WELLNESS PROGRAM

Jun 13, 2019 | 0 comments

Jun 13, 2019 | Miscellaneous | 0 comments

EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAM

Introduction

Employees are the most important and in fact the highest valued asset for your company. Many times their productivity and output are affected by continued sickness, mental fatigue, and generally poor health. The employee wellness program is designed to ensure the highest productivity and a healthy workforce throughout the production year. According to Volpp et al. (389) a health and wellness program works in the same way as continued maintenance of machines. Without proper maintenance, machines slow down productivity and in some cases completely shut down any form of production thus affecting the company output. It is to be remembered that if machines shut down, it becomes difficult and expensive for the company to bring back the machine to running. Constant maintenance is the key to mitigating a complete shutdown. In the same way, employees need constant check-ups and immediate access to proper healthcare and treatment which in turn ensures that they are up and running, and energized for work rather than shutting down.

With the increased costs of healthcare, one of the best ways of ensuring a healthy workforce is providing an onsite health and wellness center. This ensures that employees have access to low cost, highly personalized healthcare at all times. A wellness center focuses not just on the care of the injured and sick, but also on encouraging employees to adopt a healthier lifestyle so that the company develops a general overall state of wellness which allows the employees to live and function their absolute best.

Stakeholder Analysis

Gebhardt and Crump (262) suggest that majority of the companies have failed and often felt no need for the employee wellness programs, simply because they provide insurance for the same employees. The companies often view the program as a benefit to the employees only, and a cost to the company. However, a clear stakeholder analysis shows that there are several other beneficiaries and stakeholders to be involved in this system.

Company and management: the first and most crucial beneficiary of the program will be the company. Continued absenteeism due to sickness as well as decreased output per employee because of poor health is one of the issues that human resource managers have to deal with. Sick employees mean that the company is not operating at its highest capacity. In some cases even though the employees are present they are also operating at minimum productivity. Despite several efforts to motivate them, they continue bringing out low outputs. A health and wellness center works together with the management to ensure that employees not only receive adequate emergency care in case of injury or sickness at the workplace thus reducing absenteeism but also to provide wellness and general wellbeing advice to employees ensuring they are happy at the workplace and motivated to work.

Fiancé executives: like all other services offered within the company, the wellness center includes costs. Often finance executives have to measure the cost of maintaining the center against that of paying for the care of employees outside the company. The main advantage of course in terms of cost is that with an onsite wellness program, it is much easier to control the costs thus ensuring that budgets are not overwhelmed. Also, with increased productivity, the finance department has more resources to work with and enjoy and in the same way to spend on extra products.

The union representing the workers: the main mandate of the union is to ensure that workers enjoy high-quality services from the company. The unions are always working to ensure that the general wellbeing of the employee is made the priority. By setting up a flawless program, the company is indeed stating and clearly showing that their employees come first and that their health and wellbeing is not only their concern, it is their absolute priority. This makes the work of the union representative easy, as employees are kept happy and the quality of the care they receive is easily guaranteed.

Spouses and the community: whenever employees are unwell, and unable to access immediate care and attention, their families and spouses become involved in the process. In fact, the spouses may face a bigger mental and psychological burden as they attempt to ensure that their loved ones get the care they are looking for and that they deserve. For this reason, a wellness center ensures that the spouse’s concern is also taken care of. Also, communities may benefit where employees are happy and productive ensuring they earn more and thus spend more which in turn maintains the development of the community easily.

Finally, there may be otter stakeholders who although not benefiting directly from the program still enjoy some crucial benefits, they include customers who will have access to employees at all times, employees who are happy and motivated to ensure their satisfaction. Others include distributors and suppliers who are ensured of an uninterrupted flow of work because all employees are present and healthy, willing, and ready to work to ensure the satisfaction of everyone.

Research Methodology

To set u the right system and program, research must be conducted to ensure that the employees need the program in the first solace and turn will benefit from the program that is set up. The researcher will make use of both primary and secondary sources of information.

Primary sources of information

Workers

Managers of the company

Interviews and questionnaires The researcher will conduct interviews with the managers and hand out questionnaires to the workers.
Secondary methods Literature review From academics and previous researchers who have focused on identifying and studying the value of wellness programs for the workers and the company
Observation Of other companies which have introduced wellness center. In specific, Care Xpress urgent care and La Porte physicians urgent care for employees.
  Key informant interviews The managers of the above already set up employee programs. To highlight some of the challenges and problems they have encountered in setting up the programs.
     

Management interviews: interviews have been selected for this cohort of respondents because they provide the most ideal foundation from which to build the needs of the company. The managers are few, but understand both sides of the coin. On the one hand, they have experienced and seen the cost of employee absenteeism, sickness, and a general lack of wellness to the company. On the other hand, they know what the company objectives are and what resources are available to the management to complete this task. They are therefore in the best position to explain and show the researcher the most ideal form of a wellness program that would be suitable.

Employee questionnaires: the wellness program is to be designed for the employees, therefore their input is vital as it includes what they desire the program to include and what services they feel are urgent to them. Because of the number of employees involved, even though a sample will be selected questionnaires have been selected to ensure speed of response since interviews are likely to take much longer. Further, questionnaires ensure employee anonymity so that they are more willing to not only participate but also indicate the truth, not subjective responses based on what management or the researcher may want to hear.

