Companies used to stay perk-competitive by simply offering some level of health insurance and a handful of sick days each year. But that just doesn’t cut it in today’s health-conscious workforce, so creating a more deep and diverse wellness culture can make your company an industry standout.

This pays off handsomely in less turnover, better talent recruiting, and increased productivity.

Dive into this article to get the details along with insights into what some leading companies are doing.

Retaining top talent has always been vital for an organization’s success, and COVID has created multiple changes and complications for businesses.

According to Brian Kropp, Head of HR Research at Gartner, the shut-down of entire industries, forced closures, and separation of teams make employee retention the next big test for businesses. Part of the reason for this is the changing nature of today’s employee expectations.

Post-Pandemic Employee Expectations

In response to the pandemic, high-performing staff increasingly demand better working conditions, improved employee benefits, and flexible working hours. Being in-office no longer involves sitting at a desk or being on-premises for a meeting.

The work-from-home revolution also resulted in many workers being reluctant to go back to the one-size-fits-all approach that was so common before.

Many employees want a better work-life balance, more fulfilling activities, and the chance to do something meaningful.

Kropp believes high performers may be looking for new horizons if advancement opportunities appear fewer and cutbacks take place. He says top employees are often expected to take on more work and responsibilities during difficult times, usually without a corresponding increase in compensation.

So how can you get ahead of your competitors and retain your key employees? Implementing a wellness-centric culture in your company could be the solution.

The Shift to Wellness

Not too long ago, employee wellness was just a buzzword among HR managers. Biggest-Loser-type competitions, step challenges, and subsidized gym memberships were all on-trend, trying to get employees moving, motivated, and maybe healthier.

Since the pandemic, however, demand has started to focus on overall wellbeing, which encompasses improving physical health and taking into account workers’ emotional, mental, social, and financial health.

The shift comes from realizing that stress, burnout, and financial concerns can be just as dangerous to our health as carrying surplus pounds. It’s a change from viewing overall health very narrowly to taking a holistic, all-encompassing standpoint.

What Is a Wellness-Centric Culture?

Adopting a wellness-centric culture and policies in your company means fostering a workplace that encourages and promotes healthy habits among employees that carry over into their personal lives. It includes measures such as:

  • Encouraging workers to move around more by holding walking meetings or choosing standing desks,
  • Offering healthy food and drink choices, or at least ensuring workers can purchase nutritious items conveniently,
  • Providing incentives for developing healthy habits, like gym discounts and sport subsidies,
  • Creating opportunities for engagement, such as company outings and social events,
  • Presenting training resources on issues such as financial wellness, stress management, and mental health education,
  • Allowing flexible working hours and the chance to work from home if preferred,
  • Promoting camaraderie through team building activities, and
  • Reducing stress by identifying and eliminating everyday workplace stressors.

Creating a wellness-centric culture could be just the ticket to achieving a happy, productive workforce because it comes with a whole slew of benefits for all involved.

Benefits to Employers and Employees

A well-planned and executed employee wellness program can reduce employee absenteeism, lower health care costs, and increase productivity and performance. This gives companies an edge and helps them to attract the best workers in a competitive marketplace.

[quotes]Companies with a robust wellness culture increase employee retention by fostering greater morale and organizational commitment.[/quotes] When workers at the company identify with the corporate culture, it makes the work environment more pleasant and positively impacts behavior. Happy and productive employees are often more innovative, contribute more to the company’s growth and profitability, and are more motivated to succeed. Employees experiencing job satisfaction are more likely to deliver their best work.

Administrative staff who value their positions are more likely to watch costs and avoid waste, and management will enjoy less resistance to directives and more positivity among their subordinates. Building a platform like health and wellness promotes collaboration on all levels, which has the potential to reduce conflict and generate goodwill towards management.

Last but not least, companies that integrate prevention into their wellness programs often see a reduction in healthcare expenses.

Whether your company contributes to employee health insurance coverage or you’re only responsible for sourcing replacements for staff who are out sick, the overall costs are likely to come down.

Companies Leading the Way in Wellness

Most companies that are making news for their wellness programs are multinational corporations, but that doesn’t mean their examples are any less relevant. Whether you have ten employees or 10,000, applying the principles will get you the same advantages. Here are some of the top wellness employers to emulate:

  • Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has embraced flexible working post-pandemic. The company allows staff to work from home and take unlimited leave as needed to find a balance between their work and private lives.
  • General Electric developed the HealthAhead program that empowers employees to get active, eat healthily, stop smoking, find balance, work flexibly, and spend quality time with their families.
  • Intel has adopted Mindfulness on a global scale, offering a nine-week voluntary program aimed at helping employees develop skills such as quietening the mind, developing emotional intelligence, and active listening.
  • Southwest Airlines offers a three-step wellbeing program for workers, which helps them stop smoking and participate in other optional wellness programs. The company also provides notable employee health benefits, including disability plans and life insurance coverage.

Companies like Tradeshift and Asana offer catered healthy daily meals for workers, along with on-site yoga, boot camps, and gym memberships. Zappos and Google offer perks like generous parental and adoption leave policies, retirement savings plans, and even death benefits for their staff.

There’s no question that if you want to get ahead of the competition for top talent, implementing a wellness-centric culture will benefit your company.

Take a transparent approach to ethics, commit to your employees’ wellbeing and growth, and you’ll see the results in happier staff, motivated managers, and improved profits.