The Business Benefits of Employee Wellbeing

Wellbeing has become a hot topic, and many people are rating companies based on how well they support all types of well-being, from physical and cognitive well-being to emotional health and mental health. .

Organizations are striving to keep up with the trend so they can provide positive work experiences and attract and retain talent. But global data demonstrates that they may not be doing enough and that wellness strategies are essential to their competitive advantage, costs, performance and productivity.

The argument is compelling and businesses have a critical time frame to respond to see positive impacts on people and businesses.

Yoga office workers
Office workers practice yoga. Prioritizing employee well-being can help a business in many ways.
iStock/Getty Images

The wellness challenge

Well-being is often defined as physical health. Traditional approaches start with simple health assessments and also encourage exercise, quitting smoking, and improving eating habits.

But truly effective approaches to wellness include a wide variety of approaches, from mental health and financial health, to supporting family systems (think child care or pet care), to social benefits , insurance, leadership practices and affinity groups.

Unfortunately, wellness strategies are especially needed because so many people are struggling. Between 44 percent and 38 percent of people say they are overworked or exhaustedaccording to a survey of 5,000 people carried out by Muse. They lack satisfaction or joy and do not feel appreciated. For 47 percent of those surveyed, stress is the main contributor to their negative experiences.

Additionally, 63 percent of people living in a survey conducted by Monster reported mental health as poor (35 percent) or fair (28 percent). And 7% of respondents said their company wasn’t doing enough to demonstrate its commitment to wellness.

Employers will likely need to do more. This is a great opportunity, for people and businesses.

Why leaders should invest in employee well-being

Fortunately, there is strong support for employee well-being. A global survey carried out by Gym Pass found that 90 percent of U.S. respondents said their leaders value employee well-being, considering it important for employee satisfaction (92 percent), retention (90 percent). percent) and acquisition (88 percent).

Employees also believe that well-being is essential, with 83% saying it is just as important as their salary. But alignment is key. According to data from Lightened.

So how do companies justify investing in wellbeing and make the case for sustainable engagement? The data is clear.

To stay competitive

90% of HR leaders who measure the impact of wellness initiatives see a positive ROI from programs and 85% of senior executives view this as a competitive advantage, according to Gympass data.

But companies will need to work harder to stay ahead of those that also offer wellness programs. According to a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotionbetween 60% and 92% of employers offer health promotion programs.

And the larger the employer, the more likely they are to offer wellness solutions. Most programs in the study focused on physical wellness, with nearly 30% emphasizing fitness, 19% offering tobacco reduction programs, and 17% providing support for management programs. weight.

Certainly one of the biggest reasons to offer wellness programs is to differentiate yourself as an employer brand and improve the overall employee value equation.

To help people work better

Wellness programs are also correlated with greater productivity. A fascinating study published in Management science When companies took steps to support the health and well-being of their employees, they achieved a 5% increase in productivity, the equivalent of one additional day of production per month.

The study found that wellness programs contributed to productivity by improving employee satisfaction and gratitude, which in turn affected their motivation. The strategies also made a difference to productivity by increasing the capabilities of individuals, through improved physical and mental well-being.

The Gympass study also provides proof that well-being contributes to employee satisfaction. In fact, globally, 88% of HR managers said a wellness program is very or extremely important to employee satisfaction and 98% of HR managers saw an improvement in employee satisfaction after the deployment of their well-being programs.

People have an instinct to matter and contribute to their community, and work is a great place to feel useful and the meaning. Humans also tend to behave on the basis of reciprocity: you do something for me and I do something for you.

As a result, part of the effectiveness of wellness programs lies in showing that companies care. In return, employees put more effort into their performance and have a greater sense of esteem.

To attract and retain the best talent

One of the most obvious links between wellness programs and positive ROI is data related to attraction and retention. It is one of the most competitive job markets ever, with companies having trouble finding, hiring, and retaining great people.

Sixty-two percent of executives say they struggle to recruit and retain employees, according to data from Side. And the demand will only increase. Forty-eight percent of companies plan to increase their workforce, according to View.

According to the Gympass survey, 73% of employees would only consider joining companies that focus on employee well-being. And 85% are more likely to keep their job when their employer is focused on well-being.

Globally, HR leaders agree, with 79% saying wellness programs are important for retention. Additionally, 78% say this approach is essential to talent acquisition.

Your wellness strategies are important to implement, but they are also important to communicate as part of the process of attracting, recruiting and retaining the best and brightest people.

To reduce costs

Wellness programs increase everything from productivity to satisfaction and attraction. But wellness-based approaches can also help reduce things like costs and sick days.

In fact, 85 percent of U.S. respondents in the Gympass survey said they saw a reduction in sick days, by 25 percent. Among those surveyed in the United States, 75 percent saw a drop in health care costs. In the United States, 83% of executives believe that wellness programs are an effective cost-cutting measure.

Investments in well-being are smart in terms of benefits to people, but they are also smart in terms of benefits to the business through cost reduction.

How to act for the well-being of employees

When you implement a wellness program, you can achieve success in several ways.

First, you can start small. There are few wrong answers about how you act to increase well-being. If you’re just starting out, you can implement one or two solutions and then build over time.

Perhaps you’ll start with physical wellness programs and add new programs over time based on employee feedback. You can also make sure you effectively communicate the options available to people when it comes to wellness programs, from the office walking club to the emotional support group for new parents.

Second, you can take a holistic approach. While you may start with physical wellness, you’ll also want to move to a broader view of wellness. The best programs offer people a variety of options that range from physical to cognitive to emotional. For example, you can include emotional support such as mental health counseling.

Third, track and measure results. The focus on wellness is likely not an incident but a long-term trend. Therefore, you will need data on which investments are most important to your employees and which provide the best returns on investment for your business.

The opportunities for positive impacts on people are enormous and you can also have significant effects on the organization. The key will be to act and move forward with intention.


About the Author

Tracy Brower holds a Ph.D. sociologist studying the future of work, professional and personal fulfillment and happiness. She is the author of Secrets of happiness at work And Bring work to life. She is vice president of workplace insights at Steelcase and a board member of the United Way, as well as an executive advisor to several organizations. Tracy’s work has been translated into 19 languages. You can find her at tracybrower.com, LinkedIn or any of the other popular social networks.


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