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The Future of Corporate Wellness Programs

Posted, by Deborah Merkin
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Corporate wellness programs have been around for a while, in fact, approximately 76% of companies have implemented a corporate wellness program or resource. But like most new ideas, there comes a point where things evolve, and that time for corporate wellness programs is now. Take a look at how corporate wellness has already changed what the future holds for wellness and how it could effect to your program.

The Past

The corporate wellness model of the past was a standard program for all employees that included fitness, education, and nutrition. It also often included an incentive or reward if you hit your goals for the program.

The Future of Corporate Wellness

For companies, it is important to keep healthcare costs low. Implementing an effective wellness program helps offset these costs significantly. Keeping those costs low, however, is quickly becoming more of a challenge. “By 2020, the number of Americans in the 55 to 64 age group will have grown by 73 percent since 2000.” On the surface, this considerable growth may not seem like a problem for company wellness costs, but older workers are more likely to miss work for wellness-related issues and are diagnosed at a higher rate for chronic diseases. In fact, “by 2030, 40.5 percent of the U.S. population is expected to have some form of cardiovascular disease.” These issues make engagement in wellness programs even more important for corporations than it used to be.

The Solution

There are two primary solutions that both lead to one common denominator for increased engagement in the future of wellness programs: personalization.

Solution #1: health exchanges. Health exchanges enable employees to pick from a “shopping mall” of health insurance options rather than being given one corporate choice. Health exchanges allow personalization and customization on the insurance end of corporate wellness. People are moving toward lower coverage, cheaper insurance plans with the idea of focusing more on disease prevention. The exchanges can offer this group a variety of proactive health program choices. Wellness programs played a big part in that decision:

“an overwhelming majority (72 percent) think their wellness initiatives are very or somewhat effective in reducing health care costs and 78 percent thought they improved the overall physical health of their employees.”

Solution #2: customized rewards. The other solution works in conjunction with an employees’ ability to customize their wellness programs and insurance plans. It is the capacity to tailor their rewards and incentives. An excellent way to do this is through gift cards. They can be personalized and hold more trophy value than cash alone; recipients will remember why they earned it and in-turn the reward ends up being more valuable. Customizing employee recognition in wellness programs is a great way to keep people engaged, they can earn the rewards they want while their employer keeps their costs low.

In short, the world is an ever-changing place, and corporate wellness is no exception to that. The successful future of a corporate wellness program lies in addressing the needs of wellness program participants, your employees.

Safety and wellness go hand in hand. Workplace safety programs can reduce the costs of occupational illness and injury by as much as 40%.  Learn more about using rewards as a tool to increase engagement in safety programs: Download our free white paper Creating a Successful Safety Incentive Program.

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Topics: Workplace Health & Wellness

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