Health and wellness have a significant impact on employee retention in the workplace. Wellness programs increase employee retention by targeting their physical, emotional, mental, financial, and social wellbeing.  

How Wellness Programs Increase Employee Retention in the Workplace

A 2018 Forbes article posted statistics from various sources regarding the connection between wellness programs and employee retention. Here is what they discovered:

  • 87% of employees choose employers based on the health and wellness programs available in the organization.
  • 67% of employees like their jobs when working for companies offering wellness programs.
  • 58% of millennials think company wellness programs are an essential consideration when looking for a job. In addition, 54% of Generation Z say the same thing.
  • 45% of employees in small businesses and medium-sized businesses claim that wellness programs would make them stay with their employers a lot longer.

Alex Gourlay, the former co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., once said it very well: “We are embedding health and wellbeing at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, and we recognize that a healthy, happy, and committed workforce is vital to our business success.”

“We are embedding health and wellbeing at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, and we recognize that a healthy, happy, and committed workforce is vital to our business success.” - Alex Gourlay

How to Create Wellness Programs to Increase Employee Retention

What are the best wellness programs to increase employee retention in your organization? Some companies develop internal wellness programs, while others partner with third-party vendors for assistance. Both can be successful if you take the proper steps to establish them.

You can design a successful wellness program in the following ways:

  • Collaborate with management and gain their support
  • Assemble a wellness committee
  • Choose a designated wellness coordinator
  • Hold wellness committee meetings
  • Create wellness teams and appointment team leaders
  • Evaluate the health and wellness of your organization
  • Assess employee behaviors
  • Request anonymous feedback and suggestions from employees

These strategies will help you design wellness programs that target the most critical wellness issues facing the employees in your organization.

RELATED: How to Design Wellness Programs That Are Successful in 2023

The Most Effective Wellness Programs for Increasing Employee Retention

Many different wellness programs can effectively increase employee retention in the workplace. Some good examples include:

  • Stress Management
  • Time Management
  • Access to Mental Health Therapy
  • Healthy Food Access / Nutritious Cafeteria Food
  • Group Fitness / Gym Memberships
  • Clean Workplace
  • Safety Signs and Mechanisms Installed
  • Rewards and Incentives for High Productivity
  • Workplace Flexibility / Remote Work Options
  • Educational Courses / Learning Activities / Job Training
  • Team Building and Collaboration
  • Clubs / Social Activities
  • Mandatory Breaktimes / Exercise / Coffee Breaks / Lunch Breaks
How to Create a Wellness Program to Increase Employee Retention

You may find some or all of these examples suitable for the employees of your particular company. Just thoroughly evaluate their wants, needs, and challenges, and you will know which programs will work best for your employees.

RELATED: Employee Health Programs Worth Investing In

The Best Ways Wellness Programs Increase Employee Retention

Here are the different ways wellness programs increase employee retention.

1) Employees Develop Job Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction leads to employee retention. If you create wellness programs that address the holistic challenges of your workforce, then your employees will want to stay at their jobs in the company for a long time.

Here are signs that your employees may not have job satisfaction:

  • Too many mistakes get made
  • Low productivity levels
  • Frequent procrastination on vital tasks
  • Coming in late to work regularly
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Rude or obnoxious behavior
  • Too many customer complaints about the employees

Wellness programs have the potential to reverse all of these employee-based problems in your organization. If your employees can feel satisfied at their jobs, they’ll be eager to show up on time, work hard, and maintain a positive attitude each day.

