How much money do employees health and wellness benefits save

In recent years companies start to realize that investments in providing the corporate health end wellness benefits can make company more successful and actually save a lot of money. Healthy and happy employees are more productive, motivated and remain in the company longer. Among company perks and benefits offered, an investment in the fitness and health plan provides both a hard return as well as indirect benefits.

After introducing a company wellness plan in Johnson & Johnson, the percentage of smokers among employees decreased by two thirds from 1995-2010. The number of employees suffering from high blood pressure and insufficient exercise dropped over 50%. While this is positive, should this be something that management should concern themselves with? The numbers say they should. J&J estimates that between 2002-2008 from each dollar invested into the health plan company saved 2.71 dollars.

Health and wellness programs have been traditionally considered a company perks and benefits to attract and keep quality employees. Historically it have been quite common to thing that only big companies “squander” money that way because they can afford it. Latest statistics indicates that in the light of an aging population creating the environment to support and emphasizes their people’s well-being becomes a strategically important. Forward thinking companies realize that they simply can’t afford to ignore their workers health. Thankfully also governments start to realize that it’s better to encourage healthy lifestyle instead of spending money on curing what could have been prevented. It has become more common to have a tax benefits to allow companies to invest in employees to prevent work related health issues.

What is a corporate health and wellness plan?

An effective health and wellness plan is a corporate fitness package that aims to support their employees (and sometimes their families) healthier choices and lessen the high health-risk lifestyle choices.  Milani, R.V. and Lavie C.J 2009  made a study involving 185 company employees and their family members. The study confirmed that having healthy employees help save money. Participant went through a rehabilitation and fitness programs under the experts to improve their cardiovascular health-risks.

From the people who were in the high risk group in the beginning of the study, 57% reached a lower risk group within six months. The classification was made based on body weight, blood pressure, anxiety levels and other related parameters. What more, the cost to medical claims decreased 1421 dollars per participating employee. A control group didn’t show such an improvement.

They concluded that every dollar invested into the health and fitness benefits can save you 6 dollars. Also, 57% of people participating in the program moved from high cardiovascular disease risk group to a lower group already in six months after making a change.

Healthy employee will remain in the company

There are other, indirect, benefits from investments into a corporate fitness plan.  Obvious, though external, is the increase of company prestige. It helps cultivate an image of a modern employer who provides mentally and physically healthy and productive work environment.

However, the analyses by Towers Watson and the USA National Business Group on Health demonstrated that when the company’s benefits included well planned out wellness plan, people were also far less likely to leave on their own will.

Software company SAS Institute estimates that their low quitting rate (only 4%) is in big part due to their well planned health benefits package. Tourism company Biltmore is another example of a success of implementing functional corporate wellness plan. Their high fluctuation of personnel (19% ) doped to 9% over four years. Motivation and benefits package manager of the Vicki Banks tells that people who participate in the wellness programs are the ones who stay longer. On a Nelnet, a company providing education financial services, asked the people on a leaving interview what will they miss the most. The number one answer was the wellness program.

Companies with an effective health and wellness plan report a lower present of people voluntarily leaving (9% and 12% respectively).

To conclude, an effective health and wellness plan have both direct as well as indirect benefits. It helps save money, keep people healthy, motivated and more likely to remain in the company. Read more about who to build a functional health and wellness plan here.

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References

https://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(09)01337-X/fulltext
Impact of Worksite Wellness Intervention on Cardiac Risk Factors and One-Year Health Care Costs. Milani, Richard V. et al. American Journal of Cardiology , Volume 104 , Issue 10 , 1389 – 1392

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