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Wellness and Employee Retention

October 05, 2011 | Leave a Comment

Healthy Employee on Ellipitical Machine

Increasing evidence supports the need for employee wellness programs – lower health care costs, increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism. But what about employee retention rates? Retention rates vary greatly from company to company. The companies with the highest retention rates have one common denominator – happy employees!

The extent to which an employee is happy and comfortable with his or her job is the single best determining factor in high retention rates. Employee turnover is expensive and employers are always looking for ways to keep employees at their organization for longer periods of time, but many overlook the impact of a wellness program on happy and healthy employees.

With rising health care costs, concerns about employee health are already high among employers. Research shows that over 70% of health care spending is attributable to modifiable lifestyle behaviors. In any given workforce, these problems are increasingly found on a larger scale. If there is any illness or problem affecting an individual at work, the quality of work will be adversely affected. Thus, the employee’s health is an important factor in determining retention rates.

Proof is in the numbers a recent survey conducted by Principal Financial found that 45% of Americans working in small to medium size companies (10 – 1,000 lives) would stay at their jobs longer because of employer-sponsored wellness programs. Wellness programs are generally designed to do two things: create an awareness of health by identifying health risks and offer a solution. The solution may include education on nutrition, stress management programs, smoking cessation programs…the list is endless. Once we encourage employees to take control of their health, the company will begin to see changes within the organization.

How does something as simple as nutrition education help a company benefit in regards to employee retention? Company sponsored wellness programs send a message to the employees that management values their well-being. Employees will feel taken-care-of when such programs are implemented and this will increase the employee’s commitment towards their work through increases in productivity and efficiency.

Wellness programs are a win-win situation. Employers win by retaining top talent, reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity, reducing health care costs and most importantly employees are healthy and happy! No company will be successful in the global marketplace without healthy and productive people.

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