It's that time again. People are continuing to make resolutions for the new year. And, as always, topping most lists are resolutions to exercise more, lose weight, manage stress, and stop smoking.
To encourage this trend, many companies are implementing employee wellness programs. Others are using employee communications to promote the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. Whatever strategy is used, here are just a few of the many benefits that an emphasis on wellness offers to both companies and their people.
- Lower health care costs. No one needs to tell CEOs and owners of small businesses that health care costs are rising faster than almost every other business expense. There are many ways to try to slow this rise, but the one that pays dividends to both companies and their people is an emphasis on wellness.
- Improved ROI. Healthy employees consume less health care and have fewer absences than their less health counterparts. And when they are at work they have more energy and perform at higher levels. This combination of lower health care costs and increased productivity translates into measurable bottom-line benefits. In fact, researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that a comprehensive wellness program can return $3 to $6 for every dollar of investment that a company makes.
- A positive work environment. An emphasis on wellness sends the message to employees that their company cares about them and their health. This sense of being appreciated has been shown to encourage positive interactions with colleagues and managers, improve morale, and build loyalty to the company.
Many companies are implementing comprehensive wellness programs that include health education, health fairs, medical assessments, weight management, fitness programs, and other wellness strategies. If your company is not ready to commit to a comprehensive program, here are a couple of ways to promote wellness - and begin to reap its benefits.
- Employee communications. Consider including articles on wellness in the employee newsletter, and sending out email tips and even tweets to encourage people to make health and fitness a priority in 2012.
- Leading by example. If employees see their CEO or manager walking briskly through the halls or around the building during a lunch break, they'll be more likely to adopt this practice themselves.
In future blogs, I'll share thoughts on choosing and implementing wellness programs - as well as steps small- and mid-sized businesses can take to control their health care costs.
Meanwhile, best wishes from all of us at Mid-State Insurance for a happy and healthy new year.