Secondary methods: to support the data gathered from primary methods the researcher will conduct a thorough review of literature focusing mainly on research on employee wellness programs. Also, the researcher will consider a benchmarking practice that will borrow from already established employee programs. Thus, the researcher will gain insight into the working structures and the general systems that are beneficial when working with employees, key informant interviews will provide the majority of the data to be gathered at this stage. This is because they will focus not on what is expected, but what managers have previously experienced with wellness programs. This will include the challenges that they have encountered with such programs and the benefits that they have accrued from the same. Also, there will be a comparison of the different structures of programs and thus which one works best when employed at the workplace and which has more costs and challenges. The key is to use the informant interviews as a map to guide the researcher in setting up the most ideal program.

Data Analysis

Why have a wellness program

As can be seen from the graph above, as unhealthy habits increased the more the company experienced absenteeism. This easily leads to the conclusion that employees may not necessarily become sick due to biological viruses and bacteria but rather through lifestyle habits. Therefore to curb the increase in absenteeism, workers need programs that are structured to educate and advise them constantly on general wellbeing. Whereas providing insurance ensures that workers are treated, problems such as poor diet and lack of exercise can only be addressed through personalized care which allows constant follow-up to ensure that the individual has to only out to practice what they were advised but is also generally healthy. This can only be done through a wellness program.

Wellness programs offered by employers

From the above graph, the majority of the employers relied on simple screening to provide a form of a wellness program for employees. According to Goetzel et al. (927), health screening though important provides no substantial follow-up for the employee to ensure their proper healthcare. It does not give a proper footing for employees to become healthier and improve their general wellbeing. As such, health screening is often ignored by employees because it is imagined to be a waste of time. Health screening focuses on what is wrong with the employees and not what can be done to improve their general wellbeing. Even with incentives, it is clear that employees often attend health screening for the very wrong reasons focusing more on the incentive rather than what can be accrued in terms of lessons from the health screening. Only 8% of the employers provide onsite wellness programs and these employers enjoy a stronger, more committed workforce with little absenteeism and employee turnover issues.

Benefits of a wellness program

Benefits to the employer

Reason Accumulated parentage (%)
Improves overall wellbeing of the workers 56%
Empowers employees to change their behavior and become more productive 35%
Minimizes poor motivation at the workplace 43%
Improves productivity 54%
Minimizes time spent on personal issues 16%
Creates a peaceful workplace environment 3%
Minimizes time off 10%

Employers indicated that one of the most crucial benefits of introducing an employee wellness program is that it ensures that the employees enjoy overall health and wellbeing. This means that not only are employees not sick and suffering from physical ailments, but they are also at a place where they enjoy general health in their body, mind, and spirit. This means they are more relaxed and thus more willing to commit time to meet the company goals and objectives. On the same length, 43% of the employers felt that wellness programs minimize poor motivation. According to Osilla et al. (74), motivation gives birth to increased productivity. Without motivation, companies have to endure increased turnover and continued wastage as employees do not seek to do more than is required of them. Motivation allows the company to reach their goals faster. You cannot motivate employees who are suffering from unhealthy habits and under the heavy burden of poor health. Motivation begins with ensuring that physically and mentally, employees are well enough o participate and take part in the workplace duties and activities. 16% of employers felt that workplace wellness programs have a way of reducing the time that employees spend away from work catering to personal problems and issues.

Benefits to employees

Employees interviewed indicated that the following were some of the benefits to be expected or they expected to enjoy from the wellness program.

Reason for the program (benefit) Accumulated percentage
Improve overall wellbeing 31%
Improve awareness of health situations 49%
Empower to change behavior and health attitudes 25%
Minimize stress 30%
Improve productivity 34%
Reduce time spent on personal issues 11%

For the employees, the wellness program would be of great benefit in creating awareness. The majority of the employees are not aware they are suffering from certain medical issues, such as high blood pressure and high sugar saturation. Such problems are only made known when the symptoms are overwhelming and management becomes a burden to the employee. Having beforehand knowledge on the same would allow the employees to generate counteractive measures and in turn, enjoy a much healthier outlook to life in general. Secondly, 30% of the employees felt that the program would reduce the stress that they encounter daily. The presence of physicians and someone to generate advice on how to manage life healthily means that the employee has less to worry about especially in terms of his own health which is always a major concern among people. 34% of the respondents felt that they were less productive not because of a lack of desire but simply because they were strained by their physical and psychological unwellness and challenges. A wellness program would help the said employees navigate through their challenges with less time and costs to themselves and the company and thus improve their own productivity. Also, 11% felt that the same program would cut on the time that they spent on personal issues.

Conclusion

Work Cited

Gebhardt, Deborah L., and Carolyn E. Crump. “Employee fitness and wellness programs in the workplace.” American Psychologist 45.2 (1990): 262.

Goetzel, Ron Z., et al. ” Do workplace health promotion (wellness) programs work?.” Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 56.9 (2014): 927-934.

Osilla, Karen Chan, et al. “Systematic review of the impact of worksite wellness programs.” The American journal of managed care 18.2 (2012): e68-81.

Volpp, Kevin G., et al. “Redesigning employee health incentives—lessons from behavioral economics.” New England Journal of Medicine 365.5 (2011): 388-390.