Understanding Employee Wellness Programme


What Is An Employee Wellness Programme?

Employee wellness programmes are initiatives that improve the health and wellness of employees. These initiatives are diverse, and may range from fitness activities and health assessments, to catered meals, health coaching and mental health support

Wellbeing is complex and multifaceted—and for employee wellness programmes to be effective, organisations need to address the different dimensions of employee wellness. These include:

Physical wellness 

Physical wellness relates to the physical health of employees, such as their energy levels, fitness levels, sleep hygiene, and diet. 

Emotional wellness 

Emotional wellness refers to an individual’s ability to regulate their emotions. When employees are emotionally healthy, they are able to navigate difficult situations, communicate effectively, and establish positive relationships at the workplace. 

Social wellness 

Social wellness is achieved when employees feel supported and connected, and have developed positive relationships with their coworkers. 

Spiritual wellness

Spiritual wellness at the workplace isn’t associated with religious practices; rather, it relates to helping employees discover a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives. 

Financial wellness

Financial wellness relates to an individual’s financial stability. Employers can bolster the financial wellbeing of employees by equipping them with the knowledge and resources they need to reduce their financial stress, and achieve greater security. 


Employee Wellness Insights: Mental Health Statistics and Trends

Insights on employee mental health and burnout 
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  • A workplace mental health study by McKinsey revealed that one in four employees worldwide are experiencing symptoms of burnout. This figure is higher for Asia, with almost one in three employees experiencing symptoms of burnout.
  • Cultural factors have an impact on mental health and the willingness of individuals to seek help. According to a survey in Singapore, 90 percent of employees stated that they wouldn’t seek help for a mental health condition due to stigma. 


Insights on APAC employers and their corporate wellness strategies
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  • According to Aon’s 2022—2023 Global Wellbeing Survey, employee wellbeing is a top concern among APAC employers. Nearly 40 percent of respondents indicated that it is their top priority for the coming five years.  
  • Investment in wellness has increased in APAC by 27 percent since 2020, with 50 percent of respondents stating that they are now allocating 4 percent of their overall company and benefits funding to employee wellness.
  • Employee wellness is one of the top three human capital strategies for APAC employers. 85 percent of respondents have a wellbeing strategy in place—a 30 percent increase from 2020.
  • When it comes to measuring the success of employee wellness initiatives, the top two metrics used are employee engagement and satisfaction. Other key metrics include employee health and wellbeing, employee retention, participation and financial revenue. 


Corporate employee wellness programs contribute to company performance and healthcare cost savings
THW005_Employee Wellness Insights: Mental Health Statistics and Trends

  • Aon’s Global Wellbeing Survey showed that organisational performance can be enhanced by 11% to 55% by improving employee wellbeing.
  • Researchers at Harvard found that health care 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.


Types Of Wellness Programs

Organisations typically offer a combination of targeted initiatives as part of their employee wellness programs. These include:

Health Screenings

Health screenings refer to medical tests or procedures that assess an employee’s likelihood of having a health condition or disease. 

A variety of health assessments—ranging from basic health examinations to comprehensive checkups—may be conducted. Basic health screenings typically involve a physical examination, along with blood and urine tests. Employees who are smokers may also be required to undergo a lung function screening. 

Following the examination, employees will receive the results of their health assessment, and may be directed to treatments or resources they require. 

You’ll also receive aggregated health data about your employees. Using these insights, you’ll be able to identify trends and potential health risks among your workforce, and implement strategies that can improve employee wellness at your organisation. 

Fitness Classes

Group fitness classes offer a wide range of benefits. In addition to providing a good workout, these classes also create opportunities for coworkers to come together, and interact outside of work. For employers, fitness classes help to foster a healthier workforce and boosts productivity. 

The types of fitness activities you implement may vary, depending on the amenities available at your organisation. On-site fitness classes can be a great option for companies with indoor venues like conference rooms, or access to spacious outdoor grounds.

If these amenities aren’t available at your workplace, or if your organisation has a sizable team of remote employees, a good alternative would be to offer reimbursements for gym or fitness centre memberships. 

Gym Membership Reimbursement

Reimbursing your employees’ gym or fitness centre memberships is another way to encourage physical activity. This option lends itself to companies that aren’t able to provide on-site fitness classes—such as organisations that operate remotely.

One benefit to offering fitness membership reimbursement is that it allows for personalisation, as employees can choose the activity they prefer—whether it’s joining yoga classes, personal training sessions or a running club. 

