Recently there has been an increased interest in Employee Wellness. This interest has largely been attributed to millennial employees who are looking for non-traditional health and wellness benefits.
However, business owners need to consider the improved employee wellness may reduce employee absenteeism, reduce benefits costs and improve productivity.
What’s Wellness Worth?
As a small business owner, you’ve probably read about the surge of interest in wellness programs in the workplace. You may wonder if a Wellness Program is a viable option for businesses with 50 employees or less. Let us explain a few stats to help you decided.
What’s does absenteeism cost?
The average absenteeism rate in Canada in 2017, based on Statistics Canada data, was 9.3 days per full-time employee. The public-sector absenteeism rate (12.9 days) was higher than that of the private sector (8.2 days). And among unionized workers, the absenteeism rate was 13.2 days, compared to 7.5 days for non-unionized employees.
The direct annual cost of absenteeism is based on survey data provided by organizations to the Conference Board. Organizations estimated that the direct cost of absenteeism averaged 2.4 per cent of gross annual payroll.
A small business with 25 employees and a payroll of $2,000,000 would lose $48,000/year in absenteeism.
The economic losses identified in the study do not consider any indirect costs that might also affect organizations, such as replacement costs for absent workers, administrative expenses, or negative effects on other workers or customers.
Who’s offering Employee Wellness?
A Canadian National Wellness surveyed reported that 72% of Canadian businesses were offering some type of employee wellness programs.
Organizations with highly effective health and productivity programs report 11% higher revenue per employee.
Employee programs vary dramatically based on the employee’s needs:
- Flu shots
- CPR Training
- Ergonomic work stations
- Weight loss, fitness or quit smoking challenges
- Lunch time walking
- In-house yoga classes
- Subsidized gym memberships
- Healthy snacks in the staff kitchen
How to Start a Wellness Program
COMMIT – As an owner, you need to be committed and believe in the advantages of a wellness program. If you can’t lead the change in your culture, you need to identify an influencer who can accept the role of “Wellness Champion” and manage the program for you. This could be someone from any of your departments; administration, marketing, sales or technical support. This person needs to have the vision and enthusiasm to lead the change, but you must provide the support and the funds to set up the program.
ASK – You and your Wellness Champion need to conduct an employee survey and ask what aspects of a wellness plan they’d like to see offered.
COMMUNICATE – The goal of a WELLNESS PROGRAM is to improve overall health, improve moral and reduce healthcare costs. You and the Wellness Champion need to explain the advantages of the WELLNESS PROGRAM. You might want to do this at an employee lunch and learn featuring a healthy lunch alternative over the traditional coffee and donuts!
It’s also important that your employees understand the benefits provided by your group insurance and how to manage these benefits. At The Benefits Group, we often go to our client’s offices and offer a Lunch and Learn about how to use – not abuse – the employee benefit plan.
INCENT – Encourage employees to participate in the WELLNESS PROGRAM. Offer prizes for most weight lost
MEASURE – Prior to starting a Wellness Program, predetermine metrics of success
- Number or percentage of employees who participate
- Number of pounds lost
- Percent reduction in absenteeism
- Employee satisfaction increase
Measuring your success and sharing that success will your employees will encourage even more participation and success!
Stats Canada 2017
Canada Conference Press Release “Absent Workers Cost the Canadian Economy Billions
The Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey 2017
Sunlife Bright Papers, “A Strategic Dose of Wellness”