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Why Employee Wellness Programs Matter

Employee wellness has been a topic of conversation for a number of years now.  However, many companies see it as a sideline topic that HR handles and not a central part of the business or company culture.  But this attitude could be hindering your company more than you know.

Why is employee wellness so important?  Because wellness and employee engagement go hand-in-hand.  A Gallup study reported that 62% of engaged employees feel their work positively affects their physical health – vs. just 22% of actively disengaged employees.  On the flip side, 54% of disengaged employees say their work life has a negative effect on their health.

Disengaged employees cost organizations money.  Gallup found that actively disengaged employees cost their organizations $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary, or 34%.  Some reports suggest that up to 87% of workers are disengaged from their jobs – so this issue is not something that should be ignored.

So how can corporate wellness programs help drive employee engagement?  There are several areas where wellness programs have a positive impact:

Stronger Work Relationships

Work relationships have a strong influence on employee well-being.  However, as noted in one of my previous blog posts, workplace loneliness is a growing problem in this country.  Wellness programs offer employees opportunities for social connections.  Whether through walking clubs, group fitness classes or group wellness challenges, employees are able to connect with their peers at a different and deeper level.

Healthier Behaviors

Wellness programs support and promote healthy habits, such as better nutrition, more sleep, stress relief strategies, etc.  These better habits positively impact a worker’s mood, attitude and happiness.  In addition, employees are more likely to be engaged workers when they work for a company that nurtures a strong culture of wellness.

Less Stress

Workplace stress is one of the biggest threats to employee engagement.  Wellness programs can help reduce stress levels by offering benefits like stress management workshops, meditation groups and chair massages.  Companies can’t eliminate all the stress that comes with a job, but they can provide the tools to help workers better manage it.

Improved Mental Well-Being

Employees cannot be fully engaged with their work if they are dealing with mental and emotional health issues.  Wellness programs can offer mental health education, resources and support to help employees deal with these issues, allowing them to be more fully engaged during work hours.

Higher Morale

Employee morale has a direct correlation with employee engagement.  Companies with low morale have employees that are disengaged and often looking to work elsewhere.  Wellness programs can combat morale problems by created a company culture that brings workers together as they achieve wellness goals. 

Building a culture of wellness is not just setting up a few seminars and adding fruit to the break room.  It requires a consistent effort and a focus on many different physical & mental health factors.  However, the results are well worth it as properly implemented wellness programs can play a vital role in improving employee engagement.  Happy and healthy employees are your company’s greatest resources!

By Ann Condon - Communication Manager, E.A. Dion, Inc.