The Benefits of Prioritizing Employee Wellbeing

Employee wellbeing is crucial to building a positive and productive employee experience. But what constitutes employee wellbeing has changed in recent years. What do employees want out of their company’s health and wellness programs today? And how do they benefit the employer?


Studies show that one-third of millennials have health conditions that reduce their quality of life and life expectancy, making them less healthy than members of Generation X were at the same age.


The good news? Successful health and wellness programs don’t just improve employee wellbeing, they also attract better talent, improve job performance, increase productivity, and reduce levels of employee burnout—without necessarily incurring a significant cost to the employer.


What’s included in the best employee wellness programs?


Supporting employee wellness starts with an investment in their physical health. A comprehensive healthcare plan is an essential requirement for modern wellness programs.


But in a post-COVID environment, employers must go a step further to stand out from the crowded marketplace. Survey data shows that what many employees look for in a prospective employer’s health and wellness packages are benefits that support their physical and mental health, financial health, as well as those that support a better work-life balance.


Here are some of the benefits that are important to employees today:



  • Better health, dental and vision insurance

  • Mental health resources

  • More flexible work hours

  • More vacation time

  • Work-from-home flexibility

  • Paid family leave

  • Free day care services

  • Student loan assistance

  • Tuition assistance

  • Free gym membership

  • Free fitness classes

  • Free snacks

  • Free coffee

  • Company retreats and team bonding events

  • On-site gym


Keep in mind that employees’ concerns can—and will—change over time. Not to mention that the benefits that matter to one group of employees may differ from what matters most to your employees.


If you’re designing your company’s wellness program for the first time or revitalizing an existing program, use that opportunity to take stock of your employees’ unique needs. Listening to what’s most important to them won’t just give them agency over their wellbeing, it can help to make them feel even more invested in the future of the organization.


What benefits can employers experience from employee wellness initiatives?


Offering competitive wellness initiatives isn’t just about attracting—and keeping—the best talent. Put simply: when employees feel their best, they tend to perform their best at work.


Here are some of the top advantages employers can experience from robust health and wellness programs:



  • Lower healthcare costs: Healthy employees cost a company less. Data from a Harvard Wellness Program Meta Study shows that for every dollar spent on an employee wellbeing program, one company saved over three dollars in healthcare costs. Another study found that every dollar spent on wellness interventions yielded six dollars in healthcare savings. And with the tax incentives and grants available, American organizations can use wellness programs to reduce overall healthcare costs even further.

  • Reduced absenteeism: Better wellness programs help to improve the health of employees, which means fewer days missed due to illness or disease. But wellness initiatives also work to reduce absenteeism from burnout. Ultimately, healthier employees equals more present employees.

  • Better engagement: Research shows that employee wellness programs work to improve employee engagement. When employees feel that they’re being cared for, it leads to better performance in the workplace.


How do they benefit employees?


Health and wellness benefits are top of mind among today’s workforce. In fact, 80% of employees surveyed said they wanted benefits or perks more than they wanted a pay raise. But these initiatives go beyond supporting their physical and mental health.


Employee wellness programs can benefit employees in a myriad of ways, including:



  • Fostering a sense of belonging: One study by Qualtrics found that a sense of belonging is one of the most important factors that impact wellbeing at work. Wellness initiatives can help to foster a sense of belonging for all employees.

  • Building empowerment: Wellness programs that offer resources to help employees become proactive about their mental and physical health can increase the sense of empowerment employees feel when it comes to nurturing their wellbeing.

  • Improving the future of employee health: Prioritizing access to preventive healthcare as part of your wellness initiative can improve employee health in the long-run, which in turn may help to improve employee retention.

  • Better social and emotional health: Wellness initiatives that include organization-wide retreats, team bonding events, and other social programs can help to improve the social and emotional health of employees.


How much are employers spending?


The cost of employee wellness programs can vary greatly depending on the size of your company and offered benefits. For example, some of the most important benefits to employees, including additional paid time off and free food, are fairly inexpensive to provide. Still, it’s clear that the total budget for wellbeing programs in the United States is increasing.


In 2021, the average budget for employee wellbeing programs was $6 million, or $238 per employee.


Specific programs in which employers are expanding support include those that focus on mental and emotional health, work-life balance, and financial wellbeing. These areas are particularly important to employees in the post-COVID landscape, which has been marked by a rise in anxiety, stress, depression, and employee burnout.


How can Forfend benefit my organization if I’m on a budget?


Wellness programs that build a culture of holistic wellbeing may be best suited to adapt to the needs of the modern workforce, including organizations that are now operating under a hybrid work model. But the central pillar of employee wellness programs remains better, more robust healthcare coverage.


At Forfend, we’re flipping the script on preventive care. Our results and data-driven approach to disease prevention and healthspan optimization is designed for the modern patient and offers maximum prevention in minimal time—without cutting corners.


Forfend was founded by leading doctors and health experts who, having seen tens of thousands of people with chronic health conditions that could have been prevented, sought to design a new kind of wellness exam.


Our approach is rooted in the latest science, driven by data, and shortens the bench to bedside delay while keeping the integral relationship between physician and patient intact.


Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), preventive visits are covered at a $0 cost to employees. Employers can opt to offer Forfend’s preventive visits at no incremental cost and decide if they want to subsidize other wellbeing programs that we offer, including dietitian visits, wellness groups, and more. We also complement and complete existing benefits that your organization may already offer, like same-day urgent care, mental health, and fertility benefits.


Our primary goal is to help people live healthier, longer lives by taking the guesswork out of prevention. Guided by personalized data, science-backed insights and 1:1 doctor-led guidance, Forfend can help your organization provide practical and effective preventive healthcare that helps your employees identify early risk factors and make actionable lifestyle changes that benefit their health and wellbeing.


Sources


7 Strategies to Improve Your Employee’s Health and Well-being. (2021.)


Can job redesign interventions influence a broad range of employee outcomes by changing multiple job characteristics? A quasi-experimental study. (2016.)


Employee Benefits Study: The Cost and Value of Employee Perks. (n.d.)


Engaging Employees in Their Health and Wellness. (2018.)


How much are employers investing in wellness programs? (2021.)


Stress…At Work. (2014.)


Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings. (2010.)


Your ultimate guide to employee wellbeing. (n.d.)

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