Employee Wellness Programs: An Attainable Goal
Was Wellness on your company’s new year’s resolutions list? Here we are
a little over midway into the third month of 2008, the time when resolutions
start to falter if they haven’t lost momentum completely. Has your Worksite’s
wellness resolution fallen by the wayside? If so, there are still ways to get
back on track.
One Wellness tip comes to us from the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, reported
from the Jersey Shore. Rod Shirk, the YMCA’s chief financial officer,
participated in the organization’s first executive Employee Wellness Program,
which registered his cholesterol as higher than normal. That prompted him to
get a physical, which showed high levels of a prostate-specific antigen (PSA
that often indicates prostate cancer. The outcome? His doctors caught a life-threatening
illness just in time.
Thanks Employee Wellness Program.
So of course, Shirk is a huge proponent of Employee Wellness Programs. He says,
“For us here at the YMCA, if we are telling people to be healthy, we had
better set a good example for our workers.”
Wellness Decreases Health Care Costs
Though cases like Shirk’s dramatic cancer save are the most desirable
effect of Employee Wellness Programs, it isn’t the initial draw for organizations.
They do it to lower health care costs, and there’s no doubt that Employee
Wellness Programs do just that. Employee Wellness Plan Statistics show that
Employee Wellness Programs return anywhere from $2.30 to $10.10 per dollar spent
on wellness. “Health care costs should go down as people think about changing
their diets and getting more active,” Shirk says.
The Employee Wellness Plan savings aren’t just in the Health Insurance
department. Human resource departments report that Employee Wellness Programs
also reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.
Still, businesses have been loath to invest that elusive Wellness dollar despite
the well-documented returns. A Principal Financial Group and Harris Interactive
survey found that only 10% of small- to medium-size organizations have made
worksite Health Screening and Biometric Testings – like the one that saved Shirk’s
life – available to their workers.