Introduction to Workplace Wellness Initiatives
Risky health behaviors by staff members cost a company. Changing those behaviors can save the employer money and increase the staff member’s productivity.
Because work gives an staff member a stable setting and support system, Workplace Wellness Initiatives can have a great impact on reducing high-risk behaviors. This impact results in reduce health claims cost, less rates of absenteeism, and less short-term disability.
Workplace Wellness Initiatives can include:
Awareness Rasing Activities: Health and wellness newsletters, health topics covered in payroll stuffers, healthy emails.
Health Risk Assessment: Employee health screenings, wellness fairs, health risk appraisals.
Educational Programs: Lunch and Learn wellness presentations, guest speakers at staff meetings.
Skill Building: Healthy cooking demostrations, activity challenges, CPR instruction opportunites, stress management classes, weight management classes.
Interventions: Massage, tobacco cessation, and skills to help you get the most out of your doctor visit.
Physical environment: Healthy items in the vending machines and cafeterias, clean air practices, ergonomics, bike racks, flex time, welllit stairways.
Evaluation: Worker needs assessment, baseline Corporate Health Promotion Initiative assessment measures, ongoing Corporate Health Promotion Initiative assessment of overall effectiveness.
Why Offer Workplace Wellness Initiatives
The typical employer spends about $8,000 a year on an employee’s healthcare. This includes health insurance, disability and worker’s compensation. As these costs climb, health insurance is expected to rise at least 10 percent per year.
A 1999 research study showed that companies using Workplace Wellness Initiatives had a ROI from $1.49 – $13 in benefits per dollar spent. The amount depended on the nature of the Workplace Wellness Initiatives used. (S. Aldana, American Journal of Wellness, 2001; 15:296-320)
One research study showed that a “stop smoking” element to Workplace Wellness Initiatives can save between $404 -$40,829 per employee, depending on the age and sex of the staff member.
The Workplace Wellness Initiatives at Traveler’s Company included a self-care book, a newsletter, single-topic brochures, and videotapes. The Workplace Wellness Initiatives saved the company $7.8 million in employee benefi t costs, decreased doctor visits, and it decreased rates of absenteeism by 1.2 days per staff member per year. The estimated Workplace Wellness Initiatives ROI was $3.40 per dollar spent.
In 1998, the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) reported a study of 46,026 staff members from six large organizations for three years. Staff Members with an inactive lifestyle had 10 percent higher costs; staff members with depression had 70 percent higher costs.
Benefits of Workplace Wellness Initiatives
Improved Productivity – The Canada Life Assurance Company realized a 4 percent rise in productivity after beginning an employee fitness program.
Improved Job Satisfaction – According to employee opinion surveys conducted by the Silverstone Group about thier Workplace Wellness Programs, staff members’ morale improved, which helped support a more creative work setting.
Improved Recruitment & Retention – In the midst of a tight labor market, Workplace Wellness Initiatives could be a vital tool to draw new recruits.
Decreased Absenteeism – Canada Life Assurance Company’s rates of absenteeism dropped 42 percent among staff members in the Workplace Wellness Programs.
Decreased Workers Comp & Disability – In one year, Boeing Company’s number of back injuries decreased by 34 percent. Six million dollars was saved by tracking injuries as they occurred.
Managed Healthcare Costs – Golden, Colorado Adolf Coors Company’s Workplace Wellness Initiatives returned $6.19 for each dollar spent.