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Does Your Workplace Wellness Program Need a Tune-up?

Over the past decade workplace wellness programs have grown from being “a nice to have” for some companies to now becoming a Very Big Deal. Dozens of studies have shown their impact on employee health (we even did our own study and the results astounded us). Others show a likely link to employee engagement. And now the Affordable Care Act has introduced new incentives for those programs.

And along the way, the focus of programs has shifted from “workplace wellness” to “employee wellbeing.” That’s where things get interesting—and why your program might need a tune-up. If your program is stuck in the traditional “wellness program” rut think about this:

Employee wellbeing addresses the whole person. That whole person might have financial concerns. Or might experience stress on the job or in their personal life. These things can have a negative impact on health that an employee walking program or a basket of fruit in the break room won’t fix.

Employee wellbeing can contribute to lower turnover. Forty-five percent of employees responding to a Virgin Pulse 2015 survey said they’re more likely to stay at a company with an employer-sponsored wellbeing program.

Managers with high wellbeing are 2X more likely to be engaged. The finding is based on a Gallup survey of 2,658 managers. This is critical because direct reports of highly engaged managers are 59 percent more likely to also be highly engaged, according to Gallup.

Wellbeing programs outperform traditional wellness programs. Integrated wellbeing programs had an “extremely positive” impact on employee engagement according to 80 percent of respondents to a 2014 WorldatWork survey of 6,484 members. Just 54 percent said traditional wellness programs were as effective. The impact on healthcare costs was 73 percent “extremely effective” for wellbeing programs vs. 53 percent for traditional wellness initiatives.

If you think it’s time to make the shift to an integrated wellbeing program for your organization, here are wellbeing program components that many organizations in the WorldatWork survey support—and that you might want to incorporate into your program:

  • Health concerns: Immunizations, smoking cessation, mental/behavioral health coverage, diet and nutrition, HRAs.
  • Work-life balance: Flexible schedules, vacations, community-involvement programs, childcare assistance.
  • Retirement planning: Financial education, financial advice, information on budgeting and debt management.
  • Workplace environment: Safety and ergonomics.
  • Stress reduction: EAP, yoga, meditation.
  • Skill building: Stress management, time management, workplace relationship skills.

June is Employee Wellbeing Month. Maybe this is the time to take a look at your own programs. If you’ve still got a traditional wellness program, think about a tune-up so it contains components of a high-performing employee wellbeing program. And if you’ve got an integrated wellbeing program in place, congratulations!

If your company can benefit from lower turnover, increased employee engagement, and lower health care costs, contact a Marketing Innovators specialist today



“Total Rewards and Employee Well-being Practices,” A Report by World At Work Underwritten by HealthMine, 2015.

“State of the Industry: Engagement and Wellness in 2015,” Virgin Pulse, 2015.