Though the unemployment rate has dipped below 5%, wage growth remains below the target for economic recovery.1 This slow progress is leading employers to leverage their employee benefit programs during the recruiting phase of hiring.
But in-house recruiters are also touting their employer’s health & wellness programs as a way to differentiate them from other companies. There is evidence that this strategy works. Employees see health & wellness programs as one way their employers are looking out for them; one survey found that 87% look for corporate wellness strategies when considering a new employer.2 The business case for incorporating health & wellness programs into a benefits package is strong. There is a link between the health of a company and the health of its employees, which is most evident when examining insurance claims.
Heath & wellness programs are more important than ever. Americans are working more because they often take their jobs home and check email on their smartphones after hours, on weekends and on vacations. The workweek is lengthening to an average of 47 hours, and nearly 40% of people report that they work at least 50 hours each week.3 Couple a longer workweek with sedentary behaviors, too little exercise and unhealthy eating habits, and the health outlook for employees begins to look a bit grim.4
Still, there is an emerging awareness of healthy living that has led employees and employers to sharpen their focus on wellness both at work and at home. Of course, saving money is also a key driver for employer participation. However, this is more likely over the long-term than the short-term.
In addition to making employees feel better and live healthier lives, health & wellness programs that encourage biometric assessments and preventive care visits can also save employees money on premiums and uncover hidden health issues earlier. This is important especially because our healthcare system continues moving toward consumerism. It’s also important that individuals take responsibility for their health. Using incentives that employers provide make that much more likely to happen.
In-house recruiters tout their employer’s health & wellness program as an industry differentiator.
Beyond cost savings and taking care of the workforce, wellness is something that both current and prospective employees are coming to expect; 38% of companies use their health & wellness program to boost recruiting, and that number will continue to climb.5
When an employer puts wellness front and center during the recruiting process, it gives prospective employees a better sense of the company culture and a commitment to a healthy workforce and individual worker growth. Launching an annual step competition between worksite locations or giving employees the opportunity to practice yoga or meditation in groups says a lot about corporate culture.
Health & wellness programs can also help boost employee referrals. If current employees feel like their employer cares about them, they’re more likely to recruit a strong candidate for an open position. And scouting candidates who have been referred always helps in the interviewing and hiring process.
Employers should make a strong effort to include details about their health & wellness programs in external employee communications to show prospective employees the types of programs they’re running. Obviously, it’s important to include information about the health & wellness program in offer letters and on the careers page of the corporate website.
Wellness program details can also be showcased on social media. Platforms like Instagram can be used to build community internally while giving prospective employees a behind-the scenes look at the workplace. Posting pictures from a healthy potluck or of the group who ran a 5K together presents a clear idea of culture. LinkedIn is another platform that job seekers visit when they’re vetting a company. Including health benefits and wellness program details in LinkedIn job postings is a good way to recruit health-minded employees.
The competition for “A List” employees will only increase if the economy continues its current momentum. Building out a comprehensive health & wellness program can prove valuable to save cost, build culture and improve recruitment and retention.
1 Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “Databases, Tables & Calculators by Subject
2 Forbes, “Linking Employee Wellness, Morale and the Bottom Line”
3 Gallup, “The ‘40-Hour’ Workweek Is Actually Longer — by Seven Hours”
4 Annals of Internal Medicine, “Sedentary Time and Its Association with Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults”
5 SHRM, “SHRM Survey Findings: 2015 Strategic Benefits—Leveraging Benefits to Recruit Employees”
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©2016 Corporate Synergies Group, LLC. No part of this material may be republished or distributed without prior written consent.