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Employee Wellness Programs: Benefits, examples and best practices

Team AckoSept 1, 2022

Wellness has become quite a buzzword among corporations around the globe. Employers are actively investing in improving the wellness quotient of their employees via Employee Wellness Programs. But is this just a phase? Or have such programs become a necessity in the pandemic-affected world? Read ahead to understand how wellness programs can benefit your employees and your company.

Employee Wellness Programs

What are Employee Wellness Programs?

Employee Wellness Programs are initiatives taken by employers to enable a healthy lifestyle for their employees. There are different kinds of initiatives that fall in the category of wellness programs. Such programs are offered with the goal of improving the physical and mental well-being of employees and are known to increase productivity. 

Importance of Employee Wellness Programs

A holistic wellness program can enhance the overall quality of an employee’s life. The following are the key areas of wellness that make such programs important at workplaces.

Types of well-being Importance
Physical Promoting good health with initiatives related to optimal nutrition, sleep and exercise.
Emotional Ensuring a positive emotional state with mental well-being initiatives.
Financial Enabling financial stability for employees by improving their financial literacy.
Social Helping employees build social networks to improve cross-team engagement and team cohesion.
Occupational Encouraging programs that boost work-life balance, job fulfilment and satisfaction.
Intellectual Offering intellectual growth by initiating community, cultural, and scholastic activities.

Examples of Employee Wellness Programs

Here are some of the common examples of Employee Wellness Programs provided by several companies.

1. Mental health assistance 

It is a mental wellness program that offers support for employees suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, etc. Here, professional guidance is provided confidentially and outside the premises of the workplace. It helps employees to tackle their personal and professional issues. 

Professionally-conducted guidance sessions can assist employees in reaching their full potential. It also shows a higher level of empathy from an employer to the team, which boosts confidence and satisfaction associated with working at an organisation. 

2. Healthy meals and snacks

The goal of this initiative is to promote healthy eating habits. Providing healthy meal and snack choices at workplace cafeterias can help to improve employees’ health. Moreover, there should be enough time during the lunch break, so employees don’t look for fast-food options to quickly finish eating. A lunch break of about 60 minutes will encourage communal eating as well, which can brew cross-team conversations. 

3. Fitness activities

A desk job usually means sitting in one place for long hours. Hence, it is important for employees to find activities that help them move around and exercise. Companies can set up or arrange access to gyms, fitness centres, and sports sections for that purpose. During breaks or after work, employees can indulge in the activities of their choice, which will improve their physical and mental health.

4. Community service

Volunteering for community service can make people satisfied and happy. So, employers can also think about organising such activities as a part of Employee Wellness Programs. Similarly, companies can give the option for employees to initiate voluntary activities for causes they are passionate about. 

Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs

At first glance, it might be difficult to notice any tangible advantages of running wellness programs at your company. But on a closer look, you will find several of them. Here are some of the key benefits of Employee Wellness Programs. 

1. Better employee health

Promoting healthy eating and exercising can help to reduce health-related risks in employees. The reduction in health risks allows employees to save money on healthcare costs every year. 

2. Higher productivity

Well-being programs can enable peace of mind and enhance physical fitness in employees. Such programs can also reduce the chances of acute and chronic diseases and promote harmony, thereby making employees more productive. Higher productivity leads to better career growth for an employee and long-term profits for an organisation. 

3. Improved engagement

A business establishment can increase employee engagement with wellness programs. The activities associated with well-being have the potential to build a stronger relationship between internal teams as well as between employees and employers. Hence, employees can feel more engaged and motivated to go the extra mile for the organisation. 

4. Reduction in absenteeism

Taking care of employees’ wellness can help to decrease absenteeism. Healthy employees are less likely to take leaves due to work stress or health issues. 

5. Higher employee morale

The empathy and appreciation shown by employers via wellness programs can make employees feel valued. This sense of value helps boost morale leading to an enthusiastic work environment. 

6. Better employee retention

Employee wellness programs can be a good investment to retain talent at your company. The health offerings and engaging environment are key factors when employees compare their organisation with another. Hence, wellness plans can promote employee loyalty for your business. 

7. Improved work culture

The higher engagement and productivity achieved with wellness plans enable a positive work culture. It can create a friendly environment with strengthened relationships, which is essential to lead an organisation to success. 

8. Quality recruitment

The recruitment process has become highly competitive. But an employer can stand out from the competition by showcasing Employee Wellness Programs as a unique benefit. It can help to attract talent and successfully hire them. Moreover, the existing employees also tend to promote a company via word of mouth due to the benefits they receive. 

Best practices associated with Employee Wellness Programs

Once you understand the benefits of Employee Wellness Programs, it is time to design a successful program for your organisation. Here are some of the best practices to come up with a rewarding wellness program for your employees.

1. Talk to your employees

An internal survey would go a long way in understanding the wellness initiatives your employees find valuable. You can talk to the employees about their health goals, including physical and emotional health. Talk about which programs they need during working hours and which initiatives are required after working hours. 

2. Select wellness leaders

In this step, you need to select champions who can lead your wellness programs in the company. These leaders need to work as per the measurable objectives set by the management. From implementation to monitoring, they should take care of the entire program.

3. Offer rewards for participants

You can offer rewards and incentives to motivate participants and encourage more individuals to participate. These rewards can be given for achieving wellness goals in the form of gifts, shopping vouchers, etc. 

4. Communicate and promote 

The success of a wellness program depends on how engaging it is. You can use direct conversations, a web page, posters, emailers, signage and other forms of communication to promote the wellness program. It would be wise to decide on a team that answers the queries that employees may have regarding the program.

5. Measure results

Probably the most important practice is measuring the results of your program. For example, one of the goals of such a program could be to reduce the attrition rate. At the end of a year, the wellness program can be judged on this parameter. You can conduct surveys, have one-on-one conversations and check the percentage of participation to figure out the program’s success. Such an evaluation will help you learn and determine new goals for the future. 

Wellness Programs and health insurance for employees

New-age Group Health Insurance Policies also offer wellness benefits. As a result, several people-centric organisations are purchasing such holistic health insurance policies for their employees.

ACKO’s Group Medical Cover (GMC) can be a great employee wellness initiative for your company. You can take care of the physical, mental, and even financial aspects of employee health with this cover. Here are the key benefits of ACKO’s GMC that will support your employee wellness initiatives. 

  • Ability to set up fitness goals and track activities using a mobile app.

  • Rewards for completing fitness challenges.

  • Consultation with nutritionists to prepare an everyday diet plan.

  • Virtual doctor consultations for timely treatment.

  • Discounts on lab tests and medicines.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions and their answers about Employee Wellness Programs.

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Do I really need wellness programs if my team is small?

For a small business, it becomes all the more important to retain valuable employees to smoothly run the company. Wellness programs not only help with employee retention but improve their health, productivity, and morale. Hence, it would be beneficial to opt for selective wellness programs even if you have a small team.

How can I encourage my employees to participate in wellness programs?

Here are the four pillars of encouraging employees for wellness programs.

  • Support from leadership

  • Effective communication

  • A committee to help employees

  • Participation incentives

What kinds of wellness programs should I begin with for my employees?

Health is the primary factor associated with employee wellness. Hence, you can initiate programs that help employees to improve and maintain their physical and mental health in their everyday lifestyle. 

Can I save money with wellness programs?

The improved physical and mental health of employees attained via wellness programs can help save money in the long run for an organisation. For example, if employees remain loyal, employers don’t have to spend too much on recruitment initiatives and thereby save money.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet and is subject to changes. Please go through the applicable policy wordings for updated ACKO-centric content before making any insurance-related decisions.

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