Can workplace wellness programs increase engagement?

Can workplace wellness programs increase engagement?

Research has long suggested that healthy workers are hard workers, but new evidence is showing that healthy workers may also be more engaged. Many organisations have implemented health and wellness programs to increase employee performance, but these benefits are extending to positively influence workplace culture.

Wellness includes mental health as well as physical health.Wellness includes mental health as well as physical health.

Wellness means more than being healthy

While wellness programs in workplaces have long been concerned with physical health and disease prevention, employers are realising that wellness means much more in an organisational context.

A Virgin Pulse survey revealed that 80 per cent of wellness program participants cited stress as the leading reason for involvement. Likely in response to such revelations, Virgin Pulse CEO Chris Boyce explained how 78 per cent of wellness campaigns are evolving to include more than just physical health.

“There’s a much needed shift taking place in the industry,” he said. “By taking care of employees’ overall well-being, employers are creating great places to work filled with healthier, more productive employees.”

The study also found that 77 per cent of respondents believed that health and wellness programs had a positive impact on the organisational culture – suggesting a potentially immediate impact they can have on employee engagement.

Wellness as a road to engagement

The most engaged workplaces are 21 per cent more productive and 22 per cent more profitable than the least engaged.

There is an undeniable link between employee engagement and organisational success that is both significant and highly generalisable, revealed a Gallup survey of over 50,000 businesses and work units comprising of 1.4 million employees. Organisations ranked in the top quartile boasted an increase of 21 and 22 per cent in productivity and profitability respectively, as well as fewer safety incidents (48 per cent) and lower rates of absenteeism (37 per cent).

Larry Chapman similarly found that wellness campaigns accounted for a 25.1 per cent reduction in absenteeism. In an updated meta-evaluation of 61 academic studies, Mr Chapman suggested the benefits of such campaigns outweighed the costs by a ratio of 1 to 5.56.

Such a payoff is highly debatable, but seasoned workplace wellness campaigner Joyce Young explained to Harvard School of Public Health magazine that the benefits will not be instantaneous – it may take years for the true value of such campaigns to be realised.

Organisations increase their success rates with happy and healthy workers.Organisations increase their success rates with happy and healthy workers.

If you want to know more about how you can encourage better wellness practices in your workplace, contact the helpful HR consultants at Flexi Personnel.