A true employee wellness program can improve employee morale which in turn impacts productivity and improves your spreadsheet. According to national research, 70-75% of health care costs to an employer are directly related to lifestyle-related illness, disease or conditions. The CDC says it’s as high as 90% of all medical claims. The financial impact of an employee’s poor nutrition, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise, and substance abuse is staggering.
A serious, well-executed and permanent wellness program can provide your company with:
- 28% reduction in sick days
- 26% reduction in health care benefit claims
- 39% reduction in workers’ compensation claims
- 30% reduction in disability claims
- Plus the intangible benefits of improved morale
Employee wellness programs that are just talk or purely education typically don’t work. Programs that are management-supported, multi-faceted, and long-term will yield positive results. Here are the seven basic steps to a successful employee wellness program:
- Get senior management buy-in and support. Everyone needs to be involved.
- Create an internal wellness team from all levels of employees.
- Survey the needs and interests of your employees and build a program around those.
- Develop an operating plan for a focused wellness program.
- Choose appropriate interventions suited to your environment.
- Create and maintain an environment that supports your program.
- Track your results and revise your program as needed.
It’s no surprise that it takes time and money to implement a strong employee wellness program. However, it’s been proven that your return-on-investment is greater than the cost. Studies show that your reduction in absenteeism equates $5.07 in savings per $1 spent and your reduction in medical costs comes to $3.93 per $1 spent.
Once you have a good employee wellness plan in place and operating, you can move toward the last step in cutting health care costs – and that is to connect employee wellness to insurance premiums. You can’t offer premium discounts based on employee health. But you can offer incentives, inducements or reductions in premiums that are tied to measurable, verifiable targets such as Body Mass Index, cessation of tobacco use, regular exercise, cardio health and cholesterol levels.
Remember, educational programs alone don’t work. You need action steps that can be implemented by all levels of employees to really get a strong ROI.
NEC Insurance is one of the largest independent insurance brokers in Missouri offering business and personal insurance, financial services, and risk prevention. For more information visit www.necins.com or call 636.271.2481.