HR Managers know that a sick or unhealthy employee is an unproductive employee, which is why so many companies have turned to workplace wellness activities to improve employee health, motivation and productivity. In these tough economic times, getting employees to work harder and better is the key to many a company’s survival.
According to a study by Principal Financial "Well-Being Index: American Workers," 62 percent of workers say workplace-wellness activities can improve health and reduce health risks, a jump from 55 percent in 2011.
The simple truth is that employees enrolled in workplace-wellness programs are more energetic and motivated. More than half of employees actively involved in these programs say they’re inclined to work harder, adding that they have more energy to be productive at work.
“As wellness programs become more established in the workplace, we are seeing a growing number of employees appreciate—and expect—that their employer offers these benefits,” said Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company, a subsidiary of the Principal Financial Group. “In the wake of the financial crisis, which has left many companies stretched thin, maintaining a productive workforce is a priority for organizations.”
Employer-sponsored wellness programs also encourage employees to stay put, with almost half saying that such a program would keep them from leaving the job—more so last year than the year before. Roughly the same results were noted regarding absenteeism, with nearly half indicating that wellness programs have resulted in fewer missed days of work.
While the trend is growing, work still needs to be done. Slightly more than a third of workers fail to enroll in any wellness programs offered by their employers. To get more employees to participate, some companies have turned to incentives. One-fifth of employers now include encouragement by managers, reduced health insurance premiums, and taking off work to participate. While more than a third of workers noted that their employers offer no encouragement to participate in wellness benefits, the trend is up from the previous three years, when nearly half said their employers did nothing to encourage their participation in such programs.
Employees who participated in the survey noted a number of specific employer incentives for joining an employer-sponsored wellness program. These include employer contributions into a health savings account or health reimbursement account; gift certificates or discounts; and additional paid time off from work. The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive, between Oct. 30 and Nov. 7, 2012, among 1,103 employees.
As an HR manager, you know the value of a healthy, motivated employee. Instituting an employer-sponsored wellness program and getting employees enrolled in the program should be a top priority in these tough economic times. Check out these tips on How To Build A Wellness Program for your company.
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