Free Healthy Food

Supporting employee nutrition brings a host of benefits. It helps to improve the health and wellbeing of your employees, and reduces the likelihood of illness caused by poor nutrition. This leads to a lower rate of absenteeism, and increases productivity at the workplace. 

There are a plethora of options that employers can consider. Think on-site cafeterias, subscriptions to healthy snacks, installing healthy snack vending machines, providing discounts for healthier meals, and more. 

And it doesn’t have to be a costly measure. Improving workplace nutrition can be as simple as purchasing healthy food items or snacks in bulk to stock up your office pantry. 

Telehealth Services

With telehealth services, individuals can access medical care through tools like video conferencing platforms, mobile apps and remote monitoring systems. 

Such services optimise access to healthcare, as it eliminates the need for in-person visits. It enables your employees to schedule appointments easily, and attend remote medical consultations from their homes—without the inconvenience of long commutes or waiting times. 

Health Coaching

Health coaching refers to coaching sessions with a wellness expert. It aims to help employees improve poor health behaviours, and make positive lifestyle changes. The sessions can be conducted either one-on-one or in a group setting. 

A key benefit to health coaching is that it can help individuals address a wide array of issues. A health coach will begin by assessing multiple aspects of an employee’s life—including his or her mental health, relationships, personal difficulties, and health goals—before conceptualising a plan to help them make lasting lifestyle changes.

When employees are committed towards cultivating these habits, they can then achieve the health outcomes they seek—whether that’s managing chronic conditions more effectively, boosting their physical fitness, improving work life balance or enhancing their mental wellbeing

Flexible Work Arrangements

Rather than adhering to traditional ways of working, employers are increasingly adopting flexible work arrangements. This includes remote or hybrid working arrangements, compressed work weeks, flexible working hours and job sharing arrangements. 

Such arrangements are critical for fostering diversity. Through implementing flexible work arrangements, you create a more supportive environment that caters to the needs of employees across different life stages, responsibilities and backgrounds. This helps your organisation attract and retain a diverse workforce. 

Smoking Cessation Programme

Smoking cessation programmes are initiatives that provide employees with the support and resources they need to quit smoking. 

These programmes utilise a variety of treatments and tools, ranging from educational sessions like workshops and seminars, to peer support groups, nicotine replacement therapy, counselling and other personalised treatments. 

Keep in mind that other factors—such workplace policies, and how smoking cessation initiatives are implemented—can impact the results of your smoking cessation program. 

For instance, conducting smoking cessation programs at a workplace setting—as opposed to a clinic setting—can improve cessation rates. Additionally, implementing policies that support smoke-free workplaces can increase the effectiveness of your programme. 

Financial Wellness Programmes
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When employees face financial pressure, it can adversely impact their mental and physical health. This takes a toll on their performance at work. 

In contrast, a MetLife study showed that individuals who feel financially secure indicated higher levels of happiness (84 percent vs. 55 percent), engagement (78 percent vs. 53 percent) and job satisfaction (88 percent vs 56 percent). 

For employers and HR teams, this underscores the importance of equipping employees with the knowledge and resources they need to achieve financial wellness. This may range from educational workshops, to financial counselling and access to financial software and tools. 


What Do Employees Want in an Employer Wellness Program?

1. More Employer Support for Mental Health

Employees are expecting more from their companies when it comes to mental health support, with reducing workplace mental health stigma being one of the key issues they want employers to address. THW005_What Do Employees Want in an Employer Wellness Program?

According to McKinsey’s Health Employer Survey, employers saw reducing stigma as the least important factor on their list of mental health priorities. Yet, a workforce survey indicated that while 70 percent of CEOs say they’re accepting of emotional and mental health issues at work, only 35 percent of employees believe this is true. 

These findings highlight the gap between how employers and employees perceive mental health stigma, showing that more can be done to fulfil the expectations of workers. 

Additionally, employees seek better mental health benefits. This was one of the key factors identified by respondents in a Paychex study on how employers can improve employee wellbeing.

What employers and HR can do: 

  • Having open discussions about mental health during town halls, team meetings or one-on-one sessions can help reduce stigma surrounding mental health at the workplace.
  • Leaders and managers can set a positive tone for employees through modelling healthy behaviours, such as setting boundaries around work hours and email response times.
  • Offering comprehensive mental health support requires a two-pronged approach: organisations need to provide preventive education, as well as tools and services that employees can utilise when they face mental health challenges. 
  • ThoughtFull’s employee wellness programme addresses both these components. We offer educational resources, including daily bite-sized coaching and self-paced learning packs and tools. Using our platform, employees can also access mental health services—such as one-on-one counselling and 24-hr round-the-clock psychological first aid—when needed. 


