How to Make Employee Wellness a Priority in 2019

Posted on

November 26th, 2018


Employee wellness programs aren’t a new concept, but they’ve undergone a metamorphosis in recent years. When workplaces first introduced wellness programs, there was a focus on identifying health risks and implementing programs to address them. However, this was a narrow view of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. Modern wellness programs take a more holistic approach to ensure the physical, mental, and fiscal health of their employees as well as many other wellness factors.

Understanding the Shifting Landscape of Wellness Programs

Human Resources and company leadership often struggle to get employees to utilize their benefits to the fullest. This responsibility extends beyond basic health care for a number of reasons. For one, if employees are struggling with mental health or financial issues, they are likely to struggle with giving their work their full focus. For another, the workplace is becoming more competitive than ever. If a rival organization offers wellness programs that meet applicants’ needs, they are likely to pull in more candidates than a business that offers basic health benefits.

Personalizing Health and Wellness Programs

Some wellness programs are universally popular while others appeal to a specific audience. Starting with programs that have the broadest appeal, the following wellness options can help businesses build a personalized wellness package:

  • Retirement options. Many employees wait too long to begin planning for retirement. Help employees secure the greatest retirement savings via 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, or other retirement options the company offers. Consider providing consultant services to explain employees’ options.
  • Managing debt. Financial insecurity can bleed into employees’ everyday life and ability to work. Offering services to consolidate and eliminate debt can help get employees out from under crushing debt. This can include counseling on how to manage debt as well as change behaviors to encourage better finance management.
  • Taking time off work for a minor health concern is often a struggle for employees. They don’t want to use their paid time off for a concern that may turn out to be a non-issue. There is also the inconvenience of falling ill over the weekend or holidays. Telemedicine allows employees to text, email, call, or video chat with a doctor to assess health concerns and determine if an office visit is necessary or not.
  • Nutrition services. This harkens back to the roots of health and wellness programs. Many of the original programs focused on improving employees’ general health and fitness by refining exercise and eating habits. These programs can be as simple as offering healthy snacks in the workplace and paying for gym memberships to as complex as bringing in an onsite nutritionist and personal trainer. By improving employees’ exercise and eating habits, they are less prone to illness and calling out of work.
  • Leaves of absence. Employees have a variety of concerns outside of the workplace that weigh heavily on their minds. The birth or adoption of a child, an elderly relative to care for, or other unexpected situations can require employees to take time off for an extended period of time. Offering a program that allows employees to take a leave of absence for certain circumstances can help them manage stressful situations.

Businesses need to invest in wellness programs that match their employees’ needs. While all employees appreciate retirement planning initiatives, others may not care for nutrition services. Implementing personalized wellness programs not only keeps employees happy it also keeps them present. Employees struggling with physical, emotional, or fiscal health issues are prone to stress, illness, and absenteeism. To learn more about improving employee productivity and attendance, contact the experts at Actec.