Creating a cost-effective wellness program at your small business

Providing fruits and vegetables at company meetings will encourage employees to adopt healthier eating habits.

Providing fruits and vegetables at company meetings will encourage employees to adopt healthier eating habits.

There are a number of ways to improve employee wellness without breaking the bank, and research shows that wellness programs can save money in the long run while boosting efficiency in the workplace. Data culled from 56 different studies was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, and "showed an average 27 percent reduction in sick leave absenteeism, 26 percent reduction in health care costs, and 32 percent reduction in workers' compensation and disability management…claims," reports Inc. writer Sarah Kessler.

Inc. gives the following tips for implementing a cost-effective, high-ROI wellness program at your company:

  • Have your employees complete a questionnaire known as a Health Risk Appraisal (HRA), which collects data on lifestyle habits, to determine their needs.
  • Poll your employees on which potential program features they would be most interested.
  • Incentivize employees to quit smoking. "If there is one wellness benefit that will save you the most money, helping employees become non-smokers is it," Kessler writes. Men and women who smoke incur more medical expenses and are absent more often. Additionally, make sure your group insurance policy covers counseling and nicotine replacement medication.
  • Remind employees to get cancer screenings, or work with a local hospital to arrange for them to be available on-site. Kessler also suggests providing employees paid time off to attend screening appointments.
  • Encourage workers to participate in a walking club, take the stairs, and/or commute via bicycle.
  • Provide healthy food at meetings and in office vending machines.

Putting a wellness program in place will not only improve the health of your employees, it'll also benefit the bottom line. Dee Edington, director of the Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan, told Inc.: "If you do nothing, it's proven that it's going to be expensive."

HR software implementation can assist your company in reaching its wellness-oriented goals by giving employees access to the health-related resources and information they need.