Most companies today provide basic benefits like health insurance to their employees. Some employers even provide extra benefits, like access to on-site gym facilities or healthy snacks in the break room. While these benefits do support workers, many companies still underestimate the importance of having healthy employees.
Every aspect of a person’s health — physical, mental, even financial — affects their effectiveness at work. Though losses from poor employee health might not always be obvious to employers, they are nonetheless significant.
Here are four reasons why all successful businesses should make promoting a healthy workforce a top priority.
Healthy Employees Are More Productive
Healthy employees work more productively than their less healthy peers. Logically, companies can increase productivity by encouraging wellness.
For example, employee health initiatives that promote physical activity increase productivity by helping with brain function. Studies show that regular aerobic exercise improves memory and thinking skills. So by providing ample opportunities and incentives for exercise, companies also increase their employees’ ability to do their jobs well.
Physically and mentally healthy employees also produce more by missing work less. Employees that reported low stress levels took an average of 2.6 sick days every year, compared to 4.6 taken by highly stressed employees. When companies make wellness a priority, employees come to work happier and more often, leading to increased productivity.
Health Problems Cost Companies Money
Because health and productivity are linked, decreases in health lead to hefty productivity costs to companies.
Researchers have found that employees at high risk of certain heath conditions cost employers more in lost productivity: between $15 and $1601 more per year than similar employees without health risks. Promoting healthy lifestyles at the office can decrease health risks and save companies significant amounts.
Poor mental health in a company also leads to large productivity costs. Stress-related employee issues cost employers around $300 billion annually. Because job pressure is one of the leading causes of stress, these costs pose great risk to companies, especially in high-pressure industries. Mitigating these costs saves money and helps employees manage the pressure that comes with their jobs.
Wellness Programs Attract Talented Workers
Today, talented workers seek more than high salaries at their jobs. Increasingly, employees prioritize benefits that will help them become better in their careers and lives. They look for companies with a good corporate culture and unique advantages. Wellness programs attract these talented and discerning employees.
A comprehensive wellness program does more than maintain company health and productivity. It also helps companies recruit the people they need to grow. A company offering unique benefits like childcare and health exams may have a recruiting edge over competitors.
For an example of benefits attracting talent, consider the innovative wellness programs tech companies like Google have started to implement.
Healthy Employees Stay Employed Longer
Employee wellness programs are also important to worker retention. In addition to attracting new talent, health programs encourage existing employees to stay with their company longer by boosting company morale and leading to longer tenures for older employees, who can remain healthy and able to work longer.
One 2009 survey found that 45 percent of Americans would stay at their jobs longer if their employers offered wellness programs. As more companies adopt the practice, these numbers are likely to increase.
Companies hoping to save on hiring costs and retain good workers for longer stretches of time should seriously consider the role employee health plays in the workplace. By fostering a healthy work environment, employers can keep employees productive and satisfied in their jobs for years to come.
Healthy Employees Make a Healthy Business
Promoting employee health is in every employer’s best interests, whether they realize it or not. Wellness initiatives increase productivity, save money, attract new talent and increase employee retention, leading to benefits for both worker and company.
In addition, promoting wellness shows employees that their employer values them and their personal well-being. It can help motivate employees to work hard and grow a more personal connection between people and their jobs.
Healthy employees make for a healthy business. In order for companies to truly thrive, wellness initiatives show, they need to work together with their employees, giving more to get more back. PSECU, a credit union in Pennsylvania, created this helpful graphic providing a look at the possible benefits employees and employers can expect to get out of employee wellness programs.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.