Getting the most out of Corporate Wellness Programs

Corporate health and wellness programs have been around for a number of years now, particularly in larger businesses. There is evidence to back up the benefits to employees for corporate wellness programs with a meta-analysis of the literature finding that for every dollar spent on wellness programs, medical costs fall by $3.27. The literature also suggests a benefit to employers, with a fall of $2.73 in absenteeism costs for every dollar spent. Most corporate wellness programs have voluntary participation, so whilst the benefits look good on paper, it is evident anecdotally that the ‘higher risk’ workers don’t tend to participate as much in these programs. So, what can be done further?

From experience, one of the biggest factors impacting participation in programs is the lack of diversity in programs that companies tend to run with. It tends to be the same health assessments or group yoga sessions year in year out with the same people participating every year. From the perspective of a service provider, it can also be the lack of diversity of options for employers to choose from as well as the lack of malleability with programs to tailor to company needs. What may work for a group of office workers, won’t necessarily work for a group of labourers. A one size fits all approach definitely won’t work.

Absolute Balance likes to innovate and tailor it’s programs so that companies get the best return on investment with these programs. This can only be done by sitting down with the client and identifying their specific needs and requirements. On the back of one such occurrence, Absolute Balance was able to create a specific program called ‘Ask the Expert’. The client identified that their employees had poor uptake in programs and were having trouble engaging. The idea of the program was to have our consultants attend their work regularly for small periods over a number of weeks, chat with the workers casually around health and build rapport. Over the course of the program, more and more people started participating with workplaces having over 75% of their workers participating in different aspects of the program.

Whilst wellness programs are beneficial, be sure to find something that works best for your employees and your business to get the best return on investment. For more information on the Ask the Expert program and other wellness services that Absolute Balance can provide, contact us at info@absolutebalance.com.au

Aaron McErlaine (BSc – ExHealth, BSc – ExRehab, Dip WHS, Cert IV TAE)
Senior Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (ESSAM)

 

References:

Baicker, K., Cutler, D., & Song, Z. (2010). Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings. Health Affairs 29 (2)

Ha, T., & Mayrell, R. (2010). Employer Wellness Initiatives Grow, But Effectiveness Varies Widely. National Institute For Health Care Reform