Would you like to retain great talent, improve employee productivity, boost company morale, and decrease costs associated with absenteeism, workplace injuries and the rising cost of health care?
If you are like the majority of US companies, you answered yes to all of the above. In fact, some of your most important short and long term initiatives center around one or more of these very topics. What if we were to tell you that ONE simple action could positively impact ALL of these important company goals and objectives? We can: Implement an Employee Wellness Program.
Everyone knows that our country is in the middle of an epidemic of sorts: we are sitting more, moving less, eating processed and unhealthy foods, gaining weight, and being diagnosed with chronic illnesses like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart problems and high blood pressure. Our obesity levels are rising and the ages that we are seeing the long term effects of unhealthy lifestyles are getting younger and younger. Some employers might say that it’s none of their business. But, that is where they are wrong. It absolutely impacts their businesses and therefore it literally IS their business.
Like most things in life, there is a domino effect to bad choices. An employee sits at a desk all day in a high stress job and rarely moves. He eats fast food for lunch and sips on high calorie soft drinks. He feels sluggish by late afternoon and reaches for a stimulant, be it a high calorie coffee drink, sugar or a cigarette. He leaves work late, rushes home to figure out dinner, and ends up at a drive thru or ordering a pizza. He doesn’t take time to exercise, falls asleep watching television and drags himself to bed only to start the whole cycle again in the morning.
An employee that lives this lifestyle has increased his chance of developing a number of chronic conditions, which increases his likelihood of missing work due to illness. Some research even shows that unhealthy employees have a higher occurrence rate of workplace injuries due to poor body awareness, worn joints, and an inability to correctly lift, move, bend or balance. Unhealthy employees often suffer from sleep issues, which impacts their daily productivity. Poor lifestyle choices also contribute to mental health issues, including depression and a person’s sense of well-being. All of these choices can lead to an increased number of doctor visits, prescription costs, and the like. In addition, a company full of employees as described can have a significant negative impact on morale. The cycle is difficult to stop once it starts.
What can an employer do to encourage healthier employees? There are many options, but some include:
- Create an environment where people are encouraged to move by integrating things like stand up desks, stability ball chairs, exercise areas or walking paths. Even motivational signage and scheduled “brain breaks” can be helpful.
- Provide healthy choices in your vending machines and cafeterias. Be sure lunches, etc. that are brought in have available healthy alternatives. Offer free water. Do not build incentives around unhealthy foods or habits.
- Hire someone to manage a Wellness Program that encourages a healthy lifestyle. Or, if you cannot do that immediately, find out if there is someone already on your staff that is knowledgeable in this area and start small.
- Consider making your workplace smoke free, and offer programs that encourage smoking cessation.
- Motivate employees by incenting adherence to healthy lifestyle choices by creating fun contests, programs and initiatives that employees can participate in.
- Offer free or discounted wellness screening, fitness testing, health club memberships or the like.
- Model healthy behaviors.
While there will be costs associated with implementing a wellness program, the returns on such an investment can be significant and, in many cases, immeasurable.
An award-winning staffing expert in Southeastern Wisconsin in manufacturing, clerical, professional and light industrial placements, Nissen Staffing Continuum is proud of our commitment to improving the lives of both our clients and associates. As your strategic partner, we’ll help you take your staffing initiatives to the next level, whether it’s onsite programs, direct hire placement, temp-to-hire programs or temporary staffing with our team of recruiters that are supported by a full-time sourcing department. For more information about how we can help you find great employees, contact us today and allow us to help you with your HR needs so you can focus on your company’s success!