Helping Employees See the Benefits of a Comprehensive Wellness Program
When you’re choosing the ideal employee benefits to help you compete for the best workforce available, it’s easy to lose sight of how those offerings fit together from an employee perspective. But more companies than ever are discovering that the best way to benefit a worker’s wellness and get the best ROI is to think comprehensively.
That makes sense when you recognize that wellness is holistic. And research continues to show a tight link between physical and financial wellness.
Health and Finances Are Already Linked, and Your Benefits Should Be Too
The 2017 HealthView Services Retirement Health Care Costs Data Report provides more proof of how much positive impact even small behavior changes can make on both employee wallets and waistlines.
One of the report’s case studies discusses a 50-year-old with Type II diabetes. Following a doctor’s orders gives the patient the potential to add up to eight years of life expectancy and save an average savings of $5,000 a year in out-of-pocket expenses during the course of his working life.
Just think about the double impact that kind of behavior change could have on your company in terms of productivity and healthcare savings. And when employees catch onto the interrelated benefits of physical and financial wellness, the improvement in results isn’t just limited to the short term.
The HealthView study shows that if the same patient invests his annual savings and gets just a 6% return, he’ll have more than $120,000 earned by age 65. It’s a small behavior change that will have a lasting impact on an employee’s retirement prospects.
The converse is true as well—when workers ignore their physical health and fail to change behavior, it damages their long-term financial prospects. Not only will they be subject to higher medical bills today, they’ll have less money to invest for the future. Meanwhile, medical costs are expected to continue increasing. The same study showed that retirement health care cost inflation is projected to rise by 5.47% annually over the next ten years. As bad as that sounds, it is even worse when you consider it’s triple the rate of inflation witnessed over the past five years.
A Few Ideas to Help You Tie Benefits Together
The wellness connection is great news for employers, and all the more reason to tie wellness benefits together in your own program. Here are a few strategies to consider if you’re looking to unify your offerings.
- Instead of isolated benefits, unify your wellness programs under one program name or tagline (ex. “Wedgewood Champions” or “Portersfield Strong”). With unified branding, your employees will more easily recognize your program and it will help yearly promotional pushes.
- Schedule enrollment periods so that all the benefits work together. For example, don’t set enrollment for your financial wellness program in June while only allowing employees to start a fitness benefit in September. By offering them simultaneously, you can emphasize how engagement with both enhances overall wellness.
- Communicate the win-win nature of holistic wellness for both the employer and the employee. Help your team to see that when they’re winning with wellness individually, that has a positive ripple effect on the whole organization.
- Build in goals and incentives in the overall program. It’s great to offer a company match in a 401(k), or even prizes for hitting certain fitness goals. But what about combining the two? For example, give employees who enroll in a 401(k) and who are also exercising regularly an extra vacation day.
A comprehensive benefits program promotes wellness throughout your whole organization. When you view the physical and the financial as two parts of a larger whole, your employees will catch the same vision.