You don’t have to look too long or hard to find examples of employers touting the positive impact that corporate wellness efforts have had on their organization. However, most media references to wellness are focused on the experiences of very large employers. This leaves many small and mid-sized employers wondering whether a focus on wellness could have an impact on their organization, or if they are simply too small to even try.
In short, wellness efforts have the potential to provide benefit to all types and sizes of employers. However, the benefits of wellness varies greatly among employer type and size, so entering into the process with reasonable expectations is important.
For instance, while some large employers state their wellness plan resulted in significant savings on their health plan cost, a financial ROI in the form of reduced medical premiums is less likely for a small employer with a fully insured health plan, than it would be for a very large employer with a self-funded health plan.
Nonetheless, corporate wellness is about a lot more than saving money on health insurance premiums. At their core, wellness plans empower employees to make good health-related decisions, develop healthy habits and, of course, help them learn how to leverage the health insurance plan where and when needed. To the extent these three things happen, employees are healthier, happier and more energetic. And, we believe it would be hard to find an employer who would dispute that healthier, happier and more energetic employees have a positive impact on workforce productivity and corporate culture.
So, assuming you are now “sold” on the fact that wellness plans have value, you may be wondering how to get started. The good news is it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, many employers start by simply organizing a wellness committee comprised of individuals who have an interest in wellness. Committee participants don’t have to all be super-healthy and/or regularly compete in marathons. In fact, it is helpful to have a cross section of the workforce represented on the committee so the activities and programs developed appeal to the wider workforce, not just those people within your organization who are already healthy.
Once the committee is formed, and following some basic parameters established by management, pertaining to whether, for example, there is a budget for activities, the brainstorming can begin. Having participated in the set-up of many of these programs, we can attest to the fact the excitement is usually palpable when the wellness committee meets and the ideas start flowing.
With only a minimal budget, the opportunities become virtually endless and could include anything from a “Biggest Loser” contest, to attendance at a mass participation event like National Obstacle Series (NOS) or Tough Mudder. Participation in these events extends much further than the physical event itself. They have free training guides as well as outdoor training sessions for up to 8 weeks prior to the event. This two month period can have a significant impact on employee health and their perception of exercise, as well as serving to build great team camaraderie amongst participating staff.
Typically, since wellness plans by their very nature thrive on activity, they are also incredibly useful team-building opportunities. As such, we believe every employer should consider corporate wellness as a potential avenue through which employee health, workplace morale and company culture can collectively be improved. If the health plan premiums come down as a result, that is a nice bonus, but if not, there will be an indisputable ROI, regardless of whether it is judged on monetary value alone.
Why not contact us to find out more about how we use sports and sporting events to help build and contribute to your employee corporate wellness program.