If you are a part of an organization that has any type of wellness program, consider yourself very fortunate. Before we proceed, let us define wellness.
According to Dictionary.com, Wellness means “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.” Another definition is “an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.”
Both definitions are applicable to the workplace. The first definition can be viewed as a standard definition whereas the second definition opens the possibility of more wellness components.
Many traditional wellness programs include initiatives such as: Employee Assistance Program (also known as EAP), Flu shot program, smoking-cessation program, health risk assessments, health screenings, wellness competitions/fitness challenges, disease management program, health coaching, healthy food choices, and weight-loss management programming. No doubt these initiatives deal with prevention and in some cases intervention, however, many workplace wellness programs are beginning to address the total person by adding additional initiatives.
Adding these additional initiates will increase employee engagement particularly for those that for various reasons do not or have not participated in the traditional wellness programming. It also adds value to the wellness program overall.
A 2015 wellness survey conducted by The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) “59 percent offer wellness primarily to invest in/increase worker health and engagement, while 41 percent primarily aim to control/reduce health-related costs. As organizations embrace both traditional and nontraditional wellness initiatives, it is clear that their efforts are creating results.” (para. 6).
This same survey noted that of organizations that had analyzed the ROI (Return On Investment) as it relates to wellness programming, particularly the nontraditional wellness initiatives, “54% said wellness efforts have improved engagement, 45% said wellness efforts reduced absenteeism, and 38% said wellness efforts have positively affected their organization’s overall bottom line.” (para.9).
These are significant numbers. This shows that workplace wellness-whether traditional, non-traditional, or blended affects the bottom line in a positive manner.
According to The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans, Inc., there will be a future emphasis of the following wellness offerings (the following is not an exclusive list): financial education, mental health/stress-related offerings, health literacy education, community charity drives to name a few.
In conclusion, the more wellness offerings whether traditional, nontraditional, or blended that the employer offers, the better off the organization will be: less turnover, decreased absenteeism, decreased disengagement, increased engagement, positive morale, and a healthy workplace overall!
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. (2015 February 17). Nontraditional Wellness Initiatives Emerging Among Workplaces. Retrieved from https://www.ifebp.org/aboutus/pressroom/releases/Pages/NontraditionalWellnessInitiativesEmergingAmongWorkplaces.aspx
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. (n.d.). Workplace Wellness. Retrieved from https://www.ifebp.org/bookstore/workplacewellness/Pages/default.aspx
Dictionary.com. (n.d.). Wellness. Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/wellness
Joan C. Smith is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.