When sizing up what type of employee programs to implement in your company’s HR plan, what sometimes gets overlooked is a wellness program — and experts agree that this could be a mistake.
According to the American Heart Association, “Poor diet, lack of exercise, and other major risk factors for heart disease and stroke are responsible for at least 25 percent of companies healthcare costs.”
Hallmark Business Connections is a specialized company that creates wellness programs, among other key areas that delve into “connection” on a deeper level.
“We have three areas of focus: employee recognition, customer engagement from a B2B perspective (how can they maintain and flourish the relationships with their clients), and the third is the wellness engagement section,” explains Jennifer Patel, Segment Director of Wellness Engagement at Hallmark Business Connections.
With the emergence of rapid technology, rising costs of healthcare, and the battle for profitability, wellness is more essential than ever. Patel emphasizes why. “Originally, companies who were committed to having wellness in the workplace would have programs, but they wouldn’t necessarily be integrated. Now companies are aligning with their business objectives; they’re looking at how to create this culture of wellness within the organization to support business objectives.”
Because of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiatives, smartphones, and company intranet, Patel says the best way to integrate a wellness program is through usability and accessibility. Hallmark Business Connections creates web-based platforms for their clients — nutritional tracking, educational content, and device integration — all allowing employees to participate at the level that they are comfortable.
“We have access everywhere. It’s now how you drive people to utilize the technology and utilize the activities so they are healthy and getting engaged in the program,” states Patel.
A few ways to further encourage employees to be involved in wellness is by offering financial incentives, group activities, challenges, or giveaways. Patel adds that it’s really important to make the programs fun and interesting in a way that will speak to users and motivate them to act.
Besides the obvious cost-cutting benefits of implementing a wellness program, Hallmark Business Connections also sees the direct impact to each member of a team. “The other pieces [besides cutting costs] are around productivity and the cultural benefits that come from it. People are happier, healthier, and more productive on the job. They’re missing less days. When they’re at work, they’re more present. It certainly reduces health risks, and some of our clients even use wellness as part of recruiting,” says Patel.
This means that fitness and well-being are elements that potential hires seek out, whether it’s access to health club memberships or healthy foods, including a wellness program is a business decision worth investing in for the bottom line — benefitting both management and staff.