2. A Culture That Prioritises Wellbeing 

Employees are placing increasing importance on their personal wellbeing, as a Deloitte survey on employees and C-level executives shows: 
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  • 91 percent of respondents shared that they have goals for their wellbeing.
  • 75 percent of employees and 89 percent of C-suite executives indicated that improving their wellbeing is a top priority.
  • 68 percent of employees and 81 percent of C-suite executives say that working on their wellbeing is more important than advancing their careers.

To respond to the shift in employee needs, organisations need to work towards building a positive workplace culture that supports wellbeing. 

What employers and HR can do:

  • Make employee wellness a part of the company strategy. This can be achieved through integrating wellness into the organisation’s mission, values, goals and operations. For instance, employers and HR can reframe the way they approach performance reviews. One way to do this is to implement practices that take employee wellbeing into consideration during the annual review process.  


3. Greater Workplace Flexibility

The trend towards workplace flexibility is clear. Increasingly, employees want the ability to work where and when they want to, as these statistics show:
THW005_What Do Employees Want in an Employer Wellness Program?

  • In a survey of over 5,000 knowledge workers worldwide, 59 percent of respondents said that flexibility is more important to them than salary or other benefits.
  • A survey by Boston Consulting Group and The Network showed that just 7 percent of Asia’s workforce want to commit to a completely onsite work arrangement. 
  • According to UOB's ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study, 85 percent of Singapore respondents want their organisations to introduce flexible working arrangements.


What employers and HR can do:

  • Ensure that employees are given the support and tools they need to be effective. These include communication platforms, project management software, and virtual team management solutions that support remote working.
  • Keep in mind that flexibility isn’t limited to remote or hybrid work arrangements; it also relates to the way in which work is designed or organised. Redesigning how employees work—such as giving them more control over their career advancement—can create significant impacts on employee wellness too. 


4. Having More Time Off

In the modern workplace, employees are constantly on the go. Without sufficient time off to recharge, they could be at risk of burnout. 
THW005_What Do Employees Want in an Employer Wellness Program?

  • In a Paychex study on employee wellness, respondents indicated additional time off as the top factor that would improve their wellbeing.  
  • According to Deloitte’s Wellbeing at Work survey, the majority of respondents (74 percent) say they struggle to take time off or disconnect from work. Only half of respondents (52 percent) indicated that they “always” or “often” use all of their annual vacation time. 


What employers and HR can do:

  • Encourage employees to take time off by providing resources and support to help them plan their annual leave. For instance, you may provide benefits employees can use during their vacation, such as access to travel resources or personal development tools.  
  • Build time off into your employees’ schedules. Consider providing an additional day off at regular intervals—such as once every quarter—to give your employees time off for self-care. 


5. More Financial Wellness Support 

The growing uncertainty in the global financial landscape, coupled with the rising costs of living has made achieving financial wellbeing an uphill struggle for many. 

Individuals are looking to employers for access to financial wellbeing resources—making financial wellness initiatives an increasingly important component of employee wellness programmes. 
THW005_What Do Employees Want in an Employer Wellness Program?

  • According to a 2024 wellbeing survey by HR consulting firm Buck, 51 percent of employees indicated that improving their financial health is their top wellbeing focus. 
  • PwC’s 2023 Employee Financial Wellness Survey revealed that the majority of employees want help with their personal finances. 74 percent of respondents seek financial guidance when dealing with financial decisions, crises or life events.
  • Furthermore, 73 percent of financially stressed employees say they would be attracted to another employer that cares more about their financial well-being (relative to 54 percent of non-financially stressed employees who indicated likewise).


What employers and HR can do:

  • Provide resources and tools to help employees manage and track their finances. Consider offering workshops or seminars on key financial concerns, such as budgeting, investing, debt management and retirement planning. Your employees will also benefit from getting access to financial experts, online education platforms and financial wellness apps. 
  • Create an environment where employees feel comfortable asking for support. This can be achieved through encouraging employee discussions on financial wellness, creating employee resource groups, and providing anonymous channels where employees can seek help or advice. 


What Are the Examples of Employee Wellness?

If you’re looking to implement employee wellness programmes, but are unsure about how to begin—this section is for you. 

Below, we share examples of how different types of employee wellness initiatives are implemented within organisations.


