Corporate Wellness Benefits: Understanding Its Importance

Understanding Corporate Wellness and Its Importance

Over the past few years, issues pertaining to employee wellbeing have become increasingly prominent. 

This can be attributed to a variety of factors. The Great Resignation—a mass exodus of the workforce—that resulted from the pandemic has heightened our focus on employee mental health and wellness. The changing professional landscape has also reshaped workplace priorities. According to a Cushman & Wakefield report, millennials will make up the majority of the global workforce by 2030. There will also be a significant number of Gen Z workers (1.3 billion) entering the labour force. 

Relative to previous generations of employees, millennial and Gen Z workers are less tied to notions of loyalty. They have a different set of priorities, and care more about workplace wellbeing, mental health support and policies, and achieving work/life balance. 

These trends highlight the growing focus on employee wellbeing. In order to retain and attract talent, employers need to adapt their strategies to meet changing expectations. This is where corporate wellness comes into the picture.

What are the Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programmes? 

There are numerous benefits to implementing corporate wellness programmes. These include: 

Improves Employee Health

Comprehensive corporate wellness programmes take a holistic approach to wellness by addressing multiple dimensions of employee health. These initiatives are designed not just to promote physical health, but also improve other aspects of employee wellbeing—including mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. 

Additionally, corporate wellness programmes help to encourage sustainable lifestyle changes among employees. Through initiatives like health coaching, wellness assessments, and 1-on-1 counselling, employees gain a heightened awareness of their physical and mental health. This can serve as a motivational factor for adopting healthy lifestyle choices. 

Other initiatives, such as smoking cessation programs provide accountability and social support. These factors can provide individuals with the push they need to quit unhealthy habits. 

Reduces Healthcare Costs

Corporate wellness initiatives—such as health screenings and fitness programmes—offer preventive care, and encourage the adoption of healthy behaviours. This helps to lower the risk of chronic diseases among employees, thereby minimising their need for costly medical treatments. 

It can result in significant healthcare cost savings for employers, as these studies show: 

  • Researchers at Harvard found that medical costs fell by about US$3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, and absentee day costs fell by about US$2.73 for every dollar spent. 
  • Harvard Business Review and WebMD Health Services conducted a joint study on cost savings associated with health coaching and condition management coaching. 
  • After 12 months of health coaching, the savings in healthcare costs amounted to about US$195 per participant. Employers saw an annual cost savings of US$1,113 per participant for individuals who received condition management coaching.

Improves Teamwork

A lack of support can lead to low morale at the workplace, leaving employees feeling disconnected and isolated. 

Corporate wellness programmes that incorporate team activities can mitigate this issue, as it creates opportunities for employees to come together, and get to know each other on a personal level. This helps to foster a sense of camaraderie among coworkers, which improves teamwork and collaboration at the workplace. 

Boosts Employee Engagement

Corporate wellness programmes improve employee engagement through various ways. 

Team activities provide opportunities for social connection, which can help prevent employees from feeling isolated and disengaged. Other wellness offerings—such as mental health platforms—equip employees with the skills and resources they need to better manage their stress levels, and cope with emotional or mental health issues they may be facing. 

These initiatives create a positive impact on the wellbeing of employees, enabling them to bring their best selves and be fully engaged at the workplace. 

Minimises Absenteeism and Turnover

Corporate wellness programmes help to promote healthier workplaces. Initiatives like nutrition education encourage employees to improve their lifestyle habits, while preventive health services enable the early detection of diseases. These offerings improve the health outcomes for employees, thereby reducing absenteeism.

These programmes also serve as an effective tool for employee retention. When employers invest in wellness initiatives, it signals their commitment to fostering employee wellbeing. This helps employees feel valued and supported at work, and reduces the likelihood that they will leave their jobs. 

Enhances Productivity

Thriving employees are energised, focused and engaged—and this contributes to greater workplace productivity. 

A survey conducted by the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) highlights the link between wellness and productivity. Over 500 business leaders across the U.S. were surveyed, with more than 90 percent of respondents indicating that promoting wellness can impact employee performance and productivity.

Enhances Employer Branding

Employee wellness is a growing priority for job seekers, as research findings from Forbes and Indeed show:

  • A Forbes research report indicated that 87% of employees consider health and wellness packages when choosing an employer.
  • According to a workplace wellbeing study by Indeed, 80% of respondents say it’s important to see information about employee wellbeing when considering employment at a company.
  • Additionally, 82% of job seekers indicated that finding an employer that cares about how they feel is important.

Through implementing corporate wellness programmes and strategies, organisations demonstrate their commitment towards supporting employee wellbeing. This enables them to build an employer brand that resonates with job seekers.  

 

Who Is Responsible For Employee Wellness?

Employee wellness is a shared responsibility among an organisation’s leadership and management, its HR department and employees. 

Leadership and Management

Key responsibilities that fall under the scope of the leadership and management team include:

Establishing a Culture of Wellbeing

Establishing a culture of wellbeing is critical to implementing successful corporate wellness programmes. If core factors at a workplace are not conducive to employee wellbeing, toxic behaviours can emerge. These actions adversely affect the health and mental wellness of employees, and this makes it even more challenging for wellness initiatives to create an impact. 

Leaders can drive cultural change by making employee wellbeing a part of the company strategy. This can be achieved through integrating wellness into the organisation’s mission, values, goals and operations. 

Steps they can take include reinforcing new cultural norms and behaviours, communicating about the company’s progress towards its wellbeing goals, and encouraging performance reviews that take employee wellbeing into consideration.  

Ensuring Effective Resource Allocation

Leaders are responsible for ensuring the efficient allocation of resources towards an organisation’s corporate wellness programme. 

