Benefits, Employee Relations, Human Resources, Leadership, Performance

Wellness Programs….They Do A Company Good Too!

WellnessIt’s not the latest corporate “fad” or a substitute for performance raises.  Wellness Programs truly are a tool for companies to use to increase productivity among their employees and decrease health care costs…and more should be embracing it!

Baseline Magazine did a recent study with the following facts (and the numbers might surprise you!):   70% of employers are currently offering some sort of Wellness Program

       85% of employers are offering Flu Shots at no cost to their employees

       79.9% of employers pay for employee Health Screenings

       52.5% of employers offer a Weight Management Program

       67.5% of employers offer a Smoking Cessation Program

       58.6% of employers have walking/fitness challenges (including company-sponsored teams for 5K walks and marathons)

       36.4% of employers have an on-site fitness center

So you’re first reaction is going to be: “Sure, the big corporations can afford to spend that kind of money on their employees…not the small businesses.”  Well, hate to break it to you – but you would be wrong.

Will it mean some upfront costs by the employer? Sometimes…

Will the company reap the benefits of this “wellness program” right away? No…but it WILL in time.

The biggest challenge in benefits every year is tackling the always rising insurance costs.  How do we keep them down?  Maybe change insurance companies, maybe raise the deductibles, maybe switch to a lower plan….always a headache coming up with different options to look at just to keep the cost of offering insurance to our employees (regardless of whether the company pays for it or the employee does) at a managing amount.

Insurance companies look at various factors during your renewal and compare them to the “national average” that they have set up: # of office visits, # of urgent care visits, # of ER visits, pharmacy costs, etc.  When employees aren’t taking care of their health, they are visiting the doctor more and getting more prescriptions.  So…if a company helps an employee pay attention to their health, the assumption is the number of visits and costs will go down – hence, keeping your annual renewal from skyrocketing!

Now – back to the “cost to the company” argument: Did you know that many of the insurance carriers are now offering some of these programs FREE to your employees??  That’s right – call them right now and ask.  Health Screenings, Weight Management Programs, Smoking Cessation…yep, that knocks 3 of the 6 off the list.  Flu Shots are generally offered at a discount for groups of 20 or more by local clinics and even the pharmacy chains…some will even come on-site to do them!  By starting these now, by next renewal you will see a drop in visits and claims…which will help your renewal cost.

And of course there’s the “employee morale” angle – especially with the Walk/Run fitness challenges.  There are so many of these that go on in every city, why not get your employees involved – works towards strengthening their teamwork skills and gives them pride.

No more excuses…add a Wellness Program to your company’s portfolio of benefits.

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