A CEO needs productive employees. The healthier the employee is, the more and better work they can do for their employer, and the better their quality of life will be. Corporate wellness is a business practice that strives to educate and facilitate a healthier lifestyle for employees.
The world of corporate wellness is full of hype, misleading propaganda and false promises. I’m going to set the record straight on what corporate wellness is, and dispel the lies and myths.
Read these nine lies and myths about corporate wellness like you were the CEO of a corporation.
1. Healthcare costs are going up, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Healthcare costs are rising, but a sound corporate wellness program gives you an opportunity to minimize the effects on your business. There’s plenty you can do about it. There are many factors that contribute to the increase of healthcare costs, and related health insurance costs. Many of them are beyond your control, but what is within your control is utilization. The healthier your group is the better insurance rates you will enjoy. This also applies to your workers compensation costs. The fewer injuries your staff incurs, the less expensive your workers compensation insurance will be. Savings from workers compensation costs for healthy workers can range from 10% to 30% compared to others in your industry that have less healthy employees.
2. What my employees do on their own time is none of my business.
Although this may sound like an appropriate separation of personal and professional life, think about the benefits to the individual and your business. If your employee comes in reeking of alcohol in the morning after a night of partying hard – is that none of your business? Even if he or she is not actually drunk, you might have concerns about his or her ability to function, as well as concerns about his or her influence on other staff. Sending the employee home for the day (generally without pay) is not an uncommon employer response to this behavior. Repeat the activity two or three times in a month, and you start to worry about the employee having a substance abuse problem. Is it your “business” yet? At some point in time, what an employee does on his or her own time does impact your workplace. When it comes to health insurance, benefits, workers compensation costs and productivity, it is definitely your business.
3. People get sick. It’s out of their control.
More incidents of illness than you could ever imagine are a result of lifestyle choices. Six of the top seven causes of death in the U.S. are lifestyle diseases. The one exception is automobile accidents. A person’s wellness, all the way from how often they get colds to their potential for serious disease or repetitive stress injuries, is quite a bit more in their control than we generally want to admit.
4. It’s too expensive. My company’s too small to afford a wellness program.
Wellness programs can be surprisingly inexpensive and have been proven to be cost-effective. The returns in reduced costs are the tip of the iceberg. Increased productivity, focus and energy at work returns tremendous benefits. Increased loyalty and camaraderie from a workforce that appreciates the employer’s concern and support reduces turnover, which is yet another cost savings. An employer with just a handful of employees will benefit from these advantages.
5. It takes too much time.
Management support and involvement is a must for a wellness program to be successful. However, this is not a time consuming endeavor. Most importantly, much of what employees can do to participate is done outside of working hours. If you’re inclined to allow extra time in the workday for your employees to exercise, so much the better. But if you cannot spare the time during the workday, they can exercise during lunch or after work with quick, effective 30-minute workout regimens.
6. It’s a touchy-feely new age thing that doesn’t really have any solid benefit.
Wellness programs have been researched and studied for over 20 years now. Their benefits are irrefutable when they are properly implemented and when the management team is committed to their success.
7. We don’t have the facilities for exercise.
You don’t need a gym in order to have room to exercise. You don’t need thousands of dollars of complex gym equipment for your employees to exercise. Workouts can be conducted in small areas with bodyweight for resistance and be amazingly effective.
8. My employees won’t participate.
Not all employees will be interested. Many, however, are already committed to fitness. Others will benefit from a bit of education on the matter and are quite willing to participate in a program that’s easy to understand, convenient and encouraged by their employer. Add the incentive of reduced health insurance premium and any other incentives you want to use to sweeten the pot, and you’ll have more participation than you would have imagined.
9. It’s too hard to know if it’s working.
When you set up your wellness program, you can (and should) also determine what you want to achieve with it. Productivity metrics, healthcare cost reduction and reduced on-the-job injuries will provide statistical evidence of the program’s effectiveness over time