Wellness programs incorporated into company culture can benefit not only employees, but also the employers themselves. Studies have shown that successfully adopting a culture that promotes health and wellness can help companies reduce health care costs, cut absentee rates and possibly attract top talent. One decade-long analysis, by the research organization RAND Corp., of a Fortune 100 employer’s wellness program found that the disease management component generated savings of $136 per member every month, driven largely by a 30-percent reduction in employees’ hospital admissions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that wellness programs that help control diseases and related risk factors make employees less likely to miss work because of an illness or injury. Additionally, respondents to a recent Gallup poll say that work-life balance and better personal well-being are the second-most important factor when considering a new job, even over increased income. About half of employers provide some form of wellness program, which can include disease management, fitness opportunities, clinical screenings, weight management and occasional health fairs, according to RAND, but results seem to depend less on actual program components and more on whether leadership buys into these programs and effectively communicates their support to employees. For example, Reebok President Matt O’Toole says, “We want to be the brand that gets people moving, so we had to walk the walk.” This is why Reebok’s managers encourage employees to block off gym time on their calendars and schedule occasional team workouts at the in-house fitness center.
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