Wellness Programs for Banks and Credit Unions

Often times when you hear about wellness programs for banks and credit unions, they are focused on financial wellness. As these institutions are in the business of money so that immediate assumption is perfectly justified. And while financial wellness is important, what about the health and wellness of those working in those financial institutions?

Banks and credit unions are experiencing many of the same challenges that large corporations face:

  • How can we reduce employee healthcare costs?
  • How can we improve employee productivity?
  • How can we better support the physical and mental state of our employees?
  • How can we foster a work environment that employees love and customer talk about?
  • How can we lower the costs associated with employee turnover?

Surprisingly, the thing that can help with all of those challenges is an employee health wellness program.

Why Wellness Programs are Needed

Employees in banks and credit unions face a unique challenge. Not only do they encounter many of the same issues as those faced by traditional corporate employees, but they also have the added challenges that come with dealing directly with customers.

Long periods of sitting at a desk or staring at a computer can take a toll on an employee’s physical health. The sedentary activity, poor posture, and continued tilting of the head to stare at a computer screen for hours and hours can put stress on the shoulders, causing headaches, back pain, and fatigue. When experienced on a daily basis, this can lead to long-term mental and physical health conditions.

wellness programs for banks and credit unions

A 2017 study conducted by Frontiers Psychology identified that fatigue, body stress, and continued interruptions from customers are the major reasons for stress in bank employees. Add to those issues fellow employees that come into work when they are sick, stressful deadlines, and the pressure that naturally comes from working in a financial environment, and it’s no wonder that bank and credit union employees are reporting high levels of exhaustion, mental fatigue, high blood pressure, back pain, and other health issues.

If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream.

This type of environment can lead to poor morale, low productivity, and unhappy employees. It can fester and build and cause negativity that can be felt by all employees. It can also be felt by the customers coming and going throughout the day who are engaging with these employees.

But just as the negative side-effects can be spread and felt, the transverse can be seen in financial institutions that make a point to focus on employee health and wellness. Banks and credit unions that implement health wellness programs will often see a positive snowball effect and reap a multitude of rewards, both on employee physical and mental health, as well as the productivity, performance, and reputation of the financial institution itself.

A recent report by Gallup states that employees who feel their employers care for their well-being are 4-times more likely to be more engaged at work and positive about their employer. This can create a snowball effect that leads to better connections between employees, increases in productivity, happier and more satisfied customers, and better overall health for employees.

Now that you understand the benefits of wellness programs for banks and credit unions from a high level, let’s dig in and take a look at the long-term benefits that can also be experienced.

5 Benefits of Wellness Programs for Banks and Credit Unions

  1. Reduce Employee Healthcare Costs

When employees are going through their day focused on tasks and deadlines and not on their own wellbeing, it can impact in their health in a variety of ways. Hunching over a desk or laptop, staring at a computer screen, and sitting for hours on end can cause physical pain and lead to feelings of fatigue. Constant interruptions by customers or fellow employees and unrealistic deadlines can cause stress.

The natural sedentary state and continual stress that comes from working in an office or bank can lead to health issues such as obesity, high-blood pressure, and diabetes. Additionally, a work environment that doesn’t value employee health can cause sick employees to feel the need to come to work in order to protect their job. This can lead to the spread of illness to other employees and customers.

When faced with these issues, employees will find themselves spending more time at the doctor’s office and less time at work. Wellness programs can provide employees with ways to deal with stress in healthy ways and provide avenues via which employees can stay physically active throughout the day. This keeps employee energy up and fatigue down.

And when employees see that their employer cares about their health and wellbeing, they will be more likely to feel comfortable staying home when they are sick, preventing the spread of colds and other illness throughout the workplace.

Wellness Programs for Banks and Credit UnionsAccording to a report by the CDC, in a systematic review of 56 published studies of worksite health programs showed that well-implemented workplace health programs can lead to 25% savings each on absenteeism, health care costs, and workers’ compensation and disability management claims costs.

The implementation of a wellness program at a bank or credit union can help employees move from sick days to wellness days instead. When employees are healthy, they spend less on healthcare. This can often be seen by the employer as well as it can have a positive impact on employer healthcare costs.

