Wellness programs, which support healthy behaviors of employees, may not be the top priority for leaders, but when you consider that well-run wellness programs can help companies save money, it’s clear that more attention needs to be paid to them.

There are a number of benefits to implementing (or improving) wellness programs.

First of all, wellness programs can save a company money.

Multiple studies have revealed that wellness programs can save organizations money on health care costs, including:  

  • a 2002 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report showed that at workplaces with physical activity programs, employers reduced healthcare costs by 20 to 50%;
  • Johnson & Johnson saved $250 million on health care costs in a decade through wellness programs. From 2002 to 2008, the return was almost $3 for every dollar spent;
  • a 2010 study published in the Harvard Business Review, “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?”, found that can wellness programs can result in as much as $6 in health care savings for every $1 invested;
  • a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion demonstrated that health care costs rose at a 15% slower rate among wellness program participants when employers consistently offered wellness programs to employees; and
  • a review of 72 studies published in the American Journal of Health Promotions showed an average corporate wellness return on investment of $3.48 per $1.

Other than savings in health care costs, the study above also showed an ROI of $5.83 per $1 when examining absenteeism.

Here are some other benefits to consider:

  1. Increased employee productivity. A 2002 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report showed an increase in productivity by 2 to 52%.
  2. Reduced workplace injuries.
  3. Improved employee morale and loyalty.
  4. Higher rates of employee retention.
  5. Happier employees.

Larger companies are more likely to offer wellness programs than smaller companies; and usually larger companies run the programs themselves while smaller companies typically use the firms that administer their health benefits plan or another third-party provider.

And finally, more and more employees are looking for companies with good wellness programs. Having a wellness program as part of your overall benefits package can help to attract and retain employees who value health and wellness. Ultimately a well run program can help you to attract healthier employees into your workforce which can help to increase profitability.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Aberdeen Proving Ground