Implementing Health Benefits Programs in the Workplace

The decrease in health in our population has significant consequences at the organizational level. However, if companies adopted a proactive approach to employee health through welfare promoting initiatives, they could improve both their workers’ health and overall performance.

With this statement, the Committee for the visibility of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) presents its new White Paper entitled. The Business Case for Employee Health Benefits and Wellness Programs (Arguments for Programs for the Health benefits and Welfare of Workers), a document through which the benefits of establishing these types of programs in the workplace are presented and various recommendations are offered to maximize their effectiveness.

According to data collected in its text, 41.7% of employers consider that the costs associated with subjected to health problems are the challenge that most seriously affects their results.

These costs could be reduced by an estimated percentage of 15%, implementing in the company a strategy to promote healthy behaviors (Fogarty, 2008), such is the case of the Wellness Programs, aimed at improving the health benefits of employees, focusing on Mobile Delivery App risk factors, such as for overweight, physical condition or Headache.

Among the many advantages that these Programs would entail for companies, the White Paper includes the following:

A Decrease in medical costs – Medical costs tend to be higher in employees with multiple health risks, but approximately $ 3.27 is reduced, for every dollar spent on Wellness Programs.

  • Increase employee morale – Interventions for improving well-being can convey to workers the idea that their organization cares about their personal health and well-being, resulting in greater job satisfaction and greater morale among employees. At the same time, the consequent increase in the commitment to the company is associated with the improvement of the company’s results, having an impact on customer satisfaction, productivity, profits, sign in the occurrence of unwanted incidents at work, etc.
  • Reduction of absenteeism – When New are not healthy, they are often absent more frequently. Different studies reveal that participation in health and wellness programs in organizations is associated with a decrease in absenteeism, which translates into a saving of $ 2.73 for every dollar spent on wellness programs (Baicker et al., 2010 ). A substantial saving considering that, in the United States, the estimated annual cost of workers’ Log In absences due to work-related illness is 74,000 million dollars. A figure that is not far from the Spanish Sign up, where the annual cost of absenteeism exceeds more than 61,000 million euros.
  • Decrease of the presentism – The presentism, defined as the presence of workers in their jobs beyond their normal hours, Forgot username is possibly the most expensive consequence – and usually masked – of having an unhealthy workforce. In fact, the data reveal that the loss of productivity attributable to presenteeism costs 2.5 times more than the combined medical and pharmaceutical expenses. The evidence indicates that the implementation of wellness programs can improve the costs associated with presentism.

Based on the associated benefits, the White Paper offers a series of recommendations aimed at companies in order to maximize their investment in a Health and Welfare program for workers:

  • Offer incentives – The document highlights this point, taking into account that more than 70% of employees say that incentives could increase their interest to participate in a free wellness program in the workplace and that approximately 80% of the employees would applaud the establishment of political practices that stipulated a paid time to exercise at work and/or have a wide variety of healthy foods in the company’s cafeteria. Other increasingly used incentive strategies include premium discounts, gift cards, loyalty points, non-monetary incentives such as communication and educational information, etc.
  • The White Paper underlines the importance of equal opportunities for all workers when it comes to earning incentives, maintaining the rigor in establishing them, given that once expectations are created, it is difficult to return to a lower level of incentives.
  • Use a system of goals to facilitate adherence to the program.
  • Provide the necessary tools and resources – When implementing a wellness program, it is essential to consider both the goals and the type of resources most useful to employees. Researchers have found that workers prefer gyms (80.6%), weight loss programs (67.1%) and exercise classes in the workplace (55.2%) (Kruger, Yore, Bauer and Kohl, 2007). In this regard, the White Paper considers “a reasonable investment” to install a gym in the company, mainly because more than 40% of people cite the lack of time as an important barrier when participating in physical activities.
  • Adapt to individual programs – When the objective is to influence the general health of the workforce, less structured approaches that promote incidental physical activity in the workplace (for example, walk more than necessary to complete a task or encourage the use of stairs) are more successful, However, if the objective is to achieve participation and maintain behavior change, programs must be adapted to individual needs.
  • Promote the Wellness program – Such a program cannot work if the people it is addressed to do not know it or are not motivated by its potential benefits. It is necessary to formally promote the program and spread the message informally, on a cultural impulse towards health, based on the support of company executives.
  • Evaluate the results of the program – Evaluating the results and benefits associated with the implementation of these types of programs is a necessary step to improve and understand their impact on the company.

In a recent global survey that measured the attitudes of employees regarding the benefits they receive from their organizations, the following was concluded:

  1. The benefits are more important today than ever as part of the value proposition of companies to their current and future employees.
  2. The desire for worker safety continues to be accentuated.
  3. Employees expect their companies to help them improve their health and well-being, and achieve greater financial security.
  4. The current programs implemented by the firms are not being effective: less than one-third of workers believe that the welfare programs in their organizations motivate them to have a healthy lifestyle, and less than half indicate that these programs meet their needs.