Summer is a great time to get outside and get moving! Implementing an employee wellness program is a great way to not only encourage your employees to take advantage of summer’s opportunities, but also improve the health of your business…one step at a time.
Why should you implement a company wellness program?
Companies in the U.S. can use wellness programs to help offset their health care costs. The expense of an employer-provided wellness program for employees is deductible as a business expense on a business’s federal taxes, and new programs continue to evolve proposing incentives and credits as the median US population ages.
Many states also offer tax credits to businesses that implement employee wellness programs. A tax credit reduces your tax bill directly, which is usually more valuable than a tax deduction (which reduces your taxable income).
In the US, healthier employees save money on medical claims, which translates to lower insurance premiums. For example, one study detailed results from a random sample of 185 workers and their spouses:
The participants were not heart patients, but they received cardiac rehabilitation and exercise training from an expert team. Of those classified as high risk when the study started (according to body fat, blood pressure, anxiety, and other measures), 57% were converted to low-risk status by the end of the six-month program. Furthermore, medical claim costs had declined by $1,421 per participant, compared with those from the previous year. A control group showed no such improvements. The bottom line: Every dollar invested in the intervention yielded $6 in health care savings.
Because of this, many health care insurance companies offer credits or incentives to companies which institute successful employee wellness programs.
Even in nationalized health care countries, healthy employees mean fewer lost days to illness. And employees who adopt healthier habits take those habits home, and can improve their family’s health as well – resulting in fewer days lost to care for family members’ illnesses. Reduced absence cuts costs to cover absent workers’ shifts (overtime or temporary/replacement workers) as well as improving worker consistency and productivity.
Workplace health programs can reduce “presenteeism” - the extent to which health symptoms, conditions, and diseases adversely affect the work productivity of individuals who come to work despite their illness or poor health.
Depression and stress are major sources of lost productivity in the workplace. Exercise has been proven to reduce both, but the best wellness programs also incorporate counseling and mental health services for all aspects of psychological well-being. This can include assisting employees with life changes such as divorce, serious illness, death, and grief, as well as handling other stresses such as child rearing, relocation, caring for aging parents or other family members. Happier employees are more productive, which can improve your company's bottom line while reducing its expenses.
The U.S. National Business Group on Health reported that organizations with highly effective wellness programs report significantly lower voluntary employee attrition rates than those whose programs have low effectiveness (9% vs. 15%). If wellness programs that improve the health and welfare of employees reduce attrition, they also help reduce your costs to recruit, hire, and train new workers – and your human capital is your most valuable business asset.
Bottom line? A healthy workforce = a healthy business. Improve your workplace health with an employee wellness plan this summer and beyond.
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Find out more about the benefits of an integrated HR & payroll system by downloading our FREE eBook about StarGarden HCM software, below, or by contacting us at www.stargarden.com.