Here’s a business idea, not always easily achieved: Doing tangible good for others while doing good for your bottom line. You don’t have to be a flashy biotech firm or offer a solution to an intractable problem an ocean away to be improving the health of your fellow men and women.
We all want our products and services to benefit the greater community, but like charity, doing good starts at home. In the case of promoting health and wellbeing, it should start with your workforce.
Wellness programs in the workplace promote healthy habits and long-term positive change. They help employees lose weight, quit smoking, take care of themselves mentally and physically, and live more active lifestyles.
That all adds up to fewer sick days and worker’s compensation claims, and most importantly from your business’s macro level, improved staff morale and less turnover.
The high cost of low morale — Morale in the workplace is not easily measured on a 1 to Why your business needs a wellness program10 scale, but it doesn’t take complex data sets to know that when staff attitudes are poor, you’ll feel it acutely in reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and problematic customer/client interactions.
Poor health directly impacts morale by taking key employees away from their posts as they struggle to fill in the gaps left by employees who are dealing with acute and chronic health conditions and injuries. This can lead to depression and loss of motivation not only for the directly affected employee, but for those who are left behind to pick up the slack.
The high cost of staff turnover – The daily effects of eating poorly and not exercising take time to turn into chronic problems. Similarly, excessive absences don’t translate overnight into permanent loss of key staff, but give it enough time and you will be losing employees for extended periods or completely.
With that loss, you suffer a blow to institutional knowledge, and gain the high cost of training new employees. A Center for American Progress study found that costs for bringing on a new employee range from 16% of annual salary to replace a low-wage worker (under $30,000 salary) to a whopping 213% of annual salary for highly compensated key employees and executives.
Employers must consider direct costs like advertising, interviewing, screening, and onboarding a new hire, as well as indirect costs such as lower productivity (at least initially) and impact on other staff, who may be missing an esteemed colleague who is unable to return to work.
Quite simply, there’s too much at stake for you to be without a wellness program in your workplace.
Shannon Hudspeth, SPHR