How organizational wellness improves retention and recruiting

Group of women talking

When I speak with leaders about issues that keep them up at night, talent is at the top of their lists.

Executives are thinking about how they can retain the top talent they already have, as well as attract high performers. Employee wellness should be incorporated as part of this thinking. A strong wellness program benefits the health and productivity of current employees, and can help your company stand out among the many employers vying for top talent.

Humana's 2015 Wellness Trends Report shows that creating a wellness program requires an understanding of your workplace policies, metrics (e.g., health claims data), and senior management commitment. Devoting resources to its planning, implementation and promotion are also worth the investment.

Consider that wellness isn’t just about individuals; organizational wellness matters too. Increasingly, companies are expanding their definitions of “wellness”, and they’re looking to build their corporate cultures in ways that truly engage employees, on all levels.

Making your wellness programs part of your public image both promotes a company culture and adds to your company’s appeal to job seekers. So how can you get the word out about wellness, both inside and outside your company’s four walls?

Lead by example

Senior management must buy into the company's wellness programs, and help promote them.

Fliers in the hallways, posters in the break room and email reminders help generate awareness and encourage participation, but when a company's top leaders visibly participate in a wellness program, and speak publicly to their employees about their own personal journey, others are apt to do the same.

Work on wellness and well-being

Establish policies that are aligned with your wellness goals, and make it easy for employees to cope with stress, be more active, and take breaks when they need them. Equally important is ensuring employees are committed to your organization's goals and values, and at the same time are able to enhance their own sense of well-being.

Initiatives supporting work-life balance can reduce stress while improving productivity and loyalty. These can include flexible schedules, telecommuting opportunities as well as digital detox policies that encourage employees to limit after-hours work communications.

Beyond helping workers balance their personal and professional lives, Humana, for example, provides its associates with paid time away from work to volunteer for activities that make a positive difference in the community—creating a win for the employee as well as the community.

Promote your healthy culture

Taking wellness seriously as a recruiting tool requires dedicating some resources to promotion— such as a team to create online content talking about your company's wellness culture.

Company websites can highlight your benefits and programs, as well as its health-inspired cafeteria menu and sports leagues. Social media channels are prime ways to promote sales’ softball victory over accounting, and sharing this information shows employees they matter while reinforcing the company’s support of health-minded, social activities. Social media is also a way to engage your entire organization, so they can be stakeholders sharing in the benefits and helping to get the word out.

Wellness programs can lower healthcare costs and improve worker productivity—both of which are good for any company's bottom line. But they can also boost morale overall and have a positive influence on workplace culture. To attract and retain the best, organizations must show they're not only healthy when it comes to their profits, but also when it comes to their culture.

Follow me on Twitter: @bethbierbower

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