Workforce Health + Benefits

How Corporate Wellness Programs Can Impact Employee Retention

It’s no secret that the Great Resignation and COVID-19 have caused companies to re-think their employee retention strategies. Over the past few years, everything we knew about work changed. Now, competition looms over employers to offer a more robust employee benefits package.

Employers now face the challenge of supporting existing employees, attracting new employees and doing so cost-effectively.

Before we discuss how employers can get existing and prospective employees excited about joining their company, you have to understand what employees expect from their current or future employer.

What are employees looking for?

When job hunting, there are a lot of things to consider. Will this position be in-person? Is the salary competitive? Can I grow in this role?

Outside of the day-to-day realities of our jobs, one of the most sought-after offers prospective employees look for when considering joining a company are the health and wellness benefits.

A few other things can help keep them there long-term: Employees who feel a sense of responsibility, growth and overall satisfaction are more likely to stay. In addition, employees who feel connected to the company’s environment are also motivated to stay longer. Employees who choose to stay with their workplace are interested in keeping their benefits rather than having to rebuild what they have somewhere else.

Easier said than done, but if employers can offer supportive benefits and foster a positive working environment, employees will be more inclined to stay longer.

How Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Affects Retention

Don’t underestimate how diversity, equity and inclusion efforts can impact workplace retention. These elements are essential for creating a workplace where everyone feels supported and able to thrive. Employees who report feeling included are likely to stay at their organization up to three times longer than co-workers who don't. In addition, employees who feel included:

Workplaces where diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are top of mind report that fewer people are motivated to leave the organization. For employees in healthcare:

  • Almost half thought about leaving if they felt their organization didn’t value DEI.
  • Employees wouldn’t stay for more than three years if DEI wasn’t appreciated.
  • If new opportunities arose, employees were four and a half times more likely to leave their current organization if DEI wasn’t recognized in their workplace.

Why Employees Leave Their Workplaces

There are lots of reasons why employees might choose to leave their workplace. However, the general uncertainty about the world and their livelihood caused employees everywhere to think critically about their work and how they spend their days.

These are the most common reasons workers left their jobs in 2021:

  • Low pay – 63%
  • No opportunity for advancement – 63%
  • Unhappy with the way they were treated – 57%
  • Lack of caregiver support – 48%
  • Lack of flexibility in working hours – 45%
  • Lack of satisfactory benefits – 43%
  • Working too many hours – 39%

Personal and family needs often play a prominent role in why employees leave or stay at their current job. Although most personal life factors are out of the employer’s control, taking care of employees by providing comprehensive benefits, reviewing compensation, career pathing and location and start/end time flexibility can help attract and secure top talent.

How can a corporate wellness program improve employee retention?

Competitive health and wellness benefits can make an employee’s decision to join a company simple and can commit them to stay for longer – in fact, 66% of employees wait to review their company’s new benefits offering before deciding to stay or leave their job. Employees have always cared about benefits, but their desire for employers to prioritize them in 2022 has skyrocketed. Here are four specific ways that having a corporate wellness program can help solidify these efforts:

1. A corporate wellness program satisfies employees’ wishes for benefits that support their physical health.

88% of job seekers give some or serious consideration to better health, dental and vision insurance benefits when choosing between a high-paying job and a lower-paying job with better benefits.

Connecting your health insurance plan to a corporate wellness program and providing incentives to participate shows your investment in employee health and well-being beyond providing affordable health insurance and helps employees control their healthcare costs.

A wellness program that helps employees prevent and manage chronic conditions also helps employers create a more competitive benefits plan by reinvesting their savings in various ways (who and what is covered, cost share and additional benefits are a few examples).

2. A corporate wellness program helps employees and employers gain control of their healthcare costs.

The cost paid by both employers and employees for health insurance rises every year. For many working Americans, the monthly health insurance premium cost is a real pay cut. Offering employees a premium discount or health savings account deposit for participating in the company wellness program helps offset their healthcare costs and build confidence in their total compensation package.

A company wellness program can also stabilize the employer’s healthcare costs. Consider that the pandemic and overall cost of healthcare have caused Americans to accrue massive amounts of health debt by avoiding care and relying on unhealthy habits to cope with stressors. Unmanaged health risks can strain individuals, the healthcare system and ultimately employers through increased premium, claims and productivity costs. Employers can help employees avoid sinking deeper into health debt and save money in the long run by rewarding preventive care, behavior change and improved health.

4. A corporate wellness program can help employees reduce stress and increase resiliency.

Jam-packed days, looming deadlines, a growing inbox and unrealistic workloads—plenty of employees around the country (and at your company) experience work-related stress. While some may love the hustle, others love what they do. Regardless of their feelings toward their job, unmanaged and prolonged periods of stress can lead to burnout, negativity and unproductive employees.

Wellness programs emphasizing emotional well-being and physical health help employees manage stress, increase resiliency to handle their job’s demands, and create a healthy work-life balance.

5. A corporate wellness program is strongly linked to greater employee loyalty.

A 2019 Optum survey reported that employees who have access to a comprehensive wellness program (defined below), compared to employees with no access to such programs, are:

  • 2.9 times more likely to recommend their employer as a place to work
  • 1.5 times more likely to continue working for their employer
  • 3.3 times more likely to be proud to work for their employer

What constitutes a comprehensive wellness program?

In the survey, employees were asked about their access to and participation in several categories. The results above were for employees who had access to 7-8 of them:

  • Assessing their health (biometric screenings, health assessments)
  • Getting healthy (wellness coaching, on-site medical clinics)
  • Getting the most value from their prescription drug plan (discounted prescription prices, etc.)
  • Having a physical work environment that supports healthy decisions (sit/stand desks, healthy food, on-site fitness centers)
  • Managing a chronic condition (disease and case management)
  • Navigating the healthcare system (health advocacy, telemedicine, healthcare cost tools, health accounts/financial health)
  • Optimizing their mental health (Employee Assistance Program (EAP), stress or sleep programs)
  • Staying healthy and preventing illness (flu shots, gym discounts, fitness challenges)

Ready to get started building a better wellness plan?

We make that part easy. By ramping up your wellness plan with Bravo, you’ll be well on your way to attracting talent and retaining employees for the long term. Did we mention it saves you money in the long run?

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