align with employer expectations.
Employees want to feel valued, connected and have work-life balance. A Limeaide survey revealed that employees who feel they have higher wellbeing in their lives have higher perceived engagement, loyalty and enjoyment in their work.
So then, where is the wellbeing ace in this deck of cards?
The ace for the employer is providing a health and wellbeing program that is looked upon as a great way to win the productivity game. The employee though, looks at the health and wellness program as ‘just another perk’ if it’s not adequately supported or seen as a key company commitment. It’s like the employers are playing poker and the employees are playing blackjack. No one will win if they are playing for different outcomes.
Time to reshuffle and play the same game
Making a corporate health and wellness program effective is about ensuring that everyone benefits. This can only be achieved if employees, employers and management are all sitting at the same table. Clear expectations, but more importantly, defined organisational support, is the key to a winning hand. Limeaide reports that 72% of people who have high wellbeing also reported they had higher organisational support. And the converse is true too. Low organisational support directly correlated to low feeling of wellbeing.
It’s the dealer who holds or folds
What do we mean? We mean that the dealer (management) has a very big impact on the game. That is managers support is crucial, with 76% of employees identifying their immediate managers’ support matters more than the C-Suite support when it comes to executing a successful health and wellbeing program. Closely followed by specific tools and resources that make wellbeing come to life. This means that offering a health and wellness program is only as effective as the support that is offered with it.
Everyone needs to be playing with same deck of cards – it’s about culture
Employers need to think of health and wellness programs as an investment – one that’s worth the upfront cost and time. That’s ultimately reflected in a company culture that values health and wellbeing; values the whole person; offers a range of wellbeing tools and resources that are accessible and inclusive to all; and, is actively embraced and modeled by management so that it is far more than just talk or the latest initiative.
So, it’s time to see you and raise you…
Employee health and wellness equals smart business
It’s well-known that retaining an employee costs less than replacing them. So why not invest that money in trying to retain your best assets, your employees? You don’t need countless studies to know that healthy employees take less sick days and generally perform better. It’s also well-known that the millennial and younger working generation value health and wellness more than ever before, and that this is an important factor in the ability to attract, engage and retain talent. It also makes logical sense that when a business expects higher performance and more out of employees than ever before, that that employee’s health and wellness is a key factor in this equation.
So how do we all win?
It’s clear to us that a focus on employee health and wellness makes sense for employers – for more reasons than a simple cost measurement. It’s more than smart business. When a company also considers their most important asset – their people (who are driven by feeling valued) – then developing a culture that values holistic health and wellness makes even more sense. Educating management about the key part they play in this piece means they can model and support staff genuinely. This can truly be a win for all.
So, is a health and wellness program like Active8me a necessity or a perk?
Implementing a health and wellness program like Active8me is a step towards improving your employee wellbeing. It’s a holistic tool that incorporates nutrition, exercise and mindset to enable your employees to improve their physical and mental health anywhere, anytime. More so, you can utilize it beyond simple health measures to support ongoing employee engagement, productivity and loyalty in your business over the long term.
And we hope you now agree – it is not a ‘perk’, but a necessity.