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Top 10 Benefits Of Employee Wellness Programs

11 min read
Last Updated on 23 February, 2024

In the ever-evolving business world, one thing has become very clear: a company is only as good as its workforce. Gone are the days when a hefty paycheck alone satisfied employees; today, they are concerned about burnout from overwork.

They seek jobs that can-

  • Accommodate their personal needs,
  • Align with their goals, and
  • Help them prioritize their health and security.

A study by Gallup revealed that global businesses incur a whooping loss of $322 billion annually due to employee burnout, including turnover and lost productivity. This major shift has prompted employers to re-evaluate their work culture metrics and consider employee wellness one of the major factors influencing a company’s success.

In response to these emerging concerns, employee wellness programs have gained prominence as a proactive approach to addressing these challenges head-on. These programs are designed to create a holistic, health-conscious workplace culture that not only prevents burnout but also elevates overall productivity and job satisfaction.

Let’s find out more about wellness programs in depth.

What are Employee Wellness Programs?

A graphic image showing an employee reaping the various benefits of corporate wellness programs such as nutrition, mindfulness, well-being, etc.

Employee wellness programs are incentive-driven initiatives introduced by employers to foster the overall well-being of employees. The primary objective of these programs is to motivate employees to strike a good work-life balance.

Wellness programs come with various platforms. Employees are incentivized to participate in various wellness activities on those platforms to boost their health.

These activities may include participating in a squat challenge, practicing mindfulness, or adopting a nutritious diet. Upon completing such activities, employees earn points or rewards that they can redeem later for various perks.

These corporate wellness programs incorporate many elements depending on the company’s priorities and budget. Some common components include:

Common components of an Employee Wellness Program includes Health Screenings, Lifestyle Management, Onsite Services, Incentives, Team Building Activities.

According to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, 79% of employees who participated in a health and wellness program said they were extremely satisfied with the program. They were also more likely to stay with the company than non-participants.

10 Amazing Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs

Corporate Employees are seen practicing mindfulness activity under employee wellness programs

Before diving directly into the benefits, let us try to understand the mechanics behind the effectiveness of wellness programs. How do employee wellness programs change human behaviors?

Not too long ago, Dr. Michael O’Donnell created a simple model for workplace wellness. The model is called AMSO. AMSO stands for Awareness, Motivation, Skills, and Opportunities.

The Awareness, Motivation, Skill and Opportunity Model of Michael O' Donnel

According to AMSO data, "Opportunities" account for 40% of behavior change success. Therefore, employees are more likely to sustain healthier habits if a company has a supportive environment, good policies, and peer support.

Culture and Environment accounts for Maximum Credibility for Sustained Behavior Change

This model has proven to help companies create effective wellness programs that cater to employee well-being.

Now, let's see what benefits such programs provide.

Benefits of Wellness Programs for Employees

5 Benefits if Wellness Programs for Employees

1. Improves Health Behaviours

Corporate Wellness Programs assist in cultivating and sustaining healthy habits by providing education, skills, motivation, and support. Such programs focus on behavior/habit change as their core objective.

These habits go beyond just physical wellness and encompass dimensions like -

Wellness Programs improve Health Behaviors by taking care of dimensions like Nutritional Awareness, Emotional Well-being, Community Engagement, Health Literacy

Employees’ chances of sustaining their habits increase when such dimensions are being taken care of. By accessing provided resources, employees realize health risks and start taking their well-being seriously.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) conducted a study involving overweight individuals with prediabetes. The aim was to assess the effectiveness of various treatment approaches.

The study showed that participants enrolled in a wellness program achieved significant outcomes:

The participant involved in a wellness program lost weight, blood pressure levels improved, their risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreased, etc.

Thus, providing an effective wellness program can drastically improve people’s health behaviors and reduce risks.

The end goal, therefore, is to encourage employees to alter their long-term lifestyles and not just to win in some short-lived fitness rat race!

The most widely adopted wellness programs are Smoking Cessation (91%), Physical Activities (86%), and Weight Management (79%).

Source: EBN, 2017

2. Reduces Stress

Corporate Wellness Programs benefit Employees by Reducing their Stress

Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. It is typically described as a feeling of tension, anxiety, or pressure. And given the tight 9-5 schedule of working adults, undergoing workplace stress is inevitable.

Statistics on Employee Stress given by The American Institute if Stress


By providing stress management workshops and training, such programs effectively target employee stress reduction. Doing so can also teach employees techniques like mindfulness and deep breathing to identify and cope with stressors.

Physical wellness is another key stress reducer promoted in wellness programs. Exercise, encouraged through fitness challenges, releases mood-enhancing endorphins and helps manage stress hormones.

Furthermore, mental health support is also a priority. Access to counseling and therapy services helps employees address mental health concerns, a major contributor to stress. Thus, these programs equip employees with valuable stress tools, ensuring a happier, more balanced workforce.