Mental Health Support

Focus Global

By implementing ThoughtFull’s employee wellness programme, Focus Global provided their employees with access to: 
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  • One-on-one chats with a certified mental health professional
  • Bite-sized lessons
  • Daily trackers, journals and assessments
  • On-demand live video counselling with a professional

ThoughtFull stood out with its personalised wellbeing services,  which addressed the unique needs and situations that employees faced. This was a critical factor for Focus Global, as our solution helped to fill a gap where other providers couldn’t. 
THW005_What Are the Examples of Employee Wellness?

This contributed to a high level of engagement and demand for mental healthcare at Focus Global. The ThoughtFullChat app saw a 69 percent utilisation rate among employees, and 87 percent of Focus Global users said they would recommend the app to others. 


The leadership at PDAX was on the lookout for a solution to help employees address stress, burnout and other mental health issues. 

They sought a provider that offered an easy-to-use, discreet and secure mental health solution, along with comprehensive services—and found what they needed in ThoughtFull’s employee wellness programme. 
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Within just four months of implementing our programme, PDAX reported significant results among its workforce. They saw a 39 percent average reduction in depression, anxiety and stress levels, as well as a 43 percent utilisation rate. 


StarHub’s HR team sought to implement an employee wellness programme, after discovering that their employees’ well being was declining due to the pandemic. 

They chose ThoughtFull for our holistic approach, accessibility and commitment towards employee mental wellbeing, as these were key factors that made us stand out against other providers.
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Using the ThoughtFullChat app, StarHub’s employees were able to access personalised support whenever they needed. As a result, StarHub employees reported positive changes in their outlook and behaviour. 53 percent of employees indicated that they were more self-aware, while 47 percent said they’re more proactive about engaging with their mental health.


Physical Wellness Initiatives


PharmaCorp makes engaging in physical activity fun and engaging for its employees. The company implemented an organisational wellness challenge, which included friendly competitions, rewards and recognition for participants. Employees were also provided with fitness trackers and wellness apps to track their progress.


ManufacturingCo is a great example of how organisations can support employee nutrition. The company partnered with nutritionists and chefs to create a diverse menu for its staff cafeteria. It also offered nutrition and cooking classes to help employees develop healthy eating habits outside of work. 


Providing More Time Off


Deloitte’s HR team implemented an extended sabbatical policy in Singapore, enabling employees to take time off to attend to personal matters. Under this policy, an employee was able to take 12 months off work for caregiving.

Publicis Groupe

Publicis Groupe creates inclusive policies by involving employees in its decision making process. For instance, the organisation reviewed its employee demographics, and sought feedback from employees about their personal circumstances when conceptualising its leave policies. 

This enabled the organisation to implement policies that catered to the needs of their workforce—such as providing extra leave entitlements for employees seeking fertility treatments. 


Financial Wellness Initiatives


FinServe implemented a comprehensive wellness program to promote greater financial literacy among its employees. The organisation also partnered with financial advisors to offer one-on-one consultations for employees seeking personalised guidance.


Flexible Work Arrangements 

United Overseas Bank

At United Overseas Bank (UOB), employees are given a choice of staggered start times. In doing so, the organisation is able to attract and retain a larger talent pool, and expand its scope of potential candidates to include caregivers and retirees.

Brand Cellar

Brand Cellar, a public relations firm in Singapore has implemented a job sharing arrangement. Tasks are divided among multiple team members, giving employees the flexibility of working lesser days each week. This arrangement allows the firm to cater to employees who require greater flexibility in their work schedules, such as caregivers. 



Employee wellness programmes are a critical component of workplace wellness. These initiatives can significantly impact the wellbeing of your workforce, helping them to thrive in and out of the office. 

In our article, we discussed key topics pertaining to employee wellness programmes, such as:

  • Defining employee wellness programmes, and the importance of implementing initiatives that address the different dimensions of employee wellness. These include physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial wellness. 
  • Understanding the different types of employee wellness programmes. These range from health screenings, to fitness classes, health coaching, flexible work arrangements, and more. 
  • Knowing what employees seek in a wellness programme, and the steps that employers and HR can take to address their needs. Research findings indicate that employees want better mental health support, a culture that prioritises wellbeing, greater workplace flexibility, more time off and more financial wellness support.
  • Drawing inspiration from other organisations can help you refine your employee wellness strategies. We shared examples of employee wellness across diverse organisations, including initiatives that support employee mental health, workplace flexibility, physical wellness and more.


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