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Wellness—A Fading Trend, or Here to Stay?

by | Sep 22, 2020 | HR Matters, Professional Services

By Kevin Sayler

Kevin Sayler is a Vice President and Risk Control Specialist for Parker, Smith & Feek. He has more than twenty years of experience in the industry and has been with Parker, Smith & Feek since 2016. Kevin can be reached at kwsayler@psfinc.com or (425) 709-3614.

Attracting and retaining skilled employees is a challenge most Alaskan companies are facing in today’s job market. Record unemployment has made businesses need to get creative with their retention strategies. What if there was a way to increase employee engagement, raise morale, and attract talent all at the same time? The answer is easy: institute a wellness initiative.

You’re probably asking yourself, “Does it work?” “How can it benefit my business?” Over the past several years, the wellness industry has grown twice as fast as global economic growth, and has produced proven results of increasing employee engagement and retention, while reducing healthcare costs. It might seem unlikely that something as simple as a wellness program could have such substantial results, but the statistics show that an effective wellness program can have a drastic impact on your workplace culture and, of course, the bottom line.

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Designing an Effective Program

When considering a company wellness program, there are factors that will determine which programs thrive and which will fail. The industry has expanded past the usual health assessment, although that is still a fundamental tool for creating a baseline to work from. Now the standard available options include medical, fitness, mental health, financial health, and almost anything in between. The programs are so highly customizable that nearly every situation can have a tailored plan. If it is a concern for employees, there is most likely a program for it.

The idea is that, by taking a holistic approach to the health of your employees, you will reap the benefits of a happy workforce, increased and better quality production, long term retention, and decreased healthcare utilization. Further, most of the major healthcare insurance insurance carriers will subsidize the cost of a wellness program. For insurance companies, it works twofold; they are able to offer an added service to their plan and the employees’ health benefits will reduce their claims costs.

Reaping the Rewards

A Gallup study shows that employees who are engaged and have a high well-being are 27% more likely to report “excellent” performance in their own job at work, 27% more likely to report “excellent” performance by their organization, and 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months.

Having a happy and healthy culture that attracts highly talented workers can also lead to 33% higher revenue. On the flip side, unhappy, disengaged workers are 10% less productive and normally do the bare minimum. In fact, unhappy employees cost American businesses over $300 billion each year. It quite literally pays to create a happy environment.

If you make the upfront investment in your employees and company culture, you will benefit through an increase in productivity, decrease in turnover, and most importantly, a workplace that everyone can be proud of. Contact an experienced employee benefits broker to learn more and help you get started on designing an effective wellness program.

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The track of oil and gas development in Alaska shows the footprints of bold companies and hard-working individuals who shaped the industry in the past and continue to innovate today. The May 2024 issue of Alaska Business explores that history while looking forward to new product development, the energy transition for the fishing fleet, and the ethics of AI tools in business.

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