Like most business owners facing rising premiums, you are looking for strategic ways to decrease your group health insurance costs. Implementing a company wellness program is one option to consider. Not only will your bottom line look healthier – your employees will too!
Benefits of a Wellness Program for Your Business:
- Greater employee productivity – According to a 2010 study by Doctors Richard Milani and Carl Lavie, of the employees listed as a high risk at the beginning of a six-month wellness program, 57% were converted to low-risk status by the end of the program. This saved the company $1,421 per participant in medical claims costs.
- Healthy employees stay with the company – Software firm SAS Institute reported a 4% turnover rate thanks to their wellness program.
- Higher morale – Companies find employees who participate in a successful wellness program have a more positive outlook. Employees also feel their company is more committed to them.
- Workplace wellness helps curb costs – A 2010 study in the journal Health Affairs showed that wellness programs reduce medical cost by $3.27 and absenteeism by $2.73 for every dollar spent on the wellness program.
Wellness programs provide obvious benefits to employees by helping them adopt a healthy lifestyle through programs like:
- Biometric screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, etc.)
- Personal health coaching
- Group wellness classes
- Incentive-based health programs
Implementing a Wellness Program
You’ve decided to take advantage of the benefits outlined above, but where do you go from here? The following are some items to consider when implementing a wellness program:
- Be Budget Conscious – Research costs and be realistic about budget vs. value of service. Understand that, while biometric screenings comprise the majority of your budget, they provide two positives for program: Screenings provide quantitative information that helps you measure the program’s success, and employees use these screenings to let them know where to begin making positive changes or maintaining healthy behaviors.
- Gain Leadership Support – While building a wellness program requires input from everyone, it is important to gain buy-in from leadership first. Work with your middle management and corporate level leaders to set goals for creating a healthy work culture. Their support will help you create clear and realistic wellness program expectations for the first couple of years.
- Know Your Audience – A successful wellness program reflects the needs and desires of your employees. Send out a survey to your employees for feedback on what they would want from a wellness program. Sample questions could include: What incentives would motivate you to make healthy changes in your lifestyle? Would individual and/or group coaching help you? What activities would encourage you to participate?
- Plan Programs with Impact – When planning your wellness program, be reasonable about the time and complexity for employees. If the program is confusing or takes too much time, employees are less likely to participate. Form programs based off employee feedback, but focus them around the biometric screening information employees receive at the beginning of the program. Also, because 20% of employees will cost 80% of the company’s healthcare costs, provide health coaching for those higher risk employees.
- Measure, Reward, and Celebrate Success – Use biometric screening feedback to provide hard data showing employees’ health and wellness progress. Also, use surveys to get employee feedback, so you can adjust the program to fit their needs. At each year-end—and along the way—celebrate the successes employees achieve in improving wellness. Offer incentives along the way, and publicly congratulate employees when they reach their milestones. Work with a local gym to offer discounts on membership fees for your employees. You’ll be amazed how these incentives encourage employees to achieve success.
Providing a wellness program offers great benefits for both employees and businesses. For more information on designing and implementing a wellness program for your employees, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.663.4138. We’ll help put your business on the path to healthy success.