When workers are searching for a new job or are debating about whether they want to stay with their current employer, a lot of factors come into play. Some take into consideration the location of the position, the job title itself, their coworkers, and some even look at the benefits that are provided. In fact, many admit that they would take a position with a lower salary that includes employer-sponsored benefits over a position that offers a higher pay with no benefits. As more and more employers are offering insurance benefits, it’s important that business owners know about the new trend of Employee Wellness Programs to further set themselves apart from their competition while trying to attract top talent.

What Are Employee Wellness Programs?

Employee Wellness Programs are simply that. Programs that encourage wellness among those who take part in them. When it comes to the workplace, they are specific programs that employers create to help promote better health and wellness among their staff. This can vary from programs that cost thousands to run such as businesses who have gyms that their staff is encouraged to use within the office, to smaller, more affordable programs like smoking cessation, group yoga or weight loss challenges to help promote a healthy and active lifestyle while reducing stress. Regardless of what you can financially afford to take on, it’s something to consider to add to your offerings when trying to attract talent.

The Benefits

No matter how much you decide to invest in your employee wellness program, every little bit helps to promote a healthier lifestyle among your employees. In fact, many businesses, even small to mid-sized companies, have seen success from implementing these types of programs. It’s been noted that there were more than triple the savings in medical costs for every dollar spent on a workplace wellness program. More specifically; at the University of Toronto, a report by the Health Communication Unit at the Centre For Health Promotions found that there were long-term savings for employers. Among the data, they found that after a ten-year program at B.C Hydro, the wellness program showed a return of $3 for every dollar spent. Additionally, that after implementing a health promotion program at Canadian Wheat Board (based in Winnipeg), they saw an annual rate of 3.8 sick days per employee in comparison to the 6.2-day average that Statistics Canada reported.

Apart from financial benefits, employee wellness programs allow for not only improved employee satisfaction and health, but talent attraction. This is because when an employer makes the time to take an interest in the employees and try to make their workplace a better place for them mentally and physically, it shows that they truly care. Making it not only more favourable to stay, but making it more attractive for others to apply. This can be seen at MDS Nordion in Kanata, Ontario who noted that their workplace wellness program likely contributed to their low employee turnover rate of 6% (the industry rate averaging 10% or higher), as well that their employees used on average, about half of the number of sick days than the average Canadian.

You’re Closer Than You Think

For many employers, implementing employee wellness programs often seem to be a distant thought because many assume that it’s too costly for them to afford. But the reality is, even small businesses can invest in these programs as packages can start as low as $100 per employee for firms with 50 or fewer employees. And don’t forget the previously mentioned return on investment that many businesses saw after implementing wellness programs. Even though employee wellness programs are not mandatory to apply, it’s something to consider. Especially, if you’re currently offering competitive health insurance benefits, as it can truly make a difference in not only the productivity and work ethics of your team, but the way it can set your business apart from others.