RELATED: How Wellness Programs Help Improve Employee Morale

2) Employees Become More Engaged

According to a report from the Engagement Institute, American companies lose about $550 billion per year because of their disengaged employees.

customer testimonial

What makes employees become disengaged in the first place? Common reasons include:

  • Repetitive daily work and tasks
  • No real sense of purpose in the organization
  • Poor relationship between employees and their superiors
  • Bad managerial practices
  • Very little communication and feedback from employers
  • No rewards or recognition for accomplished tasks and goals
  • Terrible wages or salaries
  • Heavy workloads / Becoming burnt out on the job
  • No support from a team
  • Lack of training or equipment
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Limited growth potential in the company

Wellness program strategies should give employees a reason to become more engaged in the workplace. Some ways to offset these problems include:

  • Better managerial training
  • Provide immediate feedback and guidance to employees
  • Hire better-qualified managers and supervisors with good personalities
  • Assign teams to reduce the workloads for individual employees
  • Reward employees who accomplish short-term and long-term goals
  • Better pay
  • Offer employees more growth potential in the company

You can see how employees may become more engaged if you offer these benefits to them.

RELATED: 17 Employee Wellness Program Ideas to Increase Engagement in 2023

3) Employees Form a Stronger Bond with Their Employers

How many employees like their employers? Unfortunately, most people always have something negative to say about their bosses and work environment overall.

Employees who don’t like their bosses won’t have the motivation to work hard and succeed at their jobs. So it is no wonder why employee turnover exceeds employee retention in American companies.

Are you looking for an effective way to build a closer relationship with your employees? Try out these tips as part of a more extensive wellness program:

  • Show appreciation to your employees for their hard work
  • Offer assistance and guidance to employees, especially if they’re struggling
  • Schedule one-on-one meetings with your employees to talk on a personal level
  • Ask questions and request feedback regarding employee work conditions
  • Identify each employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, provide employees with opportunities to use their strengths on the job and improve their shortcomings via training.

Your employees will build a better relationship with you based on trust because they’ll know you have their best interests at heart. So why would they want to give that up for another employer who doesn’t care about them as you do?  

4) Employees Have Better Healthcare Benefits

Healthcare programs and health insurance benefits are very attractive to employees. Since many companies have eliminated most of their healthcare benefit programs, offering health benefits to your employees is an excellent way to retain their loyalty to your company.

Employees Have Better Healthcare Benefits via Wellness Programs Increase Employee Retention

Offer personalized and desirable health benefits like:

  • Healthy Lifestyle Coaching
  • Health Savings Accounts
  • Health Reimbursement Arrangements
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Health Stipends
  • Health Insurance
  • Physical Fitness Activities
  • Paid Sick Days
  • Weight Management Programs
  • Smoking Cessation Programs

The goal is to have happy, healthy, focused, and fully functional employees. If you provide them with the necessary resources to care for their depression, illnesses, or any other physical or mental health issues, they will work harder and better for you.

5) Employees Experience Less Stress and Anxiety

A Careerbuilder survey revealed that 31% of workers claim to feel extreme amounts of stress at their jobs, while another 61% claimed to feel burned out at their present job. What’s worse is that nearly one-third of the respondents said they were not planning to take a vacation within the following year.

Employee stress and anxiety can develop for several reasons:

  • Poor leadership from one or more levels of management
  • No company vision or job value
  • Terrible pay and lack of appreciation from leadership
  • No feedback or guidance on job performance
  • No understanding of job responsibilities
  • Dangerous or unpleasant work environment or conditions
  • Unhealthy workloads / Overworked

It is not healthy to have stressed-out employees because their work productivity will slowly diminish until they eventually quit. But if you establish wellness programs that address the things making them feel stressed, you can lower their stress levels and prevent employee turnover.  

RELATED: 24 Ways Employers Can Manage Stress at Work (Use Them Today) in 2023

6) Creates a More Attractive Work Environment for Employees

Workplace aesthetics play a significant role in increasing employee retention. Employees feel calmer and more enthusiastic at work if surrounded by attractive and stunning décor.

Creates a More Attractive Work Environment for Employees,Wellness Programs Increase Employee Retention

Here are some tips on how you can improve the décor of your workplace:

  • Add original and stylish furniture
  • Create more window space and allow more natural light to shine indoors
  • Hang paintings and creative artwork on the walls
  • Place more potted plants and hanging plants around the workplace
  • Paint the walls in different colors
  • Create workspaces near windows that offer views of the outdoors
  • Install decorative trash cans
  • Add creative graphics and signage on the floors

Employees will love coming to work each day if their workplace doesn’t look like a typical work environment with dull colors and no beauty. An environmental wellness program is a small investment to enhance the beauty and décor of your workplace.

