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Why Wellness Programs Are A Key Recruiting Tool Today

Wellness |
Written by Dell Dorn

May 13, 2015 | Humana Inc.

 

Wellness programs offer a variety of benefits, from decreasing healthcare costs to reducing absenteeism. Now, aiding recruitment efforts is fast becoming another benefit to these programs. In fact, nearly nine out of 10 employees say they consider wellness benefits when considering an employer.1

Nearly nine out of 10 employees say they consider wellness benefits when considering an employer.

So what’s sparking this interest in wellness? Our computer-centered work habits mean we sit so much during the day that we’re at greater risk for various diseases, like obesity and heart disease.2 These factors have made health and wellness a part of the national conversation today.

Wellness programs are also a natural outgrowth of an emerging cultural emphasis on work-life balance. Half of all full-time employees over age eighteen work more than forty hours a week, not including commute times.3  Less time equates to fewer opportunities for workers to exercise, see a doctor or practice stress management. This time crunch can backfire on employers. Studies have shown a marked dip in productivity when employees don’t eat well or exercise regularly.4

 

Get the message out about your culture of wellness

Wellness is woven into the workday at firms that successfully create a corporate culture that emphasizes employee well-being. At Hallmark, for example, workers eating in the cafeteria can view nutritional information for their food. The company’s “Let’s Do Dinner” program offers healthy meals that can be taken home.5 At General Electric, employees have access to the NowClinic tool, where employees can video-chat with doctors any time.6 And while these offerings would be attractive for job seekers too, only a quarter of organizations leverage their benefits programs to recruit employees.7  Most employers view benefits — and wellness programs in particular — as a way to retain workers, not necessarily attract them. But they’re missing an opportunity.

Only a quarter of organizations leverage their benefits programs to recruit employees.

The Cleveland Clinic has a site where potential employees could browse their wellness offerings, as well as an online video of employees talking about all the wellness options they have at the company.8 Wisconsin-based Epic Systems dedicates part of its web space to “Life at Epic” to promotes its Ultimate Frisbee and basketball games, Epicycles for bike riding, and culinary team that prepares fresh food for employees.9  Zappos offers a similar glimpse of its perks via “Life at Zappos,” a web page that talks about the company’s yoga room, gym, green-space backyard and ping pong tables.10

For these firms, making their wellness programs part of their public images both promotes a company culture and adds to their appeal to job seekers. For someone contemplating whether to work for a particular organization, the presence of an in-office gym, softball team or regular yoga classes may influence that decision.

For companies that haven’t gotten on the benefits bandwagon yet, there are opportunities for improvement. For example, while only three percent of organizations are using social media to communicate about employee benefits, eight percent intend to start using it within the next year.11 Taking wellness seriously as a recruiting tool requires dedicating some resources to promotion— such as a team to create online content to sell your company’s healthy culture.

 

Does size matter?

Wellness programs can be especially important for smaller companies that may not be able to compete on salary alone.  In fact, small businesses with 50 to 100 workers were more likely than their larger counterparts to agree that wellness programs are important for recruiting and retaining employees, according to a survey by the National Small Business Association and Humana.

Wellness programs are also a key component in keeping Healthcare cost down. Studies show a wellness program can reduce healthcare costs, worker compensation expenses, disability management claims and absenteeism by 25% each.12 For smaller companies, these savings can be funneled back into the business, to help retain and attract new employees.

A wellness program can reduce healthcare costs, worker compensation expenses, disability management claims and absenteeism by 25% each.

Not only can a wellness program can make a smaller company’s compensation package more competitive, but the impact of not having a wellness program is felt more acutely as well. For small companies one employee’s prolonged absence strains resources more significantly than it would at a large enterprise.13

 

If you’ve got it, flaunt it

Companies recognize it’s in their best interest to keep workers healthy, and many offer wellness benefits to help achieve that, yet few promote their initiatives outside their own four walls.  In the end, wellness programs are just one piece of a company’s benefits package, but could be the piece that tips the scale in your favor.

That said, getting into the wellness game is getting easier: Healthcare insurance plans increasingly offer workplace wellness components – and some even extend premium discounts for participation.

Wellness programs can show employees they matter.  Offering opportunities to improve their health and supporting social activities where employees can connect — and the company can connect with them — help organizations of all sizes.

 

  1. Virgin Healthmiles Survey Finds Employers Struggle to Measure Effectiveness of Wellness Programs”; The Institute for Healthcare Consumerism; 2013. http://www.theihcc.com/en/communities/population_health_and_wellness/virgin-healthmiles-survey-finds-employers-struggle_hhl1uxes.html
  1. “Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults”; The Annals of Internal Medicine; January 2015. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2091327
  1. 4) “The 40-Hour Workweek Is Actually Longer, by Seven Hours”; Lydia Saad; Gallup.com; August 2014.  http://www.gallup.com/poll/175286/hour-workweek-actually-longer-seven-hours.aspx
  1. “Healthy Eating, Exercise Linked With Workplace Productivity”; Huffington Post; 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/12/health-workplace-productivity-eating-nutrition-exercise_n_1752749.html
  1. “The 44 Healthiest Companies to Work for in America”; October 2014. http://greatist.com/health/healthiest-companies
  1. Ibid
  1. “State of Employee Benefits in the Workplace—Leveraging Benefits to Recruit Employees”; Society for Human Resource Mangement; 2013. http://www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/articles/pages/2013stateofbenefits-benefitstorecruit.aspx
  1. The Cleveland Clinic employee wellness site: http://portals.clevelandclinic.org/wellness/Home/tabid/7575/Default.aspx
  1.  “Life at Epic”; Epic Careers. https://careers.epic.com/Home/LifeAtEpic
  1. “Life at Zappos”; Zappos.https://jobs.zappos.com/life_at_zappos
  1. “State of Employee Benefits in the Workplace—Communicating Benefits” Society for Human Resource Management. http://www.shrm.org/research/surveyfindings/articles/pages/2013stateofbenefits-communicatebenefits.aspx
  1. “Rising Healthcare Costs are Unsustainable”; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/businesscase/reasons/rising.html
  1. “Workplace Wellness for Small Business”; Mark Taylor; Yahoo. https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/workplace-wellness-for-small-business-222142293.html

 

This article was originally published by When Wellness Works. You can see the original article here: http://whenwellnessworks.humana.com/why-wellness-programs-are-a-key-recruiting-tool-today/

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About the Author

Dell Dorn

Dell Dorn is the founder of DORN Companies. He started DORN in 1998 to help employers save money on workers' compensation claims and reduce OSHA recordables. Today, DORN customers realize the immense cost of employee pain and the enormous impact our service has on employee morale and their bottom line.
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About the Author

Dell Dorn

Dell Dorn is the founder of DORN Companies. He started DORN in 1998 to help employers save money on workers' compensation claims and reduce OSHA recordables. Today, DORN customers realize the immense cost of employee pain and the enormous impact our service has on employee morale and their bottom line.
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