What is 'Wellness Program '

An employer approach to improving employee health, wellness programs include activities such as company-sponsored exercise, weight-loss competitions, educational seminars, tobacco-cessation programs and health screenings that are designed to help employees eat better, lose weight and improve their overall physical health. Wellness programs often involve financial incentives for employees, such as lower health-insurance premiums or gift cards.

BREAKING DOWN 'Wellness Program '

Besides improving employee productivity and decreasing sick days and leaves of absence, all of which reduce operating costs, wellness programs may be able to lower an organization's health insurance expenses. Employees can also benefit from wellness programs through lower health insurance premiums, decreased out-of-pocket medical expenditures and an increased sense of well-being.

Corporate wellness programs offer a variety of scheduled programs, such as stress management seminars that address everything from sleep to work-life balance to financial health; cooking classes; healthy recipe exchanges and fitness challenges. Other components of an effective corporate wellness program might include healthy vending machines and cafeteria offerings. Healthy and appealing food might also be served at meetings and included in company-provided overtime meals.

It's also important for corporate wellness programs to promote mindfulness of workplace noise and regular and appropriate breaks. Many companies also offer in-house workout spaces or marked walking paths on the corporate campus to encourage physical activity. Others institute no-smoking policies or policies requiring seat belt use in company vehicles.

In addition, organizations might create wellness-related linkages between their wellness program and other company benefits like employee assistance programs (EAPs), which help employees get support when they are in a difficult emotional or physical situation that affects both their health and their work. EAPs connect employees to counselors who can advise them confidentially on issues from emotional distress to a difficult medical diagnosis to personal or work relationship issues to life events like marriage or parenting.

Health screenings are a controversial component of many company wellness programs. Some people contend that tracking cholesterol, body mass index and other figures leads to de facto discrimination and heavier financial burdens placed on workers with below average health.

Example of a Corporate Wellness Program

One corporate wellness program created by Indiana company Draper, Inc. – a manufacturer of gym equipment, window shades, and projection screens – instituted a 10-week weight loss challenge called “Dump Your Plump.” It consisted of 12 teams of six employees, each competing to win weekly grocery gift cards and a cash grand prize for the overall winner.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Benefit Allowance

    In place of group health insurance, employers might offer a benefit ...
  2. Program Trading

    Program trading uses a computer algorithms to buy and/or sell ...
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human ...

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is a government ...
  4. Health Insurance Marketplace

    Organizations that facilitate structured and competitive markets ...
  5. Revenue Per Employee

    An important ratio that looks at a company's sales in relation ...
  6. Exempt Employee

    The term “Exempt Employee” refers to a category of employees ...
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    Defined Contribution Health Plans: A Primer

    A look at defined contribution health plans and how they work for both employees and employers.
  2. Trading

    The Power of Program Trades

    Learn how programs make up a significant portion of the volume traded each day.
  3. Personal Finance

    How You Can Save Money by Maximizing Work Benefits

    Understanding and maximizing company benefits can save you money.
  4. Personal Finance

    What's Your Employee Value?

    Have you ever wondered how much you're worth to your boss? Here's a method for calculating that value.
  5. Insurance

    Selecting The Right Mix Of Insurance Benefits

    Choosing employee benefits involves weighing the probability you will need them against taxes and cost.
  6. Managing Wealth

    5 Low-Cost Perks for Small Business Employees

    Money isn’t the only way to motivate employees. Here are some savvy strategies even the smallest business can use.
  7. Insurance

    Freebies From Your Health Insurance Company

    Whether your goal is to lose weight, quit smoking or just take overall better care of yourself you may have a surprising ally: your health insurance company.
  8. Managing Wealth

    Three Perks Business Should Give Their Employees

    Firms that treat their employees well have a competitive advantage over their rivals. Here are three important perks to give your employees.
  9. Personal Finance

    Financial Analyst Training & Designation Programs

    Time to upgrade your financial skills? These designations are flexible and adaptable to the changing marketplace.
  10. Managing Wealth

    Top Job Perks You May Not Have Heard Of

    Companies are becoming increasingly creative with their benefits packages, in order to attract younger employees.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do firms improve their employees' human capital?

    Learn what human capital is, how a firm can benefit from improving human capital and some ways a firm can improve its employees' ... Read Answer >>
  2. What does a merger or acquisition mean for the target company's employees?

    Learn about the likely impact of a merger-and-acquisition deal on the target company's employees, including their benefits ... Read Answer >>
  3. Can LLCs have employees?

    Discover how limited liability corporations (LLC) can have an unlimited number of employees and the legal steps required ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Internal Rate of Return - IRR

    Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is a metric used in capital budgeting to estimate the profitability of potential investments.
  2. Limit Order

    An order placed with a brokerage to buy or sell a set number of shares at a specified price or better.
  3. Current Ratio

    The current ratio is a liquidity ratio that measures a company's ability to pay short-term and long-term obligations.
  4. Return on Investment (ROI)

    Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency ...
  5. Interest Coverage Ratio

    The interest coverage ratio is a debt ratio and profitability ratio used to determine how easily a company can pay interest ...
  6. Cash Conversion Cycle - CCC

    Cash conversion cycle (CCC) is a metric that expresses the length of time, in days, that it takes for a company to convert ...
Trading Center