Suggested Read: How To Reduce Stress Hormones - 5 Natural Ways

3. Controls Chronic Disease Risks

The National Library of Medicine reveals that lifestyle plays a pivotal role in chronic diseases. The majority of health problems like high blood sugar, arthritis, and more are caused by lack of exercise and poor nutritional choices. Therefore, incorporating an effective wellness program is crucial for sustaining healthy habits.

Most wellness programs help prevent chronic diseases in 2 ways -

Wellness Programs help prevent chronic diseases either by addressing the risk factors or by assisting employees suffering from chronic ailments with support and aids

The American Heart Association has conducted an extensive study highlighting the effectiveness of wellness programs in reducing cardiovascular risks.

Another study called the Rand Report has similarly affirmed the ability of wellness programs to reduce chronic disease risks.

4. Improves Employee Morale

Employee morale is a significant factor in determining the success of a company. And implementing wellness programs can actually help with that. How? This is where Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs comes to light.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs emphasizes that when wellness programs take care of employees' safety needs, it actually boosts their morality.

When employers introduce wellness programs in their companies, it takes care of a part of the "Safety Needs" of the employees. Employees get to access resources, take part in wellness activities, attend workshops, earn points, and much more.

This incentivization encourages them to take proper care of their health. As a result, they climb the Maslow Hierarchy ladder and get one step closer to achieving the "Self Actualization Needs."

Self-actualization fosters motivation, purpose, and resilience, leading to greater job satisfaction and morale. It shows that when employees get opportunities to reach their full potential, they are more responsible and accountable.

The fact that corporate wellness programs improve employee morale has also been proven by a report. It showed that 54% of employees said their morale improved after participating in a wellness program.

"A good wellness program helps workers manage stress, develop a mindful way of working, and strengthen their relationship with the company."

5. Supports Financial Well-being

Corporate Wellness Programs benefit Employees by Supporting their Financial Well-being

A recent study found that almost 50% of full-time American employees spend their work hours concerned about personal financial matters. And almost 40% of young employees preferred financial benefits as a part of wellness programs.

But implementing an employee wellness program can help fix that. Such programs positively impact the financial well-being of employees through several factors-

  • Such programs can reduce healthcare costs by encouraging regular health check-ups and preventive care. This early detection of health issues can help employees avoid expensive medical treatment.

  • Some companies may also offer lower insurance premiums to employees engaging in wellness programs, leading to financial savings.

  • Financial incentives can also come under such programs. These incentives can be gift cards, cash bonuses, or contributions to retirement plans, providing employees with extra income.

  • Some wellness programs offer financial education. This can give employees insights into budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt. Such knowledge can lead to improved financial stability.

Suggested Read: 6 Employee Financial Wellness Tips For Your Workers


Bonus Benefits of Wellness Programs for Employees

Bonus Benefits of Wellness Programs for Employees include Strengthened Psychological Safety and Social Bonds, Teamwork Building and Enhanced Problem Solving Skills

Benefits of Wellness Programs for Employers

Benefits of Wellness Programs for Employers

6. Reduces Health Care Costs

Employee wellness programs have a significant impact on reducing healthcare costs for employers. One major factor is their focus on preventive care through regular health screenings.

By catching health issues early, employees can address them before they become more serious and expensive to treat. This proactive approach lowers medical expenses for both employees and employers.

Wellness programs also promote healthy behaviors such as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet. These lifestyle changes can help reduce the majority of the disease-causing risk factors by a greater margin.

As a result, employers see a decrease in the number of employees with medical conditions and a subsequent reduction in company healthcare costs.

According to Zippia, companies with wellness programs achieve a six-to-one return on investment (ROI). This ROI is mainly due to lower healthcare costs and reduced absenteeism rates, which save companies money and balance out the cost of wellness programs.

7. Boosts Productivity

Employee Wellness Programs Boost Productivity of Employees which in turn will profits the Employers

A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that participating in wellness programs can help improve productivity levels among employees and save money for their employers.

Suppose a company's HR implements a wellness program in his company. What will happen now is that the employees will get incentivized on completing fitness activities. Imagine gifting a 50$ gift card to an employee for completing 20,000 steps in a week. It will boost his/her fitness motivation.

This, in turn, will also show an impact on the employee's productivity levels. The employee will feel appreciated, and taking such small wellness measures will help improve his/her health. Therefore, employees will take fewer sick leaves, be more focussed at work, and also gleam with satisfaction.

This kind of focused and satisfied workforce will reap better outcomes for the company. Thus, when employers think good of employees, the company reaps double benefits.

Suggested Read: How Fitness Points Can Boost Your Corporate Wellness Program?

8. Decreases Absenteeism

A wellness program improves employee health, and this impacts whether employees are absent from work or not. Employees who are healthy and stress-free are less likely to take leave. They are more invested in their work and are more productive in general.

Wellness programs often include measures to combat stress and boost mental well-being. Lower stress levels among employees contribute to better overall mental health, reducing the likelihood of burnout and improving job satisfaction.

