As a business or human resource manager, you want to attract and retain top talent. Let’s face it, recruiting, onboarding and training new staff is expensive. You don’t want to have new employees leaving for a more attractive position before they can get settled in and start making positive contributions to your business.
So, you need to offer the right mix. You probably already know that offering competitive salaries, robust benefits packages and flexibility in scheduling can help. What you may not realize is the crucial role that employee wellness incentives and competitions can play in helping you achieve your staffing goals.
What Are Employee Wellness Programs?
There is strong evidence that employee wellness programs benefit both employees and employers. They go far beyond simply improving health. When structured correctly, they can also increase engagement and help shape the culture within an organization. You may be wondering what, exactly, employee wellness competitions are.
Basically, these are incentive programs that encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors. When employees participate in certain activities, they can earn prizes. Those may be gift cards, company swag, bonuses, extra vacation time or other, similar offerings. Employees who manage to improve certain health metrics during the competition may also be eligible for lower insurance premiums or extra coverage.
Most focus on one or more of the following areas that promote healthy behavior:
- Exercise and physical activity
- Smoking cessation
- Healthy eating and cooking
- Weight loss support
- Educational programs about prevalent diseases and conditions
- Health screenings and fairs
Talk to your insurance provider for information and free resources to help encourage healthy behaviors among workers. They have a vested interest in boosting overall health measurements and are likely to be an invaluable asset to your efforts. You may also find that local providers and wellness professionals are willing to offer free or discounted programs through their marketing or community outreach programs.
How Do They Help With Employee Retention?
Employee wellness programs encourage a sense of community among workers. Even when they are competing for prizes, they work together in the effort. If the Thrive experience shows anything, it is that a community of supporters can really make a difference when you are trying to improve your overall wellness and adopt a more positive and healthier lifestyle. In fact, more than half of Millennial and Gen X job seekers rate wellness programs as important or very important factors in their job offers. There are a number of reasons why wellness programs are such a key factor.
They Increase Morale Levels
When you invest in your employees, it helps them feel valued as individuals, not just as another cog in the machinery of a business. Wellness competitions are a great way to do that. You are not just saying “you matter” to workers, you are also letting them know you are willing to put effort and resources into helping them achieve better health. Healthy employees are happy ones, and that boosted morale can really help you retain top staff.
They Improve Employee Engagement
Adding a layer of competition to a wellness program ups the engagement and incentive to participate. The result is more engagement in the program. An added benefit is that employees are likely to become more engaged in other aspects of their work as well.
They Result in Fewer Sick Days
As health outcomes improve, you may notice that employees are using fewer sick days. That will help increase productivity and keep things running smoothly.
They Lower Costs for Other Coverage
When employees are healthier, your insurance premiums will be lower. This can have a serious impact on your ability to attract and retain qualified workers, no matter who pays for employee health coverage at your company. Lower premiums could mean a smaller monthly cost for employees or even better coverage options.
Employee wellness programs can increase morale and engagement, help reduce sick time and boost productivity, all at little or no cost to you. Plus, since you know that workers are looking for comprehensive wellness programs as part of their job search, it pays to offer it as part of your benefits package.