Wellness--a fading trend, or here to stay?

Author:Gray, Melody

Attracting and retaining skilled employees is a challenge most Alaskan companies are facing in today's job market. Record unemployment has made businesses need to get creative with their retention strategies. What if there was a way to increase employee engagement, raise morale and attract talent all at the same time? The answer is easy: institute a wellness initiative.

You're probably asking yourself, Does it work?" "How can it benefit my business?" Over the past several years, the wellness industry has grown twice as fast as global economic growth, and has produced proven results of increasing employee engagement and retention, while reducing healthcare costs. It might seem unlikely that something as simple as a wellness program could have such substantial results, but the statistics show that an effective wellness program can have a drastic impact on your workplace culture and, of course, the bottom line.

Designing an effective program

When considering a company wellness program, there are factors that will determine which programs thrive and which will fail. The industry has expanded past the usual health assessment, although that is still a fundamental tool for creating a baseline to work from. Now the standard available options include medical, fitness, mental health, financial health, and almost anything in between. The programs are so highly customizable that nearly every situation can have a tailored plan. If it is a concern for employees, there is most likely a program for it.

The idea is that, by taking a holistic approach to the health of your employees, you will reap the benefits of a happy workforce, increased and better quality production, long term retention, and decreased healthcare utilization. Further, most of the major healthcare insurance insurance carriers will subsidize the cost of a...

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