Build an Unbeatable Case for Well-being at Your Business

Before we can begin talking about how to make the most of well-being programs, there are two truths that need to be said: 1. Employees are overwhelmed by well-being initiatives, but 2. You’re in the unique position to get employees engaged, educated, and empowered.

Building a Case for Well-being

Well-being programs recharge your workforce and make your company a great place to work. But all too often they’re limited to only finding the sick employees and getting them healthier. Moving beyond this approach supports all employees – and drives business results.

You want to make the best case, but know that results relating to medical spending alone are limiting. There are meaningful, measureable results in engagement, loyalty, and productivity – you just need the right tools to find them.

Here’s two ways to begin building the case for employee well-being that’ll wow your organization’s top brass.

1. You Can’t Do Nothing

Sometimes an easy solution is to do nothing – but we all know that rarely works. The first thing you need to demonstrate is that doing nothing is actually hurting everyone. In fact, the U.S. economy loses $576 billion a year to poor health. Lost productivity from employee absenteeism or presenteeism accounts for $227 million of that, and another $117 billion from wage replacement for long-term disability, short-term disability, or workers’ compensation.

Factor in the effects of lower engagement, higher turnover, and lost employee investment and the results are just as striking. And with 70 percent of American employees disengaged at their jobs, these problems aren’t going away on their own.

So you must do something. But where to begin? The first place to look is your company culture – and its focus on supporting employee well-being. Eighty percent of employees are engaged in their jobs when they’re inspired to make healthy choices by their organization’s culture.

2. Tapping Well-being’s Real ROI

You want to make a convincing case for a holistic well-being program to your C-suite leaders, and that likely means two things: results and dollars. But you can do that – it just might not come from where your company’s leaders would typically think.

The competitive advantage of any company is not it’s product or benefits package – it’s the employees. And you need them feeling healthy, engaged, and productive each day as they walk through the front door. You can predict the following year’s profitability by looking at employee satisfaction, behavior, and turnover. Onboarding new employees alone costs companies an average of $1,200 per employee per year, according to a survey from the Association for Talent Development, curbing employee turnover is a first step.

When you take care of your employees, you drive their loyalty. Sixty-four percent say they’d stay a minimum of five years at their company if they’re satisfied with its health promotion.

To make your organization a great place to work, it takes everyone – from new hires to the CEO. And creating a culture that supports and values employee well-being will pay on and off the balance sheet. With these first two steps, you’re well on your way to demonstrating meaningful ROI that’ll have your C-suite executives sponsoring a holistic well-being program in no time.

Interested in building the rest of your company’s employee well-being case? Read The Business Case for Well-being: The ‘Why’ Behind Well-being to learn everything you need to know about making a meaningful case to your organization’s top executives.

M. R. Brown writes content for the marketing team at Virgin Pulse. He looks to dispense his know-how on well-being to help get employees and employers alike engaged in healthy workplaces. You can find him running trails on weekends, endlessly motivated by the thought of being chased by a wolf. Follow him on Twitter @writermrbrown.

3 Signs Your Employees Are On the Brink of Burnout

The alarm on your cell-phone blares. Before you even snap your eyes open, your mind’s reeling with everything you’ve got to do today. Get dressed, get everyone out the door, brave the rush-hour commute to work. No time for a decent breakfast, so an extra large coffee will have to make do.

At work, it’s back-to-back meetings. A working lunch dedicated to that project you need to complete before day’s end. You grab take-out on the way home, because who has the time to prep a healthy dinner? And when it’s finally time to decompress, you can barely keep your eyelids open – let alone imagine hitting the gym to log a couple of miles.

Sound like a standard weekday? You’re not alone. It is for your employees, too.

Burnt to a Crisp

While today’s go, go, go lifestyle seems to spell out “success,” it’s actually doing more harm than good. Employees everywhere are on the brink of burnout, and it’s damaging their health – and your business. Stressed out employees cost organizations $300 billion annually and drive 46 percent higher healthcare costs. What’s more, 64 percent of employees with high stress levels say they feel extremely fatigued and out of control, and it’s costing 35 percent of people at least an hour of productivity each day.

But what can you really do, short of overhauling society? The answer lies in recognizing the telltale symptoms of burnout before it’s too late. Problem is signs run the gamut, and because on-going, low-grade stress can feel exhilarating (kind of like working against a deadline), it’s all too common for employees to miss the signals themselves.