Suggested Read: Inculcate These Healthy Habits For Mental Health

Happy and engaged employees tend to stay with their employees for a long time, reducing turnover and recruitment costs.

ISDHdata indicates that every dollar invested in wellness programs leads to $5.82 in savings from reduced absenteeism costs. Such savings benefit employers in bountiful ways.

9. Supports Recruitment and Retention

Cororate Wellness Programs Benefit Employers by Supporting Recruitment and Retention

Corporate wellness programs are instrumental in supporting employers' recruitment and retention efforts. These programs are a magnet for attracting top talent.

In a competitive job market, candidates often seek employers who prioritize their well-being. Offering a comprehensive wellness program can give a company a distinct edge in attracting the best candidates.

On the retention front, employees feel valued and supported by their employer when they have access to wellness programs. This heightened job satisfaction often translates into a desire to remain with the company for the long term.

Suggested Read: Top 30 Employee Retention Strategies for the “New” Business World in 2023

When Gen Zers and millennials weigh their job options, wellness programs become pivotal, with 54% of Gen Z and 58% of millennials viewing them as important or extremely important.

10. Improves Corporate Culture and Public Image

Corporate Wellness Programs benefit Employers by improving their Corporate Culture and Public Image

Wellness programs foster a culture of well-being that resonates both internally and externally. When a company invests in the health and well-being of its workforce, it sends a powerful message that employees are valued. This, in turn, leads to a more inclusive, supportive, and positive company culture.

Wellness programs also contribute to a positive company image. Employers who invest in their employees' well-being are perceived as forward-thinking and caring.

This positive image can be a strong draw for candidates who want to work for a company that genuinely values its workforce.

Bonus Benefits of Wellness Programs for Employers

Bonus Benefits of Wellness Programs for Employers include Lowered Employee Turnover, Attract New Talent and Boost Engagement

According to the American Psychological Association, 89% of employees in companies that actively promote well-being activities are highly likely to recommend these workplaces to others.

Tips for Implementing an Effective Employee Wellness Program

Integrate wellness into company strategy: Ensure programs align with broader goals and initiatives.
Communicate: Summarize program aims and benefits to employees in a clear manner.
Promote at all levels: Get leaders and managers onboard to spread wellness goals company-wide.
Build a culture of health: Focus on care, trust, and sincerity so employees feel supported.
Address real needs: Tailor programs in accordance with employee values, interests, and health risks.
Track meaningful metrics: Measure productivity, satisfaction, and behaviors - not just participation.
Evaluate new tools: Leverage technology to gauge wellness holistically.
Celebrate wins: Recognize milestones to keep momentum and morale high.
Make participation easy: Offer flex scheduling, incentives, and integration into the workday.
Be consistent: Wellness is an ongoing journey – not just a one-time event.
Provide social support: Encourage camaraderie and teamwork to motivate employees.
Partner strategically: Work with providers like fitness companies, dietitians, and health tech companies to offer high-value specialized services employees want.
Evaluate new tools: Leverage technology to gauge wellness holistically.
Highlight success stories: To inspire others, share testimonials, before/after photos, and videos from employees who've improved their health through the program.
Make it fun: Incorporate friendly competition, snacks, prizes, and creativity into programs.

More Than Just Insurance: How Wellness Programs Go Beyond Health Coverage

Wellness programs and health insurance are like peanut butter and jelly—they aim to keep employees healthy but in different ways. Health insurance covers medical bills when you're already under the weather. Wellness programs, however, are the friendly coach in your corner, helping you avoid getting sick in the first place. They offer fitness tips, mental health support, and even rewards for staying healthy.

Think of wellness programs as the prevention squad, like superheroes stopping health issues before they start. On the other hand, health insurance is the trusty sidekick, ready to rescue you when health troubles strike.

And guess what? They can team up! Insurance plans can cover things like diabetes prevention, and together with wellness programs, they make sure you're feeling your best.

Plus, they've got your back for annual check-ups and flu shots, ensuring you stay in tip-top shape. They're the ultimate health dream team, ensuring you feel your absolute best!

The Vantage Fit app offered the right features to keep participants engaged in their corporate walking challenge. She says its personalized coaching, user-friendly interface, and social component led to improved team dynamics and morale, an increase in workplace wellness, and employee engagement.
– Elsa Robertson, Heidrick & Struggles

Bottom Line

The plethora of evidence makes an emphatic case - comprehensive wellness programs pay dividends. Employees supported in reducing health risks and improving behaviors reap the gains of enhanced well-being.

Simultaneously, organizations gain reduced premiums, health claims, and absenteeism, plus boosted retention, recruitment, and company reputation. The conclusion is clear: prioritizing holistic wellness fuels individual and organizational thriving.

Employee Wellness programs are truly a rising tide that lifts all boats. Implement one in your company and reap those benefits.

Request a Vantage Fit demo now to transform your workforce with an effective wellness program.

This blog was written by Shah Alif Ahmed and Bijaya Lakshmi Sarma, who work as marketing and wellness experts for Vantage Circle. For any queries, reach out to

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