The goal of Corporate Wellness is to help employees feel healthier and happier. This, in turn, creates a more productive team of people working together to accomplish what the company has set out to do. But there are many myths associated with implementing corporate wellness successfully. Let’s review some common ones and separate fact from fiction.
MYTH #1: It’s too expensive.
With the myriad of wellness initiatives available, it’s easy to see mounting dollar signs when thinking about corporate wellness. The reality, however, is that you don’t have to do it all. It’s important to design programs and initiatives that fit within your environment and your budget. Smart approaches like leveraging digital resources and group activities can also help make your corporate wellness approach more cost-effective.
It’s important to also consider the financial gains resulting from an investment in corporate wellness. Healthier employees perform better. Period. Fewer aches and pains, lower absenteeism, a happier culture of people all lead to more productivity, efficiency and creativity.
MYTH #2: It’s not a company’s place to get involved in someone’s personal health
Often, discussions of corporate wellness lead to statements like “People get sick. There’s nothing you can do about it.” While it’s true that we cannot wipe out all health issues, we can play a powerful role in creating positive change.
The Public Health Agency of Canada indicates that 80% of heart disease and type II diabetes and 40% of cancers could be prevented by eliminating four common risk factors for chronic disease: unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol use.
No one likes being told that they need to improve their health. Employees won’t change their behaviour because you tell them to, but you can help them discover personal reasons for improving their physical and mental health. While the company will benefit from healthier employees, the goal is to change the culture and way of thinking so that employees understand that improving their health is ultimately for themselves and their family.
MYTH #3: Our employees won’t participate
Just as sales will suffer without the proper product development and marketing, employee participation in wellness initiatives won’t thrive without effective preparation and communication. You need to implement programs and activities that will interest and engage. Wellness initiatives that are boring, intrusive or require too much effort won’t do the job. Employees respond to activities they find fun, useful and inclusive. They also want to interact with professionals who are positive, friendly and supportive – so keep that in mind when inviting partners to support your program activities!
While corporate wellness benefits that impact the bottom line are useful for gaining management support, a genuine interest in helping your employees become healthier and happier should form the foundation of your efforts. Barry Schwartz1 and many other authors and leaders have spoken to the fact that people need a sense of purpose in their work. They want to enjoy autonomy and mastery. They also want to feel connected and be part of a community. If your approach to wellness does not consider these things, it will not result in the success that you’re aiming for.
MYTH #4: There’s no real ROI
There are clearly some opportunities for financial gains associated with corporate wellness (see MYTH #1 above), but these numbers can’t fully capture the benefits of investing in corporate wellness. Return on investment depends on how savings and successes are defined and measured and taking a broader look at results is important. Employee engagement, productivity, and retention are significant indicators of corporate success, and wellbeing is directly linked to these outcomes.
According to The Conference Board of Canada, research has found that lost productivity due to depression and anxiety alone are costing the Canadian economy billions of dollars.3 Investing in employee health helps create a culture of wellness where employees feel connected and valued and are ultimately happier. Happy employees stay, which translates into less turnover. Replacing employees is time-consuming, expensive and bad for morale.
Employees spend nearly a third of their week at work. Their workplace, therefore, directly influences their health and well-being. When implemented properly, wellness initiatives can have a significant impact. It’s important to remember that Corporate Wellness does not have a one size fits all approach. You need to really look at your organization and determine the best approach that suits your employees and culture. At the end of the day, when implemented and monitored correctly, corporate wellness is a valuable investment.
Need some more assistance?
Get your FREE Corporate Wellness Membership Starter Kit to get you started! Employee Wellness Solutions Network can help you create a healthier culture resulting in a more profitable and successful workplace. Our membership give you access to services including corporate wellness specialists, trainers and health coaches to help you create the best strategy for your organization. To learn more about the memberships, visit Employee Wellness Solutions Network.
We’re now tossing the coin to you. It’s your turn to tackle a wellness strategy within your company. Go get ‘em!
2 Public Health Agency of Canada. Preventing chronic disease strategic plan 2013- 2016. Ottawa, ON: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada; 2013. http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/443516/publication.html
3 The Conference Board of Canada. Wellness Initiatives: Trends in Organizational Health Management; November 16, 2017. https://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=9106&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
Employee Wellness Solutions Network: https://ewsnetwork.com
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