It is important to keep in mind that investing in employee wellness is a long-term commitment. Adequate resources—in terms of funding, facilities, personnel and time—should be allocated to ensure the long-term sustainability of a company’s wellness initiatives.  

Human Resources

HR plays a multifaceted role in promoting employee wellness. Their responsibilities include: 

Strategic Planning and Development

During the strategic planning and development stage, HR collaborates with key stakeholders to conceptualise wellbeing strategies. These strategies should address multiple dimensions of wellbeing, by supporting the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness of employees.  

Implementation

HR takes on a variety of roles during the implementation stage. These include administrative duties, scheduling, budgeting, and collaborating with external mental health experts.

Communication

There are two key objectives in this stage. HR is responsible for generating greater awareness of the corporate wellness programme, and promoting the importance of employee wellbeing at the workplace. 

Employees

Employees are responsible for:

Taking Charge of Their Personal Wellbeing

While employers play a pivotal role in providing a supportive work environment, individual responsibility is key for maintaining personal health and wellbeing. To benefit from corporate wellness programmes, employees need to actively participate in wellness initiatives, and make the effort to maintain healthy lifestyle habits outside of work. 

Providing Feedback

Feedback helps employers measure the performance of their wellness programmes, and tailor their strategies to better meet the needs of employees. Clarity is key for effective feedback, so employees should avoid making vague statements, and offer specific examples wherever possible during the feedback process.

 

How do Corporate Wellness Programmes Differ From Corporate Health Insurance?

Corporate health insurance refers to a type of group insurance that protects employees against accidents, illnesses and other health issues. 

It acts as a safeguard, providing organisations and employees with a cushion against unexpected healthcare costs. In this sense, its role in employee wellness is primarily reactive, as it supports an individual’s healthcare expenses after an illness has occurred. 

With corporate wellness programmes, the emphasis is on proactive health management. Initiatives like health screenings, fitness classes and mental health coaching focus on disease prevention, and aim to enhance the overall health and wellbeing of employees. 

Both elements complement each other, and are essential components for creating a comprehensive wellness strategy. By integrating insurance with corporate wellness initiatives, organisations can provide employees with access to a wider range of resources. 

Additionally, health data collected through insurance claims provide employers with deeper insights into the health of their workforce. This enables them to identify areas for improvement, and tailor their offerings to better address the needs of employees.  

 

Key Factors to Consider When Implementing a Corporate Wellness Programme

What Are the Benefits That Employees Seek From a Wellness Programme?

This is a key question that organisations need to consider before implementing a corporate wellness programme. It is critical that employers understand the issues and stressors affecting their employees, so that they can tailor wellness initiatives to meet the needs of their workforce. 

It is important to keep in mind that employees across various levels, departments and roles experience different types of stressors—and this needs to be reflected in the organisation’s wellness offerings.    

What Should Organisations Look for in a Wellness Provider? 

Qualities that organisations should look for in a corporate wellness provider include:

  • User-friendly technology: A good corporate wellness provider should offer a platform that is customisable, secure, and easy to navigate. They should also provide prompt customer support, should users encounter issues when utilising the platform or its services. 
  • Customisation: Customisation isn’t limited to a vendor’s platform and technology; it should extend out to include all of their programme components and services. 
  • Robust reporting capabilities: Seek out platforms with comprehensive reporting features, such as analytics dashboards and reports. These enable employers to evaluate the performance of their wellness initiatives, make data-driven decisions and maximise ROI.  
  • Expertise and network: Employers need to look into a vendor’s products and services, and ensure that these are up to date with current technologies and industry trends. A good vendor should also have an established partner network, and a presence across the different markets that an organisation operates in. 

ThoughtFull ticks off all the boxes, so we could be a good fit for organisations looking to implement an employee mental wellbeing programme.

You can book a free demo to find out more about how we can address your organisation’s mental health needs!

 

What Are the Potential Pitfalls of Implementing a Corporate Wellness Programme?

The common pitfalls to implementing corporate wellness programmes include:

  • A one-size-fits-all approach: Every employee is unique, and corporate wellness programmes should be designed to accommodate the diverse needs of an organisation’s workforce. Traditional wellness programmes that adopt a one-size-fits-all approach fail to address this, which can result in limited participation and engagement among employees. 
  • Our process: ThoughtFull works together with employers and HR professionals to create mental health programmes that are tailored to an organisation’s needs and goals. 
  • A lack of feedback: Without proper feedback and evaluation, organisations are unable to determine the effectiveness of their wellness initiatives. To avoid this pitfall, employers need to set clear and measurable goals, and implement a process for gathering and analysing data and input from their employees. 
  • Our process: ThoughtFull offers comprehensive reporting features, including a proprietary integrated dashboard to help employers gain real-time insights. 
  • A lack of long-term sustainability: Investing in corporate wellness is a long-term commitment. Corporate wellness programmes fail to create an impact when organisations introduce short-term initiatives, or implement programmes that do not address the evolving needs of their employees.
  • Our process: Our solution is flexible and scalable. This allows us to customise our offerings to meet needs of employers, even as their workforce grows and evolves.

Conclusion

As employee wellbeing takes centre stage, investing in corporate wellness should be a priority—and not an afterthought for organisations. By implementing comprehensive corporate programmes, employers can foster a supportive environment that enables employees to thrive. 

Investing in corporate wellness is a long-term commitment, so having a well-thought-out strategy is key. The roles of key stakeholders—including the leadership and management, HR department and employees—should be clearly defined and communicated. 

And lastly, employers need to consider and plan for potential pitfalls, so as to ensure the successful implementation of their corporate wellness programmes. 

 

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