  1. Increase Employee Productivity

Another benefit that often comes with the implementation of employee wellness programs is an increase in employee productivity. Wellness programs arm employees with the tools they need to deal with stress and provide them informational tips on eating better and staying physically fit.

Employees that exercise regularly, eat well, and are able to manage stress feel better both physically and mentally. And, when an employee feels better mentally and physically it shows in their overall performance. They will experience an increase in stamina, be more focused, and have a better overall outlook on their work environment. 

  1. Improve Employee Mental Health

When employees aren’t happy, it can be seen in the way they approach their jobs and engage with other employees or customers. An unhappy mental state can cause fatigue, mental fog, and a loss in productivity. I can also lead to mistake, which can be detrimental in a financial environment.

An employee’s mental health can play a huge role in their general well-being. Being in a good mental state can keep an employee healthy and help prevent serious health conditions. Depression has been linked to many chronic illnesses including diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. 

The implementation of a wellness program in banks and credit unions can have a huge impact on an employee’s mental state. The tools and services provided in a comprehensive wellness program, like the wellness programs offered by Wellsteps, could have a huge impact on an employee’s mental health. A positive mental outlook could not only improve an employee’s overall physical health, but it could also improve their overall performance and productivity at work.

employee wellness with bank employees
  1. Foster a Sense of Community

An employee that is in poor health or that is experiencing a low mental state will often be more withdrawn or project a more negative outlook, which can often cause other employees to shy away. This action can cause the employee to feel isolate and in turn, further impact their mental state and long-term health.

Wellness programs for banks and credit unions offer several benefits towards fostering a sense of community within the workplace. First, it will display a sense of caring by the employer. This can make employees feel more valued. An employee that feels valued is more loyal and will often perform at a higher productivity rate.

Secondly, it can create a sense of cohesiveness and support with employees. When employees participate in fitness activities and wellness sessions together, they will naturally form bonds of support and comradery. The bonds will foster community and can often lead to better teamwork within the work environment and an overall more positive work culture.

Finally, it can improve the way employees engage with customers. When employees feel like they are truly part of a community, they feel empowered to do what they can to support the community. Customer support and engagement becomes a higher priority as keeping customers happy is a way for them to support and give back to the work community.

  1. Yield a Return on Investment

One of the biggest objections we hear from companies seeking to implement a wellness program is around the cost. While there can be a larger cost on the front end, the long-term gains on a company’s bottom-line and collective employee health are well worth the effort.

In fact, a 2014 Harvard study concluded that wellness programs save employers an average of $3 per employee on healthcare costs and an additional $3 per employee on absenteeism.

A well implemented wellness program can also have an impact on human resource costs. When employees are happy and feel valued, as many involved in a company wellness program often do, they become more loyal, satisfied in their job, and are less likely to leave. Thus, the company experiences a lower turn-over rate and lower higher costs.

Wellness Programs Provide Big Rewards

It is clear that there are countless benefits for banks and credit unions that implement an effective wellness program. These benefits can be seen by employers, employees, and even customers:

  • Increased productivity and employee engagement
  • Decreased absenteeism and increase in morale
  • Reduced healthcare costs
  • Less work-related stress, mental fatigue, and exhaustion
  • Creates an employee benefit that sets a company apart from the competition
  • Renewed sense of team camaraderie and community
  • Lower human resources costs and man-hour expenditures

WellStep wellness programs are curated and designed to give employees relief from the physical and mental issues caused by sedentary jobs. Taking the steps to implement the right wellness program is a great way to protect your most valuable asset…your employees.

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About The Author

Dr. Steve Aldana

Dr. Aldana is the CEO of Wellsteps, a worksite wellness solution that leads the nation in wellness program deployment and engagement. Dr. Aldana authored over 75 scientific papers and 7 books on health risk management, healthy living, and health promotion programs. He has given over 350 keynote speeches across the U.S. on the ability of good nutrition and regular exercise to prevent, arrest, and reverse many chronic diseases.