Six Tips on Using Your Wellness Program as a Recruitment & Retention Tool

By Brian D. Reid, HBI Director of HR/HRIS

Traditional workplace wellness programs have focused on the prevention and management of chronic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, obesity, and depression. Workplaces have coordinated health screenings and weight-loss initiatives, and promoted employee assistance programs (EAPs), for example, to help employees with their wellness goals, as well as reduce healthcare costs and quell premium increases. 

Thinking beyond healthcare-related costs, there’s a good argument to be made that wellness programs could have a positive fiscal impact on employers and an emotional impact on work teams if stressed-out employees are quitting or checking-out due to lack of engagement. 

According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) the direct cost of turnover for an exempt-level employee could be six-to-nine months’ salary. Indirect costs, which often have a strong impact on the emotional wellbeing in work teams may include stress-related conditions due to higher workloads and longer hours for employees who must reshuffle their work when someone quits. 

Stress-related turnover can have a ripple effect when employers are trying to attract and maintain employees. If an employee perceives that their employer doesn’t care about their wellbeing, they are less likely to promote your employer brand and assist with referring qualified candidates.

So, how can an organization promote an emotionally nurturing wellness program as an engaging recruitment and retention tool? Check out these six tips: 

1.    Make sure senior-level managers know how to recognize the signs of stress and burnout and how your company’s wellness program aligns with employees’ emotional health.

2.    Identify in-person seminars or recorded webinars on emotional health and stress management presented by behavioral health practitioners or other experts in the field of mental health.

3.    Go one step further in marketing your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) by researching the services it provides specifically for stress management and burnout.  Advertise the services to employees and provide specific contact information on how to self-refer.

4.    With employee referrals yielding more than half of new hires, tie your employee referral program to your wellness program. By doing so, potential recruits will know that your organization is committed to employees’ health and well-being. In a tight labor market, supportive and employee-friendly programs may be the difference between an applicant selecting your organization to work for over another.

5.    Establish a mechanism where employees can volunteer to be wellness ambassadors. Make sure they are educated on all aspects of your wellness program and have resources to give to employees who need a little encouragement to in understanding how improved physical and emotional health affects productivity.

6.    Finally, make wellness part of interviewing and onboarding process. If an employee departs your organization, obtain feedback specifically related to stress-management issues if they exist.

Not educating your employees about the importance of your wellness program could result in losing a top employee due to burnout or a job seeker to another employer. Be sure your employees have the tools they need to take care of themselves and the future of your organization. 

Let us know how your organization has reaped additional benefits from its wellness program?