Your business isn’t just the product or service that you sell, but includes the person who sits behind the desk, or stands by the dinner table waiting for an order – your manpower. Regardless of how much infrastructure has allowed businesses to thrive, the employees and workforce has an significant impact on how well your business performs. Often an unwell workforce leads to a reduction in productivity, which impacts the most essential part of the business -the bottom line.

As a result, many smart businesses are beginning to see the importance of wellness programs. While some choose to view employees as disposable manpower, science has shown us that a healthy, satisfied and happy workforce is good for business. Here are some stats to prove just how great wellness programs are.

Wellness programs keep costs down

Over five years, it was seen that employees are generally more affordable and profitable when they participate in wellness programs. The Rand Corporation facilitated a study that found that employees who took part in wellness programs had lower health care costs and health care use, i.e. they didn’t go to the doctor as much. This is because there was an improvement in the frequency of weight control, smoking behaviour and exercise.

Although researchers did also identify that the reduction was not as significant, they noticed that this may be because only 46% of employees undergo some form of wellness evaluation (though most of it is haphazardly implemented) even when there are wellness programs. A failure to evaluate employees’ (mental and physical) wellness was seen to impede on the efficacy of wellness programs, as those who needed intervention where often left out of the picture.

Employees are happier and stay for longer

Wellness programs are also good for company turnover. A 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report found that employees who were offered well implemented wellness programs were happier with their work. They reported feeling satisfied with their jobs and employers, as well as overall benefits.

The report also found that workers who found their jobs satisfying were six times more likely to stay with their employers. What is of most importance is how employers offer their wellness programs and benefits. It was discovered that employers who generally give voluntary benefit options had a higher level of satisfaction from their employees – 41% satisfaction rating for none-voluntary benefits and 55% satisfaction for voluntary options.

Employee programs also help with employee peace of mind

What most employers fail to understand is that the simplest of mental problems such as anxiety can severely impact the business. Employees generally are less productive when they experience anxiety due to an increase in work load, financial insecurity, and a lack of resources.

This in itself results in one in every 20 employees experiencing some form of illness due to anxiety, including ulcers, migraines and even depression. All of this results in a general reduction in well-being as employees turn to unhealthy habits (overeating and or smoking) in order to lower anxiety.

In fact, employee anxiety costs employers over $225.8 billion annually, and one in 8 employees experience it. All of this is can be seen as a result of not having a well-oiled wellness program in place that protects employees from some of the insecurities they face. Hiring new blood often just leads to the same and even higher burnout and costs, as well as a significant turnover.

Looking at ConAgra

But what are numbers if there is no example or practical application?

ConAgra (a food packaging company with manufacturing facilities in the US) has run a well-oiled wellness program for years. According to Charlie Salter, ConAgra’s VP of Human Resources, its wellness programs aim to reduce anxiety around body mass index, cholesterol, and blood pressure, smoking and blood glucose. What the company has found is that employees with just two of these health problems or concerns are 2.5 times less costly than those who have four health concerns. Having a wellness program is a win-win for everyone.

The truth of the matter is that employees like wellness programs, and they’re in fact important to any business. Businesses that offer them are generally seen as being more caring and concerned about their employees, which is one key motivator for an increased productivity. But there is more; offering wellness programs that allow employees to feel relaxed at work can see a 25% reduction in absenteeism, a lower turnover, and higher output. All of this translates to a healthy, sustainable business that thrives even in the toughest of times.


The Rand Corporation