Here’s three warning signs you’ll want to lookout for:

  1. A slump in productivity or quality: When top-notch employees start becoming unreliable, something’s up. Keep your eyes peeled for someone who’s regularly missing deadlines, racking up frequent complaints from clients, or whose performance has declined over the past couple of months.
  2. A detached, disengaged employee: Notice an A-plus employee suddenly seems to disconnect or lose their spark? Intervene ASAP. These feelings could manifest in the form of poor communication with co-workers, an overall lack of enthusiasm, or an unwillingness to collaborate with the group.
  3. An unusually pessimistic person: If a former department cheerleader turns into a Debbie Downer, it’s reason enough to raise the alarm. Be on the lookout for on-going negativity, endless complaints, and a previously high-performer who you can no longer encourage.

Nip Burnout in the Bud

Now that you know what the early stages of burnout look like, be sure you help employees stop it from progressing further.

Create a culture that discourages employees from burning the candle at both ends, and encourage managers and supervisors to create a caring team environment. When employees know they’re supported, they’ll feel more comfortable speaking up when they’re facing an obstacle or issue.

Offering tools and resources that support all areas of well-being is just as critical as company culture. These kinds of programs will not only communicate you care, but they’ll help your people manage everything they’ve got going on and protect your workforce against the damaging effects of burnout.

Burnout’s bad for business and even worse for employees – it’s as simple as that. Safeguard your organization and workforce by understanding the warning signs and giving your people the resources to help manage all of life’s stressors.

Read Lighting the Fire: 4 Simple Ways to Help Employees Beat Burnout to learn more about the toll employee burnout takes on your company, and why the power to prevent it is in your hands.


Kaite Rosa is Senior Marketing Communications Manager at Virgin Pulse, where she leverages her personal passion for health and happiness to write compelling content about employee well-being and engagement. Outside of work, Kaite likes to hit the road with her favorite running buddy, her 1-year-old rescue dog Marlee. Follow her on Twitter: @kaiterosa.

Why Bigger Paychecks Aren’t Always Better

Excuse me for any nightmarish flashbacks this anecdote holds: The car is in the shop for a check engine light when suddenly a pipe bursts at home. The dog needs to make an emergency visit to the vet and little Johnny needs money for an overnight with well-being

These are life’s little nuances – and they seem to happen all at once. If you’ve tackled this obstacle before, you’re not alone. Your employees feel this way too. In fact, 30 million U.S. workers say they’re financially distressed and dissatisfied with their personal financial situation.

Without a strong footing in financial well-being, these expenses could wreak havoc on your stress levels, sleep habits, and much more. Save employees the unwanted headache by helping them navigate and plan for their financial future.

Save the Salary Talk

You know that a well-rounded benefits package will attract and keep top talent in your halls more than a slight increase in pay will. And there’s truth to back that up. Once employees meet a basic income level, the well-being benefits associated with increased salaries plateaus. So then what do employees want once they hit this plateau?

They want TVs – particularly flat-screen LCD televisions. Ok, maybe not all your employees, but it’s factors like the ability to make discretionary purchases or social status that makes them an extra happy camper.

More money doesn’t necessarily translate to happier, healthier employees. And while these discretionary purchases have employees feeling better, it’s only momentary. Long-term security is your goal.

What You Can Do

The first step in helping employees secure financial well-being? Offering robust tools and programs that support employees’ financial well-being –like including 401ks with a company match or health savings accounts. These kinds of resources help them save for the future, making it easier to come out of any unexpected financial struggles unscathed.

Another option? Feed employees’ need for learning opportunities by bringing the classroom into the workplace. Offer trainings on financial well-being in the your workplace to keep employees a leg up on ways to save for the future – like planning for retirement, saving for college, or setting up a monthly budget.

No matter which income bracket employees fall into, offer programs and resources that keep an eye on the future. Managing budgets better now means less stress and sleepless nights whenever the next unexpected car and home repair strikes.

Looking for more ways to support employees’ well-being? Check out our Pulse Paper on how building the right habits leads to healthier employees.

M. R. Brown writes content for the marketing team at Virgin Pulse. He looks to dispense his know-how on well-being to help get employees and employers alike engaged in healthy workplaces. You can find him running trails on weekends, endlessly motivated by the thought of being chased by a wolf. Follow him on Twitter @writermrbrown.

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Virgin Pulse clients and members discuss how we change lives for good!