RELATED: 7 Reasons Every Worksite Should Offer An Environmental Wellness Program

7) Enjoyable Workplace Wellbeing Activities for Employees

Workplace wellbeing focuses on the safety, quality, engagement, and satisfaction of employees. The International Labor Organization describes workplace wellbeing as:

  • All aspects of employee work-life
  • Quality of the physical work environment
  • Safety of the physical work environment
  • How employees feel about their jobs
  • How employees feel about their work environment
  • How employees feel about the company culture
  • The management and hierarchy of the organization

Wellness activities create better work relationships between employees and employers. They give them a chance to spend more time together and show support for one another’s health and wellness.

7) Enjoyable Workplace Wellbeing Activities for Employees

Here are some excellent workplace wellbeing activities to consider for your company:

  • Employee biometric screenings
  • Fitness sessions
  • Free chair massages
  • Acts of kindness (e.g., free lunch, free coffee, flowers, etc.)
  • Outdoor meetings
  • Arts and crafts stations
  • Meditation sessions

RELATED: 9 Workplace Well-Being Activities to Skyrocket Employee Productivity

8) Employees Can Improve Their Social Lives

Workplaces don’t have to restrain employees from having social lives if you create more group wellness activities in your organization. These activities involve multiple people working together to accomplish tasks that benefit themselves and the workplace.

Here are some ways to improve the social lives of your employees:

  • Build teams and assign projects and tasks to them
  • Encourage employee communication in person or via video conferencing
  • Host group exercise activities (e.g., walking, stretching)
  • Create social media webpages and channels for online communication
  • Connect different departments in a holistic organizational structure
  • Set wellness challenges for employees
  • Schedule the same break times for everyone and encourage communication during lunch breaks, dinner breaks, etc.

Employees love group-based activities because they are more fun and engaging on a physical, emotional, and intellectual level. They allow employees to learn more and gain a newfound respect and admiration for one another. As a result, the employees will work well together.

9) Employees Enjoy Financial Incentives and Benefits

Financial incentives can motivate employees to work harder, stay happier, and remain with the company. They’ll never need to look for another job if you take care of all their financial needs and eliminate their financial burdens.

Some popular financial incentives for employees include:

  • Health insurance benefits
  • 401(k) retirement plan
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Employee stock options
  • Employee financial assistance programs
  • Bonuses
  • Referral programs
  • Wage or salary raises
  • Profit-sharing programs
  • Retirement benefits

Imagine how happy your employees would be if you offered even half of these financial incentives. You would never see any employee turnover ever again.

Employees Enjoy Financial Incentives and Benefits, Wellness Programs Increase Employee Retention

10) Career Advancement Opportunities for Productive Employees

Wellness programs increase employee retention if they offer career advancement opportunities for employees. You can incentivize your workers to stay with your company and increase productivity if you create the possibility of advancement within your company.  

Employers can help employees advance their careers in the following ways:

  • Learn more about the aspirations and career goals of your employees
  • Provide training and educational courses to your employees and teach them new skills
  • Allocate time for employees to work on developmental activities each day
  • Create and share a plan on how each employee can accomplish their career goals
  • Offer a mentoring or consulting program to employees
  • Provide free online career advancement courses

The idea is to create every opportunity necessary for your employees to find a bright future in your company. If you provide the resources needed to help them in this effort, they won’t quit anytime soon.

Last Bit on How Wellness Programs Increase Employee Retention

Employee retention comes from job satisfaction and a trusting relationship between employees and their employer.

If your employees can see that you care about their health and wellness needs at a holistic level, they will develop loyalty, trust, and devotion to your company. Not only does this help them achieve their goals, but it also helps your company achieve its productivity goals as well.

Would you like extra guidance on developing the right wellness programs to increase employee retention in your workplace? If so, request a free demo with our Wellsteps team for assistance.

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.