Global Employee Health and Fitness Month

by Alyssa Hill, SHRM-CP, Manager, Human Resources Solutions
Published May 6, 2022

Did you know May is “Global Employee Health and Fitness Month?” Employee Wellness Programs – initiatives provided by the employer to help improve overall health of employees as well as avoid illnesses – are a great additional benefit that employers can offer. Wellness Programs can take many shapes from annual health improvement programs providing incentives linked to the accomplishment of identified goals to smaller targeted activities such as smoking cessation, getting a flu shot, or gym membership programs. Other than caring for and helping employees stay healthier, employers implement Employee Wellness Programs for a variety of business-related reasons:

 

  • Lower health insurance costs – Promoting Wellness Programs in the workplace often brings healthy choices to the forefront of employees’ minds. A well-communicated program may remind employees to see their doctor or schedule an annual checkup. Additionally, Wellness Programs often have a visiting nurse as part of their design and, since some people avoid doctors, interactions with the nurse may be the only time a health care professional is accessed all year. Having this interaction could catch something before it escalates, which could help avoid major surgery and significant medical bills down the road.

 

  • Reducing workplace injuries and workers' compensation / disability-related costs – Health and safety often go hand in hand. If health is discussed often in conjunction with the Wellness Program, there will likely be more awareness of taking care of one’s body in general. Employee’s might not risk working in an unsafe manner if they are reminded to treat their body well. Wellness Programs can also have a focus on safe lifting and other helpful techniques which may resonate with employees. Throughout the Wellness Program, employees may notice ailments sooner and correct them before they escalate, which, again, can save money on expensive bills and time off work.

 

  • Reducing absenteeism and increasing employee productivity - Wellness Programs focus on a variety of different health options. Some of these programs can focus on healthy sleeping habits, stress reducers, or financial wellness. Having a formal education about such topics that can help with their personal lives, absenteeism is often reduced, and increased productivity can be linked with better health.

 

Many organizations are evaluating their benefit offerings as they try to stay competitive in a tight labor market. An employer’s investment in a Wellness Program to enhance employee health and well-being may help reduce costs but, if properly communicated, it does not go unnoticed. Wellness Plans can save money while helping to increase employee morale and commitment. If you are unsure whether your organization is offering the right benefits, TEA can help! TEA recently published its’ Policy and Benefits survey with solid data that will help you benchmark your organization’s benefits against other employers in the West Michigan region. For example, the survey uncovered that 53% of companies surveyed offered some type of Wellness Plan. Please contact TEA at 616-698-1167 or visit our website here for information on Wellness Programs OR TEA’s benchmark survey information.