As companies start planning their benefits budgets for the new year, it’s important to take a look at the trends in employee benefits. One area that has grown increasingly significant is corporate wellness programs.
While we’ve broken down the research, we wanted to see what experts had to say about corporate wellness programs and more importantly, what they are doing in their organizations to plan for wellness initiatives.
These questions originally appeared on Quora.
Q: Why Would You Invest in Corporate Wellness Programs?
“Most of the studies I have reviewed that question the efficacy of wellness programs and their ROI have health risk assessments and biometric screenings as parts of their program… The reason so many studies include these types of programs is because they are so popular…
…So should companies invest in corporate wellness programs? I say yes, but they should be judicious in what they include…
…First, certain programs do work (lower costs, increase productivity, etc.). For example, I have never seen credible research questioning the benefits of flu shots. Just because certain programs do not work, it doesn’t mean all of them don’t.
Second, healthier employees are happier employees …Great companies invest in their most important asset. Third, many employees want certain types of programs. Wellness and fitness programs are the number one employee-requested digital engagement program…”
Answer provided by: Nick Patel, Founder and President of Wellable
Q: Are Wellness Programs Necessary or Nice to Have?
“In a recent article by the Harvard Business Review, What Great Corporate Wellness Programs Do, the authors stated: …”With 150 million Americans going to work every day, corporate America is not only in the best position to change our nation’s health, but has a responsibility to do so,” …In addition to improving the overall healthcare of a nation, healthy employees are also proven to be more productive and engaged at work.
Sydney Goodfellow says we don’t need employee wellness programs, but society CAN benefit.
Companies like FitBit, BP Canada, Zappos, and Telus are making strides in establishing great wellness programs in their employees…offering incentives for wellness and doing their best to making healthy choices easy and fun.
It will be interesting to see if their bottom-line improves the longer these programs are in place.”
Answer provided by: Sydney Goodfellow, Community Manager at Paysavvy
Q: Which areas in health are failing to be addressed by employee wellness programs?
“I will say the biggest area that is failing is a lack of information. The employer doesn’t know how to help his/her team and then they implement things that are not interesting enough.
There is a cool company I know (the first one of its kind) that offers real analytics on employees wellness. Things like favorite sports, current BMI, health goals, … This information is crazy important for the employer as he/she will be able to then hire the right programs and deliver solutions that engage people and are effective.
The company is called Training Amigo and they are based in NYC.”
Answer provided by: Laura Moreno, host of the Growth Hacking podcast
Q: What are some interesting wellness initiatives to engage and benefit employees other than the normal gym membership, etc.?
“Cycle to work day – All employees are encouraged to cycle one day to work at least once a week / month…
No Lift Day – All employees use staircase only (at least upto 4 floors ) after lunch. This is a good practice for fat burning and helps you not to get sleepy after lunch.
15 Mins Meditation – Like the Morning sales huddle this could be done every friday. While it relaxes from the week’s hectic schedule, also enables to have a stronger concentration and helps teams bond better.”
Answer provided by: Achel Deoda, Business Head of the North and West region for KRDS
Though the impact of wellness initiatives is still a heated discussion, it’s none-the-less one area of employee benefits that is continuing to grow with the trends of the workforce.
As it becomes more difficult to engage employees in some wellness initiatives, it’s up to employers to seek out programs that simultaneously appeal to their workforce and align with their business goals.