Benefits of Health Promotion Programs
Workplace health programs have many potential benefits for both employers and employees
A workplace health program that combines both individual and organizational strategies may produce benefits both for individual employees and their families as well as the organization as a whole.
How employees can benefit
For employees, the maintenance of individual health is often seen as a difficult challenge amidst competing demands of the work day, family responsibility, and other social obligations. However, adopting healthy behaviors not only reduces risk for developing disabling or life threatening diseases and their associated costs, but improves everyday quality of life. Comprehensive programs that address individual health behaviors as well as health and safety risks from the work environment also reduce disease and injury risk. Participation in health promotion activities through a workplace health program allows individuals to develop knowledge, self-management and coping skills as well as build a social support network among coworkers, supervisors, and family. Employees often see a comprehensive workplace health program as an investment made by their company for their well-being and a reflection of how much the company cares about its employees which may impact job satisfaction and morale.
How employers can benefit
Employers can benefit from workplace health programs through enhanced productivity, decreased employee absenteeism, and lower insurance and workers compensation costs. Employers who implement a comprehensive set of strategies to address employee health and safety including policy and environmental strategies benefit by having the ability to reach most if not all employees at the worksite simultaneously. These strategies help create a culture of health and make the healthy choice the easy choice for employees and can reduce an employer’s reliance on individual participation in employer-sponsored programs.
Additionally, workplace health programs are increasingly seen as a core component of an attractive employee compensation and benefits package which can be used as a recruitment and retention tool to attract and keep high quality employees and maintain productivity and morale.
Moreover, there are benefits for the company’s public image. Employers are valuable members of the community and working with the community to promote employee health either by building community capacity such as developing community recreational areas or linking to and providing access to health promotion activities for employees and their families such as physical activity through local fitness facilities or education through local academic institutions can enhance corporate image, as well as, increase visibility to potential future employees who will see the company as a desirable place to work in part due to its commitment to employee health.
Individual employees and employers can derive economic benefits from improved health. For employees, improved health can reduce out-of-pocket expenses for physician office visits, medications, procedures or hospitalizations related to acute or chronic illness. Improved health may also enhanced job security because the employee is more productive, absent less often, and more likely to avoid short- or long-term disability. Employers with healthier employees will spend less on direct medical costs, worker compensation and disability costs, replacement costs for ill or injured workers who are absent, and costs for recruiting and training new workers.1, 24-29
Overview of potential benefits of workplace health programs to employers and employees
- Lower health care and disability costs
- Enhanced employee productivity
- Reduced employee absenteeism
- Decreased rates of illness and injuries
- Enhanced corporate image
- Improved employee morale
- Improved employee recruitment and retention
- Increased organizational commitment and creation of a culture of health
- Increased well-being, self-image, and self-esteem
- Improved coping skills with stress or other factors affecting health
- Improved health status
- Lower costs for acute health issues
- Lower out of pocket costs for health care services (e.g., reduced premiums; deductibles; co-payments)
- Increased access to health promotion resources and social support
- Improved job satisfaction
- Safer and more supportive work environment