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Why businesses can no longer afford to ignore employee wellbeing

Building a culture of employee wellness has often been something companies believe they shouldn't be responsible for. The old assumption that an individual’s health and wellness is a personal issue, and not something a business should be involved in, is changing. There is a growing expectation from employees to have healthier, more positive work environments. An 8-year Canadian study [1] found that high-pressure companies have nearly 50% greater healthcare expenses. When you consider 550 million US workdays [2] are lost each year due to stress on the job, there is a growing potential for employer liability.

Failing to attract and retain great employees is an additional disadvantage if caused by an unhealthy work environment. Years of rapid growth in the health and wellness industry is raising the awareness and expectations of employees. If replacing a single employee costs approximately 20% of that employee’s salary, [3] why aren’t more employers taking a proactive measure to keep their high performers?

We have found that most companies are unsure of where to begin in developing a wellness program and they don’t see the potential return on investment (ROI). If you care about your employees and believe the wellness culture of your company needs developed, re-invigorated, or polished here are a few suggestions to consider:

Benchmark, track and report progress

Over 90% of the 600 employees we surveyed believe their personal workplace wellness impacts their ability to be creative, healthy, and happy, yet less than 30% feel their health and wellness are being prioritized within the context of their daily work environment. There are many ways to define employee wellness, so it is important to create a collective definition. Once defined, integrate it into your company values. Create an assessment to measure, track, report, and communicate progress. Establish priorities based on feedback in the following areas: